Category / Training

HE policy update w/e 24th March 2017

Higher Education and Research Bill – the third reading of the Bill in the House of Lords was scheduled for Wednesday and was about to start when the attack took place in Westminster, so the session was cancelled. It has now been rescheduled for Tuesday 4th April.  The current version of the bill as amended at the report stage is here. There is a short list of amendments for the third reading – these are usually “tidying up” amendments rather than the more substantive ones that we have seen in the earlier stages – and are monstly (but not exclusively) government amendments.  The Bill will then return to the Commons – probably after Easter – when all six of the opposition and cross bench amendments made by the Lords are likely to be removed – including the one decoupling TEF ratings and fee increases, removing the Gold, Silver, Bronze TEF system and replacing it with a pass/fail, and measures aiming to support international students and staff studying and working in the UK.

There may be government amendments proposed in the Commons to seek to address some of the concerns behind the amendments to the TEF, but it seems unlikely that there will be concessions on international staff and students in the bill as these issues will be relevant to the separate consultation on immigration policy, which we are still waiting for. There will therefore inevitably be another process of “ping-pong” . If the Lords don’t accept the position approved by the Commons (and any concessions made) then there is a risk that the bill will run out of time in this session.

To respond to concerns raised by the Lords, Jo Johnson and the sponsor of the bill in the House of Lords, Viscount Younger of Leckie have written a number of letters during the report stage.

  • 15th March 2017 – powers to enter and search
  • 6th March 2017 – regulation (compliance with the Regulator’s Code – will require a statutory instrument but government agree), role of the Competition and Markets Authority (the government believe there is no overlap between the OfS and the CMA). One government amendment clarified that in addition to promoting competition, the OfS should have regard to the benefits of HEI collaboration for students and employers.
  • 3rd March 2017 – defending the TEF and its metrics, setting out the context and background and confirming a commitment to ensuring that the TEF supports widening participation.

There has not been a response to the amendments that were passed, so we will wait to see. In the meantime, there were some interesting articles about the future for the TEF on Wonkhe on Monday:

Another concern raised by the Lords and also raised in Education questions in the Commons this week related to free speech. Jo Johnson, the universities minister, added that the bill would safeguard free speech by extending the duty to take reasonably practicable steps to secure freedom of speech to all registered providers. On the same day, Johnson also wrote to universities asking them to pay particular attention to this issue. He advised: “Policies and codes of practice should not simply be allowed to gather dust; they are crucial to demonstrating to students that free speech should be at the heart of our university system. They need to be meaningful documents that students and staff understand and, crucially, respect.”

Brexit – with the PM expected to serve formal notice to start Brexit negotiations under Article 50 next week, Peers debated EU membership and UK science after the referendum on 23 March. They urged the government to replace any money lost from EU research programmes with fresh money from Westminster, rather than with the extra £4.7 million allocated to science and innovation in the 2016 autumn statement.

The Parliamentary and Scientific committee have published a statement on science priorities for Brexit.  It asks for immediate actions, sets out negotiation priorities and changes to domestic policy.  It’s very short and readable – a list of proposals rather than a long summary of evidence and background

Its first statement is about staff and skills – it calls for immediate reassurance for EEA staff working in the UK, research about mobility of skilled workers to inform immigration policy and for the government to develop a communications strategy that champions Britain as a welcoming hub for research and innovation.

On funding, it says that there must be no decline in overall funding for science and innovation across all disciplines, calls for continued participation in Horizon 2020 and for the government to “set the closest possible association for the UK with EU research and innovation programmes”.  It also proposes a target of 3% of GDP for combined public and private R&D investment, with at least 0.7% of GDP invested in research and development.    It calls for a comprehensive review of all current public funding for UK research and development to ensure there is no gap as the UK leaves the EU.

It sets out requirements to ensure that UK-based researchers are able to collaborate, including funding and infrastructure for partnerships.  On trade, it suggests that all government departments should have scientific advisers, and calls for a comprehensive review of the current regulatory environment.

Student Loans – in a written answer to a parliamentary question Jo Johnson noted that the latest Student Loans Company statistics show that there were around 113,600 English student loan borrowers known to be abroad at the beginning of the financial year 2016-17. Of these around 22 per cent were EU-domiciled borrowers. The figures also show that the overall outstanding loan balance of these borrowers resident abroad was around £1.6 billion, of which around £220 million was held by EU-domiciled borrowers. He added in a separate answer that the Student Loans Company established a repayments evasion unit in 2016 to detect borrowers who live abroad and who fail to repay their loans.

Advance marketing – along with Professor Debbie Holley, I am presenting some policy briefings and workshops – read more and book via the intranet.

