Category / Training

Standing up for Science workshop in June

sense about science logo

Calling all early career researchers- Sense about Science will be running a Standing up for Science media workshop this June.

The workshop will take place on Friday 30 June at the University of Warwick. This free to attend event is a great opportunity for early career researchers and scientists to learn how to make their voices heard in public debates about science.

Attendees will hear from scientists who have engaged with the media, learn from these distinguished scientists about how the media works, how to comment and what journalists expect from scientists. This is a free event and is open to all early career researchers and scientists- PhD students, post-docs or equivalent- in all sciences, engineering and medicine.

The deadline for applications is 14 June. You can find out more information here.

The previous workshop was held in Manchester in April. You can find out what attendees Jade and James thought of the workshop and view photos here.

If  you have any questions please email Joanne from Sense about Science.

Delivering DEALTS 2!

 

 

 

 

Health Education England  (HEE) has commissioned Bournemouth University to deliver a new ‘‘Train the Trainers’ enhanced education programme called ‘Dementia Education and Learning Through Simulation’  2 (DEALTS 2). This builds on previous work undertaken in 2013/14 by HEE to ensure healthcare professionals understand and can deliver key competencies according to the Dementia Core Skills Education and Training Framework at TIER 2 (Skills for Health and Health Education England, 2015).

Prof Jane Murphy, Dr Michele Board, Dr Michelle Heward and Ashley Spriggs from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) delivered the first pilot session in Oxford on 10th May 2017.  This interactive day was really well received and included attendance by Jan Zietara, Head of Operational Delivery, HEE; Jacqueline Fairburn-Platt, Associate Dean Quality Improvement, HEE Thames Valley as well as Dementia and Quality Improvement Leads.   Over the next 2 months another 12 sessions will be delivered to trainers across the HEE regions in England. The delivery of the programme will be evaluated as well as the roll-out across England by the trainers themselves to staff to understand the impact the education is having on practice for the delivery of dementia care.  In June the early evaluation work will be supported with the help of a Student Research Assistant, Laurie Emerson.  Laurie is currently a final year psychology student in Faculty Sci Tech.

Alternative Career Pathways after your PhD – 8 June

Live online event on the 8th June 2017

The academic jobs market is becoming more challenging and competitive post-PhD. With the number of PhD holders increasing, there is enormous pressure on the academic job market and declining academic job prospects for doctoral graduates.

What can I do after my PhD? It is a difficult decision for any PhD student on whether to pursue a career in academia, or consider alternative careers. In our dedicated live Q&A we are bringing forth a panel of experts who have moved outside of academia, to share their top tips and advice on alternate career pathways following PhD studies.

To help all those who are considering options after doctoral studies, jobs.ac.uk is holding a FREE 60-minute live video event via a live YouTube Q&A called ‘Alternative Career Pathways After Your PhD’. Find out more and register today.

More details are at: http://bit.ly/altcareersevent

RKEDF Survey – 3 days to go!

It’s been over six months since Bournemouth University launched its new Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework, which was designed to offer academics at all stages of their career opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities.

Since its launch, over 30 sessions have taken place, including sandpits designed to develop solutions to key research challenges, workshops with funders such as the British Academy and the Medical Research Council and skills sessions to help researchers engage with the media and policy makers.

The Research & Knowledge Exchange Office is currently planning activities and sessions for next year’s training programme and would like your feedback about what’s worked well, areas for improvement and suggestions for new training sessions.

Tell us what you think via our survey and be in with a chance of winning a £30 Amazon voucher. The deadline date is Friday 21 April.

Upcoming sessions:

  4 April Public engagement: an overview
  13 April Getting started on applying for research funding
  25 April How to update your Staff Profile Page using BRIAN
  9 May Writing Academy – Writing Day
  10 May Using social media to share your research
  18 May Targeting high quality journals
  18 May Writing an academic paper
  18 May Writing a good abstract
  18 May Dealing with editors
  24 May Research Data Management
  24 May Introduction to the Royal Society
  24 May My publication story so far… Prof. Tim Rees
  25 May Writing Academy – Writing Day

RKEDF Survey – 5 days to go!

It’s been over six months since Bournemouth University launched its new Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework, which was designed to offer academics at all stages of their career opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities.

Since its launch, over 30 sessions have taken place, including sandpits designed to develop solutions to key research challenges, workshops with funders such as the British Academy and the Medical Research Council and skills sessions to help researchers engage with the media and policy makers.

The Research & Knowledge Exchange Office is currently planning activities and sessions for next year’s training programme and would like your feedback about what’s worked well, areas for improvement and suggestions for new training sessions.