Coping with stress and anxiety: Health and well-being for researchers

Focus on themesMessage from Vitae:

“We all know that being a researcher can be very satisfying, but it often comes at a price of high levels of stress and anxiety. It could be the pressure of deadlines, writers block or dealing with fixed term contracts, or perhaps the anxiety of not knowing where your next steps will take you. Research can also be isolating and hard on your self-confidence and motivation. Good mental health and well-being can help researchers deal with the stresses of life in academia and make the most of the opportunities around them whatever their future may hold.

Join us for a Google Hangout to learn more about looking after your own mental health and well-being and hear from researchers share their experiences of balancing life and research”.

For further details, please see the Vitae website

Open in Practice: Inspirations, Strategies and Methods for Open Research – last few places

network

The RKEO have developed networks with several regional universities in order to share best practice, link up collaborations for research, and share events.

A few places remain for research academics to attend the conference Open in Practice: Inspirations, Strategies and Methods for Open Research at the University of Reading on 30th March. The full conference programme and registration information can be found at http://bit.ly/2jGTwbc.

An opportunity for researchers to learn about and discuss:

–          Open Science solutions to the reproducibility crisis (http://bit.ly/2m2SO74)

–          Digital methods for the humanities

Open in Practice is a free conference on the theme of Open Research for researchers in the sciences and the humanities, hosted by the University of Reading. A small number of places at the conference are available to members of the research community outside of Reading.

The conference will explore how researchers can incorporate Open Research methods in their practice, to the benefit of the quality, integrity and impact of their research. Guest speakers will showcase inspiring examples of Open Research in the sciences and the humanities, and present strategies and methods that researchers can use to make their research more transparent and more effective.

Speakers at the conference include academics, data specialists and publishers:

–          Marcus Munafò, Professor of Biological Psychology, University of Bristol;

–          Simon Tanner, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage and Pro Vice Dean (Impact & Innovation), Arts and Humanities, King’s College London;

–          Martin Paul Eve, Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing, Birkbeck, University of London;

–          Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Head of Data Publishing, Springer Nature;

–          Sierra Williams, Community Manager, PeerJ;

–          Tom Crick, Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy, Cardiff Metropolitan University;

–          James O’Sullivan, Digital Humanities Research Associate, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield;

–          Louise Corti, Associate Director, UK Data Archive.

There will be opportunities to network and share ideas throughout the day. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Book now- Royal Society Visit 24/5/17

network-logo-royal-societyThe Royal Society will be visiting Bournemouth University on the 24th of May 2017. The Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. The Society is an independent, charitable body and performs a number of roles including influencing policymaking, promoting public engagement with science and funding leading scientists.  Over £40 million is spent annually by the Royal Society across the grant-making schemes. This session will deliver an overview of the Royal Society’s funding schemes and will be relevant to final-year PhD students and researchers from post-doctoral level upwards working in the areas of life and physical sciences (excluding clinical medicine) and engineering.

The presentation will cover the following:

• Early Career Fellowship schemes:
University Research Fellowships, Sir Henry Dale Fellowships, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

• Senior Fellowship schemes:
Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships, Wolfson Research Merit Awards, Research Professorships

• Industry & Innovation schemes:
Industry Fellowships, Innovation and Translation Awards

• Research Capacity/Infrastructure schemes:
Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment Scheme, Research Grants

• Collaboration and Travel schemes:
International Exchanges Scheme, Newton International Fellowships

• Newton Fund schemes:
Newton Advanced Fellowship, Newton Mobility Grants

The intended learning outcomes of this session are:

  • To learn about the UK’s Royal Society, its remit and the type of funding offered
  • To be able to determine whether or not the Royal Society is an appropriate funder for your research project

To book a place, please follow the link here. For any queries, please contact Dianne Goodman (dgoodman@bournemouth.ac.uk).

 

 

HE policy update w/e 24th February 2017

Jo Johnson spoke at a UUK conference today and made a number of important announcements:

  • New government amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill. The detailed amendments have not yet been published but a Department for Education factsheet has been provided. The government amendments have been welcomed so far. See the Latest set of proposed amendments (mostly opposition amendments but some government ones too) – this will clearly grow more before the report stage starts on 6th March 2017. See more below.
  • Importantly, he announced that the subject level TEF would have a two year pilot – starting in 2017/18 but also running through 2018/19. Subject level TEF would then be formally implemented in 2019/20, with ratings that are announced around May 2020 with the Year 5 institutional level ratings. Note that it is currently not intended that subject level TEF will result in subject level fees. There was no mention of TEF for post-graduate, which was originally planned to run in year 4, so assessed during 2018/19.
  • Accelerated degrees – Jo Johnson also wrote in the Times about the government response to the consultation on accelerated degrees and credit switching (that closed last July with 1000s of responses) which will be issued shortly, and relevant changes that will be made to the HE Bill.  Apart from the headline grabbing focus on universities being able to raise fees above £13,000 a year, this consultation response will probably contain interesting stuff on credit transfers between universities.  The headline focus on fees is a little bit misleading, because this is in response to sector feedback that it isn’t possible to provide three years of teaching in two years unless fees are increased for those two years (there were many other comments about the impact on extra- and co-curricular activities, as well as cost).  The higher fees would only apply to accelerated degrees, as The Times story makes clear.
  • He also announced a number of other changes regarding institutional and research autonomy which are very helpful – more detail is given below.

HE and Research Bill – As mentioned above, the amendments continue to accumulate for the Lords report stage of the HE bill with the latest government amendments yet to be published. See the latest round up from Wonkhe here. One joint government and Labour amendment (to replace the opposition amendment passed in the House of Lords) defines institutional autonomy, and a number of others require the OfS to protect that autonomy. The definition that is proposed is set out below:

  • There is a new transparency duty – one that did seem to be an omission in the previous drafting. The TEF reflects the new focus on widening participation away from just access to progression and outcomes, but the HE Bill did not reflect this fully in the transparency duty as originally proposed. This has now been picked up, and the proposed amendment (which we have not seen yet) will require providers to publish information on levels of attainment, in addition to application, offer, acceptance and completion rates, broken down by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background.
  • After the long and energetic discussions in the Lords about the Haldane principle, research autonomy and the many concerns expressed about the role of the Secretary of State, a number of amendments have been tabled 9but not yet published) including one explicitly about the Haldane principle
  • There is a response to the criticism of the limitations on the role of Innovation UK and some of its financial arrangements – we don’t have the detail on all of it but the business focus amendment is set out in the explanatory paper
  • As noted above, the announcement on accelerated degrees requires a change to the HE Bill to allow for higher fees for accelerated degrees – the DfE paper is clear that the overall cost of a degree will not go up – but universities will be allowed to charge more per year for the more intensive short courses.
  • On credit transfer, the proposed amendments will apparently require the OfS to monitor and report on arrangements for student transfer and a power for them to encourage and promote it.
  • There are a number of more technical amendments proposed, including to protect institutions in cases where degree awarding powers may be revoked, to protect Royal Charters and to ensure that the OfS does not meddle in institutional autonomy as regards standards. These changes will be most welcome, and BU, along with most of the sector has called for these changes, and we are looking forward to seeing the detail.

Other proposed opposition amendments include:

  • yet another attempt to change the name of the OfS – this time to the Office for Higher Education Standards. Given that the government have just confirmed that the OfS should not meddle in standards (see above), this amendment seems unlikely to pass.
  • and another attempt to address student loan repayment terms and conditions – this has been raised at every opportunity so far but has not yet been subject to a vote.

The HEFCE grant letter is out, with extensive coverage.  Research Professional report that:

  • Teaching funding will fall, representing nine consecutive years of reductions- it is due to be cut by 5 per cent in 2018-19—and the funds now also have to cover the expansion of medical schools and include trainee nurses, midwives and other health professionals. This is particularly interesting because of the theory that removing the commissioning arrangement will increase student numbers, balanced against concerns in the sector about falling applications and the real-life challenge with increasing student numbers, i.e. placements – On the latter point, Research Professional note the part of the HEFCE letter that “adds that in order to implement the Department of Health announcement that, from September 2018, the government would fund up to 1,500 additional student places in medical schools each year, the funding council should make an initial allocation of 500 places in 2018-19 “based on the capacity for growth and viability of provision in different institutions and be informed by advice from the Department of Health and Health Education England on the distribution of medical placements
  • On PG: “The letter further asks that the funding council ensures it pays for postgraduate courses on a basis that is “consistent with and complementary to” the new postgraduate loan system. In particular the funding council is asked to prioritise science and other high cost subjects.”
  • On TEF: “It asks the funding council to continue funding the introduction of the teaching excellence framework, including the subject-level pilots, for which the budget and approach will be determined later in 2017. The letter further encourages the continued funding of the “high priority” learning gain pilots” – which may give us an idea of where TEF metrics may be headed
  • On schools: “On social mobility, government asks the funding council to continue encouraging “innovative” forms of engagement with schools, including work to identify which institutions are sponsoring or establishing schools and the support they require to achieve it.” This sounds like a slight backing away from compulsory sponsorship of schools? Or maybe just preparation for identifying those who don’t comply.
  • On research:  “the letter says that detailed allocations for the £4.7 billion of additional investment pledged in the autumn statement will be finalised in early March. The funding council is expected to distribute the additional research and knowledge exchange funding allocation in 2017-18. The £100 million announced for technology transfer, meanwhile, will be based on competitive mechanisms that the funding council will develop with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.”
  • And on student wellbeing: “The letter further asks the funding council to implement recommendations made by the Universities UK taskforce on violence, sexual harassment and hate crimes, which advocated the embedding of a zero-tolerance culture towards such incidents on campus. It also recommends the creation of an evidence base around mental health needs and services for staff and students.” The latter cross refers to a UUK good practice guide.
  • Other issues include plagiarism, credit transfer, REF, degree apprenticeships, Prevent and efficiency.