Tell us what you think via our survey and be in with a chance of winning a £30 Amazon voucher. The deadline date is Friday 21 April.

Upcoming sessions:

  4 April Public engagement: an overview
  13 April Getting started on applying for research funding
  25 April How to update your Staff Profile Page using BRIAN
  9 May Writing Academy – Writing Day
  10 May Using social media to share your research
  18 May Targeting high quality journals
  18 May Writing an academic paper
  18 May Writing a good abstract
  18 May Dealing with editors
  24 May Research Data Management
  24 May Introduction to the Royal Society
  24 May My publication story so far… Prof. Tim Rees
  25 May Writing Academy – Writing Day

Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework – give us your feedback

It’s been over six months since Bournemouth University launched its new Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework, which was designed to offer academics at all stages of their career opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and capabilities.

Since its launch, over 30 sessions have taken place, including sandpits designed to develop solutions to key research challenges, workshops with funders such as the British Academy and the Medical Research Council and skills sessions to help researchers engage with the media and policy makers.

The Research & Knowledge Exchange Office is currently planning activities and sessions for next year’s training programme and would like your feedback about what’s worked well, areas for improvement and suggestions for new training sessions.

Tell us what you think via our survey and be in with a chance of winning a £30 Amazon voucher. The deadline date is Friday 21 April.

Upcoming sessions:

  4 April Public engagement: an overview
  13 April Getting started on applying for research funding
  25 April How to update your Staff Profile Page using BRIAN
  9 May Writing Academy – Writing Day
  10 May Using social media to share your research
  18 May Targeting high quality journals
  18 May Writing an academic paper
  18 May Writing a good abstract
  18 May Dealing with editors
  24 May Research Data Management
  24 May Introduction to the Royal Society
  24 May My publication story so far… Prof. Tim Rees
  25 May Writing Academy – Writing Day

*Spaces available – MSCA 2 day Bid Writing Retreat – 18th and 19th of April

Places are still available for the two-day bid writing retreat on 18th and 19th Aprilbook in now!

 

As the European Commission celebrates the support of over 100,000 researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, RKEO are pleased to confirm our arrangements for supporting this high profile call in 2017.

Support

  • There will be a two-day bid writing retreat on 18th and 19th April and, subject to demand, this will be repeated on 4th and 5th July, with bookings now open
  • Materials are already available on the MyBU Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework Community and will be extended as more materials are made available for the 2017 call
  • External bid writing support, where appropriate
  • Timeline

    As this is a highly popular call, RKEO need to carefully manage the flow of work within RKEO but also for all your colleagues, who work together, to ensure that each application is approved and submitted correctly.

    The call will open on 11/04/17, when further information will be posted on this blog.

    Please ensure that the Intention to Bid is submitted to RKEO by 30/06/17. You can, of course, let us know earlier than this date that you intend to apply, so that we can provide you, and your potential fellow, with as much support as possible, right up to the closing date of 14/09/17. It is expected that early drafts will be sent to RKEO at the beginning of August, allowing time for all those involved to manage their workloads.

    Communication

    Once we know that you are thinking of applying, even before submitting the Intention to Bid, we can keep you up to date with announcements from the funder and other sources of help and support.

    If you are considering applying and would like to receive updates, please contact Dianne Goodman, RKEO’s Funding Development Team Co-ordinator, so that we can register your interest and provide useful information, such as  the indicative timetable for actions prior to submission. If you are ready to submit your Intention to Bid, you can do this now, via Dianne. The allocated Funding Development Officer can then contact you.

    If you have any queries or comments about this scheme, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Facilitator: EU & International

     

HE Policy update w/e 31st March 2017

This week has of course been all about Brexit with the Article 50 notice formally served on Wednesday.   Bu published information for staff and students on Wednesday.

Then the White Paper setting out the plans for the Great Repeal Bill which will deal with arrangements to make UK law work once the UK has left the EU – a challenge given how much EU law has been incorporated into UK laws and regulations. The Bill itself has not been published, but the approach it will take is set out in the White Paper:

  • “In order to achieve a stable and smooth transition, the Government’s overall approach is to convert the body of existing EU law into domestic law, after which Parliament (and, where appropriate, the devolved legislatures) will be able to decide which elements of that law to keep, amend or repeal once we have left the EU. This ensures that, as a general rule, the same rules and laws will apply after we leave the EU as they did before….
  • The approach outlined in this White Paper is designed to give businesses, workers, investors and consumers the maximum possible certainty as we leave the EU: but it also needs to provide the flexibility necessary to respond to all eventualities of the negotiation process.
  • This is a separate process from that by which the Government will bring forward a motion on the final agreement to be voted on by both Houses of Parliament before it is concluded.
  • The Great Repeal Bill will not aim to make major changes to policy or establish new legal frameworks in the UK beyond those which are necessary to ensure the law continues to function properly from day one. Therefore, the Government will also introduce a number of further bills during the course of the next two years to ensure we are prepared for our withdrawal – and that Parliament has the fullest possible opportunity to scrutinise this legislation”.
  • The most controversial part of the proposal relates to powers to make secondary legislation. The White Paper says “This will enable corrections to be made to the laws that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once we have left the EU, so that our legal system continues to function correctly outside the EU, and will also enable domestic law once we have left the EU to reflect the content of any withdrawal agreement under Article 50.”