BTEC students – the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) have issued a report on BTECs and Pearson have blogged for them.  The report concludes that “Students arriving at university with BTECs account for much of the growth in students from the lowest participation neighbourhoods and other under-represented groups over the past decade. But those with BTECs face a ‘glass ceiling’ – for example:

  • only 15 BTEC students were accepted at the four most selective higher education institutions in 2015; and
  • under 60 per cent of students with BTECs at Russell Group universities complete their course.”

The report makes the following policy recommendations:

  • As the proportion of pupils achieving the highest BTEC grades (equivalent to three A-Levels) more than doubled from 17% to 38% between 2006 and 2013, the Government should evaluate whether the current system of external verification of BTECs is fit for purpose.
  • Universities should issue collective guidance on which BTECs are most valuable to students in terms of progression, as they have already done for A-Levels.
  • More prestigious universities with low numbers of BTEC students should consider bespoke access courses for BTEC students aimed at helping them adjust to the methods of teaching and assessment that are common in higher education.

Lifelong learning – The University Alliance issued a report on lifelong learning which calls for a number of actions, including setting up a UCAS style system for adult learning courses, reintroducing individual learning accounts and providing additional loans. They also mention accelerated degrees and suggest broadening the apprenticeship levy to cover such course.

Essay Mills – Jo Johnson called this week on universities to do more to stop students buying custom written essays online. He has asked the QAA to prepare guidance for universities and information for students to help combat the use of ‘essay mills’ websites as well as other forms of plagiarism and for the QAA to take direct action against those marketing the services. It looks as if the guidance will focus on making sure that universities have policies and sanctions in place.

“The Universities Minister has asked for guidance aimed at universities and information for students to help combat the use of these websites, as well as other forms of plagiarism. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has also been tasked to take action against the online advertising of these services and to work with international agencies to deal with this problem.

The Minister is calling for the guidance to include tough new penalties for those who make use of essay mills websites, as well as the need to educate students about the potentially significant negative impacts on their future career if they are caught cheating.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: “This form of cheating is unacceptable and every university should have strong policies and sanctions in place to detect and deal with it“. Essay mill websites threaten to undermine the high quality reputation of a UK degree so it is vital that the sector works together to address this in a consistent and robust way.””

Brexit – The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published the terms of reference and membership of its “high level stakeholder working group on EU exit, universities, research and innovation”.

“The overarching purpose of the group is to provide a forum for BEIS, DfE, DExEU, and a broad range of UK representatives of the universities, science, research and innovation communities to discuss issues of common interest in approaching the UK’s exit from the EU. The emphasis will be on considering all factors related to research and innovation that need to be taken into account as government policy develops.”

Membership includes Jo Johnson, Madeleine Atkins, Nicola Dandridge, and the chairs of Million Plus, the Russell Group, GuildHE and the University Alliance, a couple of VCs and PVCs from the devolved administrations (Heriot-Watt, Ulster, Cardiff)  and representatives of a number of science bodies such as the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and others, CBI, RCUK, UKRI.  And Sir Mark Walport in his current role as the Government Chief Scientific Adviser.  Interestingly, none of the bodies represented are arts or social sciences bodies, which continues to demonstrate the apparent assumption in all of these groups on research as an activity that is only relevant to STEM.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have intervened following a complaint to OIA from students that didn’t receive sufficient notice that compulsory modules had been introduced to their course. While UEA was not considered by OIA to have breached its rules the CMA have asked UEA to change its policy and consider the introduction of compulsory modules as a substantial change which would require greater timeliness of notice in future. CMA’s intervention is seen as a landmark intrusion by some. The CMA request is discussed further by Jim Dickinson and Paul Greatrix on Wonkhe. UUK also have a blog on the subject.

Leading Innovation Masterclass – Research & Funded Interventions

On Thursday 2nd March 2017 Professor Edwin van Teijlingen (CMMPH – Professor Of Reproductive Health, BU) will be presenting one of the ‘Leading Innovation Masterclasses’ on Research & Funded Interventions.

In a very competitive field, the chances of successfully gaining a research grant can be somewhere in the region of one in twelve.  In this session Professor van Teijlingen will explain how it may be possible to increase the chances of getting research funds through intervention grants.   It will take place at the Lansdowne Campus 14:00-15:30 and you can book a place by emailing od@bournemouth.ac.uk

Other sessions in the series include:

  • An innovative approach to setting up a Research Hub
  • The clinical doctorate model – Enabling Practitioner Research

Details of these can be found on the Staff Intranet

New paper published by CMMPH’s Dr. Susan Way

This week saw the pre-publication of ‘Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom’ in Nurse Education in Practice.  This paper is co-authored by Dr. Susan Way in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).  The authors argue that these core principles could contribute to curriculum development in midwifery and other professions internationally.

Congratulations!

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

 

Reference:

  1. Fisher, M., Way, S., Chenery-Morris, S., Jackson, J., Bower, H. Sue Way Feb 2017(2017) Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom, Nurse Education in Practice (forthcoming) see: http://www.nurseeducationinpractice.com/article/S1471-5953(17)30092-6/abstract

 

Developing an Effective Search Strategy Workshop on 22/02/17 – Places still available

research toolsPlaces are still available at the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework workshop – Developing an Effective Search Strategy on 22nd February 2017 from 10:00 – 12:00 at the Lansdowne campus.

This workshop will be delivered by Chris Wentzell, Faculty Librarian for HSS, with the following aims and objectives:

  • Begin to develop a systematic search strategy
  • Use and access library resources; Know about visiting other libraries
  • Know how to make Inter Library Requests
  • Be able to set up citation alerts
  • Use citations smartly

Please register for this event via Oganisational Development. Once you have reserved your space,  the location will be confirmed via a meeting request. Tea and coffee will be provided.

British Academy Visit and British Academy Bid Writing retreat– reserve your place now!

As part of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework “Funding from the Academies” pathway, two staff development opportunities are now available for booking.

 

  • The British Academy is returning to BU on 8 March 2017.  This is an invaluable opportunity to find out more about the international and domestic funding available through the organisation.  For those of you who are not familiar with the British Academy, it is the UK’s leading independent body for the humanities and social sciences, promoting funding, knowledge exchange and providing independent advice within the humanities. 

The session will last just over  1 hour (13:00-14:15) and will comprise a presentation focusing on international and domestic funding opportunities along with an overview of the British Academy, followed by a Q&A session.

Representatives of the British Academy will be available to answer any individual queries not covered in the presentation or Q&A session, and members of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office will be on hand should you wish to discuss BU’s processes for bidding to the organisation.

Places for this event can be reserved through Organisational Development here.

  •  A workshop, the “Bid Writing retreat- British Academy small grant” will be held Monday April 3rd, 2017 (9:30-16:00). The workshop will offer helpful tips from past British Academy Small Grant winners as well as focused support from team members of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office.  Participants are asked to have a draft application for the British Academy Small Grant in preparation in advance of this workshop that they can develop during the day.  You can book your place here.

Members of BU interested in discussing either of these training opportunities please contact Ehren Milner, Research Facilitator (emilner@bournemouth.ac.uk).

HE policy update w/e 27th January 2017

Industrial Strategy Green Paper

The Government launched the Industrial Strategy Green Paper and consultation this week. The paper focuses on improving Britain’s innovation and productivity in key areas alongside upskilling the workforce to become world leading. The government suggest a number of areas of industry specialism that should be supported:

  • clean energy
  • robotics
  • healthcare
  • space technology
  • quantum technology
  • advanced computing and communications

The document frequently references the role of Universities as innovation leaders pushing for commercialisation and greater productive cooperation with business. It states that the ‘neglect of technical education’ should be redressed and insinuates that higher-level technical education will be pushed towards the new Institutes of Technology (£170 government investment announced – see below). There is an emphasis on rebalancing the difference in Britain’s economic geography through infrastructure investment. In addition, it criticises how UK research funding is currently heavily invested in the ‘golden triangle’ (Oxford, Cambridge, London) and calls to build on research strengths in businesses as well as other universities. The strategy has a strong focus on STEM and Wonkhe have reported that The British Academy are urging the government not to forget investment in social sciences and humanities teaching and research, which they argue are vital to the continued development of the UK’s services sectors.

The consultation ends in April, we’ll be in touch shortly about how you can contribute to a BU response.

While the strategy has only just been launched it was preceded by the announcement of the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (Nov 2016) and consultative workshops. The workshops aimed to ensure that the challenges identified match UK business capability and are based on the best available evidence for scientific and commercial success on the global stage. The challenges mirror the industry specialisms proposed in the green paper but also mention the creative industries and integrated cities. The workshops conclude this week, implementation plans are expected to follow from the government and the first challenge is expected to be announced in March.