So will there be any changes to UK law linked to Article 50 – there are some clues in the White Paper:

  • Customs bill
  • Immigration bill
  • And on consumer protection, the Government intends to bring forward a Green Paper this spring which will closely examine markets which are not working fairly for consumers

What the White Paper says won’t change:

  • Environmental protection
  • Worker’s rights and equalities
  • Participation in European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), but not the EU Charter on Human Rights

Read more about the process for Brexit here.

Universities are not mentioned in the paper (except in the introduction where it is noted that the government acted fast to reassure applicants about fees) – there are on-going calls for the question of EU citizens in the UK to be settled fast, along with fee guarantees for students starting in 2018/19. UUK’s priorities for Brexit are set out in their short paper here and there are some interesting views written for the Universities All Party Parliamentary Group here.

Fake Research – UUK has a new blog on fake research following comments in the news about it. The blog helpfully brings together the latest reports and information in this area including the Research Councils UK guidance issued recently.

Higher Education and Research Bill – this will have its third reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday No more amendments have been added since the debate was postponed following the Westminster attacks. However, we know a little bit more about the government’s approach to the opposition and cross bench amendments made by the Lords. The bill will go back to House of Commons (to start its “ping-pong”) after Easter.

For example, of the 5 non-government amendments, one related to the requirement that universities should share information with local authorities to ensure that students are registered to vote. Jo Johnson has written a letter to HEFCE requesting that they do more to encourage institutions to support students to register to vote. They ask HEFCE to develop a best practice model and then encourage universities to use it. This amendment this therefore likely to be removed in the House of Commons

Another provided that the OfS could not approve a provider unless it has been validated for at least 4 years (as now) or has been approved by a Quality Assurance Committee as being full able to maintain the required standard for the duration of its authorisation and that it operates in the public interest and the interest of students. It seems unlikely that this will survive in the House of Commons:

  • A letter dated 22nd March from Jo Johnson sets out the government’s position that the student protection arrangements should cover this and that there will be a consultation on this as part of a Regulatory Framework consultation in the autumn of 2017.
  • A letter dated 8th March from Jo Johnson sets out why the government believes that the current validation arrangements do not work and explains why it should be easier for new providers to be authorised.

The other 4 amendments were:

  • Requiring UKRI to encourage international collaboration, not allowing students to be treated as long term migrants and not allowing more visa restriction on student or staff immigration more stringent than the day the act is passed – this is likely to be removed in the Commons pending the wider consultation on immigration policy which has been delayed since November
  • Removing the TEF clause and requiring the OfS to introduce instead a scheme to provide information about quality, which is approved by Parliament and which cannot be used to create a single composite ranking – This is likely to be removed in the Commons but it will be interesting to see if any concessions are made about the TEF. So far subject level TEF has been postponed for a year to allow for 2 years of pilot, but other changes may be forthcoming
  • A statement that the TEF (or its replacement) cannot be used to rank institutions as to the fees that they charge or the number of students they recruit, in the UK or overseas – this seems unlikely to survive – the student number/immigration issue will be dealt with as above, and the fee issue is so key to the government’s position on fees that it seems very unlikely to be dropped. There has been surprisingly little pick up on this issue – see the VC’s blog on this. There is a blog by Professor Mark Smith here.
  • The grounds in which institutions can appeal the revocation of their authorisation, so that instead of being on the grounds of an error of fact, a decision being wrong in law or unreasonable, it now just says that institutions can appeal on the grounds that “the decision was wrong” – this seems unlikely to survive – see the letter from Viscount Younger and Lord Young dated 20th

Apprenticeships – The Commons Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy have published a report on apprenticeships which raises a number of concerns about the focus on quantity over quality.

Social Mobility – Justine Greening gave a speech on 30th March on social mobility. She set out three priorities:

  • tackling geographic disadvantage
  • investing in long-term capacity in our system
  • making sure our education system as a whole really prepares young people and adults for career success

This speech refers to the plans for schools to work with universities but doesn’t give any more information (we are still waiting for the response to the consultation), technical education and widening access to universities.

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