In an interesting article in The Conversation Graham Galbraith, VC at Portsmouth, urges Universities to shun new institutions for innovation and instead form a network of hubs building on relationships with employers, skills organisations and FE colleges. Furthermore he resists the government’s distinction between academic and technical education, seeing the productivity answer through flexible routes to university study and developing skills courses that employers need in accessible ways. He believes the university sector would deliver this far more quickly than new Institutes of Technology. Galbraith also criticises REF 2021: “The government wants the UK to be better at commercialising its world-class, basic research. But the… require[ment]…to include all academic staff…will have the effect of making universities re-balance their staff’s priorities so that there is more focus only on peer-reviewed research and less on outward-facing activities like business collaborations.”

Brexit –The Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament must vote to trigger Article 50 which begins the Brexit process. The government timescale is to trigger Article 50 by end of March and to this end they have introduced a European Withdrawal Bill (EWB). The European Withdrawal Bill gives the PM the power to notify the European Council of the UK’s intention to withdrawn from the EU through the required Act of Parliament. It is being fast tracked through Parliament. Parliamentary time is scheduled for 31 Jan, 1 Feb, 6-8 Feb.  The House of Commons Education Select Committee continues visits to Universities (Oxford, UCL) to examine impact of Brexit on HE. At the UCL visit (Wednesday) Michael Arthur (Provost) broke the UCAS data embargo revealing a 7% drop in EU applicants in the current cycle. The Guardian leads with ‘first decrease after almost a decade of unbroken growth blamed on… Brexit’. Committee Chair, Neil Carmichael is reported on Twitter as asking whether HE needs a sector-specific Brexit deal – panel response ‘yes absolutely!’

Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB) – The Lords continue to scrutinise the HERB carefully with the long list of amendments.  The list has stopped growing quite so quickly but new amendments proposed this week include one to set up a new UKRI visa department that will sponsor academics (507ZA). So far apart form the first one, no amendments other than government amendments have been passed, but the level of debate and the length of the list suggests that there may have to be some concessions by the government. James Younger, the government lead on the Bill in the Lords, wrote to Peers on 25th January about the bill.

Given the timing of the Brexit discussions, Wonkhe speculate that to achieve the timescales for the Bill and to clear sufficient parliamentary time for the European Withdrawal Bill to be passed the government may make concessions on HERB.  Key discussions this week:

  • NSS statistically unfit for TEF – Lord Lipsey discussed the statistical inadequacies of NSS and the implication for this as a TEF metric. The NSS in the TEF is using—or rather, abusing—statistics for a purpose for which the NSS was never designed.” Lipsey acknowledged that the Government have gently retreated from the emphasis on NSS scores – in their latest instructions to assessors they stated: “assessors should be careful not to overweight information coming from the NSS“. This was reinforced by Chris Husbands, Chair of TEF, who informed a meeting at the House of Commons this week that his team would “not be overweighting the NSS” when awarding ratings this year.  The proposed amendment was withdrawn after Viscount Younger: stressed the NSS was not the primary source of information for the TEF and that the framework was about much more than metrics. “Providers submit additional evidence alongside their metrics, and this evidence will be given significant weight by the panel”. HE continued: “we cannot ignore the only credible, widely used metrics that captures students’ views”.
  • There were also debates about the gold/silver/bronze ratings and the government provided reassurance that Bronze was “above a high quality baseline”. This contradicts statements made by some in DfE before the final specification was agreed about Bronze institutions “needing improvement”. The panel have praised positive communication on this subject.
  • Validation – The government have issued a factsheet for the Lords on Validation which provides explanation from the perspective of an alternative provider seeking to enter a validation arrangement. It describes Clause 46 of HERB, which gives the Office for Students (OfS) power to commission authorised HE providers to provide validation if other providers decline. It states such authorised providers are free to choose whether they wish offer this service, however once an arrangement is in place the OfS could require them to validate award) delivered by other registered HE providers. The commissioned arrangement would be made public.  The controversial Clause 47 which appoints OfS as the validator of last resort was also discussed. The controversy arises as OfS isn’t an academic institution and doesn’t hold Degree Awarding Powers. The OfS will advise the Secretary of State (SoS) if intervention is required (likely through an evidence based report and stakeholder consultation) and the SoS would then authorise the intervention through regulation which is subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
  • Contract Cheating – The amendment proposed by Lord Storey on contract cheating was withdrawn following Government reassurance. Lord Storey provided a passionate discourse including detailed sector information and cheating statistics. Baroness Goldie confirmed that the Government were addressing cheating referencing the (Aug 2016 published) QAA investigation and Jo Johnson’s commitment to close working to progress the recommendations. She revealed that the Minster would shortly announce a new initiative to tackle cheating in conjunction with QAA, Universities UK, NUS and HEFCE.

TEF

The 15 page written submissions for year 2 of the TEF were finalised and submitted this week, and this was the final opportunity for institutions to opt out of the TEF. Although there may have been others who have not published their positions, most Scottish Universities have opted out, as well as the Open University. Given the difference in the Scottish funding system they have less to gain from the TEF – but the 4 who have opted in have noted international reputation as a crucial factor. The OU explain their non-participation is due to the poor fit of the metrics with their social mobility demographic.

And the future of the TEF? According to Research Professional, a German academic has criticised the way that teaching excellence funding is being used in Germany.

“Whereas lower-ranked universities have tended to spread their funding from the programme thinly across faculties and courses, higher-ranked institutions have had the luxury of being able to focus on priority areas, the analysis found.

“You are starting to see emerging differences between disciplines taught at different universities,” Bloch told Times Higher Education on 17 January. For the first time, elite universities are starting to build up strong institutional identities when it comes to teaching, in an effort to get further ahead.

“It will be a long time before we reach the stratification that you see in the American system [around teaching], but we are seeing a difference for the first time in how resources in teaching are distributed,” he said.

UCAS 2016 entrants report – this data includes applications, offers and placed rates by sex, area background (LPN-polar 3), and ethnicity. BU’s report can be selected from the drop down menu towards the end of the webpage. The Guardian reports on the lower offer rates to black applicants. Wonkhe covers the HEIs that have a significant upward or downward trend in acceptances

Research Impact training: Parliament are running a Research, Impact and the UK Parliament event in Bristol on Wednesday 1 March. It covers the basics of the Parliamentary process and how academics can engage with parliament through their knowledge and research to inform scrutiny and legislation, including the impact of influencing policy to support REF submissions.

INVITATION – Get ready for the Industrial Strategy – Places still available on Made in Dorset – Made for the Future event

engineeringWith the Industrial Strategy Green Paper, none of us can afford to miss out! Get yourself prepared and ready to act by attending this event on Wednesday, 1st February 2017.

Staff from all Faculties are invited to attend as … engineering expertise only comes with practice, by means of exposure to real-world dilemmas and techniques for addressing themEngineering the Future.

We still have some spaces left at this event – in the EBC from 09:45 – 14:00 with optional time for networking from 14:00-15:00.

Please see the previous blog post for all the details! With apologies to those who have already done this, for speed, there is no need to complete the short application form.

If you wish to attend, please email Dianne Goodman, asap, with your details. If you have external business contacts who would be interested in attending, please direct them to contact Dianne also. This will allow us to provide sufficient materials and catering.

We look forward to seeing you there.

This event is part of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework

Deadline extended! Made in Dorset – Made for the Future: Invitation to attend sandpit on 1st February 2017

Deadline extended to 23rd January

If you have local business contacts who would like to attend, please send them the link to this blog post.


 

Engineering underpins human progress. …. Their work literally creates the fabric of society, whether the buildings we live and work in, the energy that powers our world or the transport networks that we use every day…. As with engineeringmedicine, engineering expertise only comes with practice, by means of exposure to real-world dilemmas and techniques for addressing them. Engineering the Future

BU’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO) will be hosting an event on Wednesday, 1st February 2017, at the Lansdowne Campus, exploring how BU can engage with the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering agenda.

What does this mean for me…?

Here are some examples of how you could contribute to this day:

  • Personalised healthcare requires technology but also input from those working directly with the end users and the medical profession to ensure efficacy and uptake
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering does not exist in a vacuum and must respond to the changing global social, economic and political landscape
  • Animation and augmented reality already assist in visualisation and development across the engineering field, including automated production systems, infrastructure projects and forensic engineering
  • People are at the heart of any organisation – how do we ensure that engineers have effective management skills and managers understand the complexity of this sector?

So, who should attend?

We want anyone who thinks they might have something to contribute. We will also be inviting relevant external attendees to contribute to the day.

What do I need to prepare in advance? What will the day entail?

Absolutely nothing in advance. During the session, you’ll be guided through a process which results in the development of research ideas. The process facilitates creativity, potentially leading to innovative and interdisciplinary research ideas. These ideas will be explored with other attendees, and further developed based on the feedback received.

What if I don’t have time to think about ideas in advance?

You don’t need to do this but it will help. Attendees will come from a range of backgrounds so we expect that there will be lively conversations resulting from these different perspectives.

What about afterwards? Do I need to go away and do loads of work?

Well… that depends! This interactive day will result in some novel research ideas. Some of these may be progressed immediately; others might need more time to develop. You may find common ground with other attendees which you choose to take forward in other ways, such as writing a paper or developing a new placement opportuntity.

What if my topic area is really specific, such as health?

Your contribution will be very welcome! One of the main benefits of this type of event is to bring together individuals with a range of backgrounds and specialisms who are able to see things just that bit differently to one another.

So, is this just networking?

Definitely not! It is a facilitated session with the primary intention of developing innovative research ideas, which also enables the development of networks. It gives you the opportunity to explore research ideas which you may develop over time, together with the chance to find common ground with academics from across BU and beyond.

So, how do I book onto this event?

This event will take place on Wednesday, 1st February 2017. Please only book to attend if you can particpate in the full event from 09:45 – 14:00. There will be additional networking time from 14:00 – 15:00. To book, please complete the application form and return this to Dianne Goodman by end Monday, 23rd January. As places are limited, this will be assessed to ensure good mix of attendees with different perspectives. Places will be confirmed w/c 23/1/17.

This event is part of the new Research Knowledge Exchange Development Framework.

 

Royal Society of Biology Training courses

ShieldBooking is now open for Spring 2017 Training Courses with the Royal Society of Biology!

Courses include:

Persuasive Scientific Report Writing

When: 26 January 2017

Where: Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8TZ

What: Participants will learn the principles and processes for high quality communication in scientific thinking and writing, with plenty of opportunity to discuss and practice the skills learnt.

Who: For writers of technical, scientific and other related reports or documents, who wish to improve their report and general document writing skills.

CPD: This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 18 CPD points.

Fees: From £100 +VAT

 

Science Podcast Production

When: 16 March 2017

Where: Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8TZ

What: Award-winning science broadcaster Richard Hollingham presents this introductory hands-on course on how to podcast – from getting good quality sound and content – to getting your podcast online and heard.

Who: For those interested in communicating science via podcast.

CPD: This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 18 CPD points.

Fees: From £125 +VAT

 

Writing for a non-specialist audience

When: 23 March 2017

Where: Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8TZ

What: How to write in an interesting and easy-to-read way while ensuring your message remains scientifically robust and accurate.

Who: For scientists in academia or industry hoping to improve the way they communicate with non-scientists, or for anyone hoping to develop their blogging and science writing skills.

CPD: This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 24 CPD points.

Fees: From £100 + VAT

 

Presentation Skills

When: 10 April 2017

Where: Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8TZ

What: This course will cover practical exercise on personal presentation and body language; structuring your presentation; uses and abuses of visual aids with a focus on Powerpoint; meeting the needs of your audience.

Who: This half-day course is for those who have had little experience of giving presentations.

CPD: This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 12 CPD points.

Fees: From 50 +VAT

 

An Introduction to Exhibition Design

When: 27 April 2017

Where: Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8TZ

What: This course will introduce participants to exhibition making, from the development of an exhibition concept to the final product.

Who: This practical course is suitable for those who may need to create a display, for example science communicators or scientists working in public engagement & outreach.

CPD: This event has been approved by the Royal Society of Biology for purposes of CPD and can be counted as 21 CPD points.

Fees: From £100 +VAT

 

Please click here for the information below about the science communication courses, further information and for full list of courses

BU Visiting Fellow Dr. Flora Douglas speaking as THET volunteer in Nepal

Flora final speechToday we had our first training session of the final THET mental health in maternity care project.  UK volunteer Dr. Flora Douglas spoke about key aspects of health promotion and focused particularly on notions of community-based approaches.  Flora is based at the University of Aberdeen and she is also a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).  This was her first visit to Nepal.  She was inspired to volunteer as she had been a MSc supervisor some years ago on a project that related to the Green Tara Nepal health promotion intervention.  Bournemouth University has been working with Green Tara Trust, a Buddhist charity based in London for many years.BC Flora

Yesterday Flora had visited one of the 20 birthing centres in Nawalparasi, the district where the THET training takes place.  Flora was very humbled by the experiences of the community-based maternity care workers in the light of many constrains.  She said: “I have seen pictures of such birthing centres and read about them in the literature, but it is not until you see them first hand that you realise how staff have to work with such limited resources.certificate

The attendees, who are nearly ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwives) were highly enthusiastic and very keen to discuss and learn.  They shared some very personal and touching stories about their practice.  Flora added: “I am very struck by their understanding of the importance of the social and cultural determinants of both psychical and mental health.”  Many found they had learnt something in previous THET sessions in 2016 about communication with women and counselling family members about mental health, and perhaps most importantly, listening more to women.  Last, but not least, Flora commented on the dedication of the participants: “At least two of the participants told me they travelled ten hours to get here for our one-day workshop. This really shocked me, particularly having seen the quality of the roads and public transport!”logo THET

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH