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New free e-guide to aid service improvement

Posted in Social work by skeen

Service Improvement E bookToday the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work (NCPQSW) launches a new publication around the concept of service improvement. This short e-guide introduces the process and thinking behind BU’s Service Improvement Model. Aimed at practitioners and managers working in both social work and health environments it provides the knowledge to be able to ask precise questions of a potential or actual service improvement projects.

Written by the leaders of NCPQSW’s Service Improvement Programmes Dr’s Keen and Rutter agree that

“improving services for the benefit of the people we serve is central to the work of every committed professional. However, an in-depth understanding of any problem at the outset is necessary to avoid costly  ‘wrong’ solutions.  We need to understand what improvement is necessary, know that any planned change should result in an improvement and show that any outcome impacts services. Our units provide a unique opportunity to address these needs.”

Download the e-guide here.

To get in touch to discuss the contents of the e-guide, the service improvement units or your educational requirements, please contact:

Dr Steven Keen

Direct line: 01202 962028

Dr Lynne Rutter
Direct line: 01202 962019


LOVE your drafts, DON’T delete them, ADD them to BRIAN!

open access logo, Public Library of ScienceDon’t delete your drafts!  You will hear this A LOT over the next couple of years as the open access movement gathers even more momentum and the role of green open access and institutional repositories is moved to the fore of the next REF (likely to be REF 2020).  HEFCE’s consultation on open access and the post-2014 REF closed last week and, although the results are not due out until early next year, it is highly expected that most of the proposals will go ahead.  This is likely to result in significant changes to how research papers are published and the full-text is made freely available.

Key changes likely to happen are:

  • All journal papers and conference proceedings submitted to the next REF will have to be freely available in BURO from the point of acceptance/publication (subject to publisher’s embargo periods).
  • A journal paper / conference proceeding that was not made freely available in BURO from the point of acceptance/publication will not be eligible to be submitted, even if it is made available retrospectively.
  • The version made available in BURO should be the final accepted version but does not have to be the publisher’s PDF.
  • This is likely to be applicable for outputs published from 2016 onwards.

It is excellent to see the Funding Councils promoting the open access agenda and embedding it within the REF.  Making outputs freely available increases their visibility and is likely to increase their impact, not only within the academic community but in the public sphere too.  It ensures research is easily accessible to our students, politicians and policy-makers, charities and businesses and industry, as well as to potential collaborators in other countries which can help with building networks and the internationalisation of research.

Talking to academic colleagues around the University it is apparent that the normal practice is to delete previous drafts, including the final accepted version, as soon as a paper is approved for publication.   This needs to change!  Many publisher’s will already allow you to add the final accepted version of your paper to BURO (just not the version with the publisher’s header, logo, etc) and this is set to increase in light of the HEFCE consultation.  Rather than deleting the final version, add it to BRIAN so it will be freely available to everyone in the institutional repository, BURO.

We need to get into the habit now of doing this now.  BRIAN is linked to the Sherpa-Romeo database of journals so you can easily check the archiving policy of the journal.  All you need to do is:

1. Log into your BRIAN account and find the paper.

2. One of the tabs is named ’full text’.

3. If you click into this tab you will see a link near the Sherpa-Romeo logo to check your ‘publisher’s policy’.

4. Click on this and you will see the archiving policy for this particular journal, clearly stating which version of the paper can be uploaded. Ideally you are looking for your journal to be a green journal which allows the accepted version or (even better but quite rare, unless you have paid extra to make it freely available) the publisher’s version/PDF. See the screen shot.

5. Click ‘back’ and then click on the ‘full text’ tab again and you will see a link (in a blue box) to ‘upload new file for this publication’.

6. Upload the file and follow the onscreen instructions.

7. Your full text will then automatically feed through to BURO and be available open access in the next few days.


In point 4 I mentioned about paying extra to the publisher at the point of acceptance to make it freely available upon publication.  This is often referred to as the gold route to open access publishing and at BU we have a central dedicated budget for paying these fees.  You can find out about the GOLD route to open access publishing here: Gold route

So the overriding message is:


Embracing the health agenda for service improvement: FIF networking project

Embracing the health agenda for service improvement: FIF networking project

The concept of service improvement is in part about knowing where you want to get to. Over the years as social work lecturers and thesis supervisors we have struggled with the traditional master’s degree dissertation and its relevance to professional practice and, in particular, social work services. That was why we designed the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work’s service improvement programme which uses a robust, practice-based service improvement methodology with a focus on professional judgement.

This programme uniquely fuses education and research with professional practice and is now used across nearly all the School of Health and Social Care’s Master’s Framework. As a result increasing numbers of students from a health background have been accessing the programme. Recognising our need to further understand, share and engage with the culture and strategic intent of key health organisations around the topic of service improvement, we have created a series of high-level networking opportunities with organisations including:

NHS Improving Quality (Leeds)

Institute for Healthcare Improvement (Boston, US)

The Beryl Institute (Dallas, US)

As well as planned meetings with NHS Directors of National Improvement Programmes and other key individuals, we also aim to visit a number of hospitals in the US and UK to see first-hand how their way of doing service improvement works out in practice. The project will run from April through August 2014….

Chicago here we come…!


Dr Steven Keen

Dr Lynne Rutter


Fusion Investment Fund: International Conference puts Bournemouth on the Map!

Thanks to the Fusion Investment Fund awarded to Vanora Hundley, Edwin van Teijlingen and Zoë Sheppard, last week saw Bournemouth University firmly put on the map by hosting an international conference of huge importance.  The multidisciplinary meeting brought together clinicians, academics, policy makers, students, and other stakeholders to help set the future global midwifery agenda post the Millennium Development Goals.  Speakers included Zoë Matthews from the University of Southampton, Neil Squires from the Department for International Development, Frances Day-Stirk from the International Confederation of Midwives, and Mary Renfrew presenting on behalf of the World Health Organisation.  This was a unique and exciting opportunity to fuse research, education, policy making, and practice to influence thinking at the global level and enhance the University’s international reputation.  This prestigious event will pump-primp future initiatives such as important collaborations, bidding opportunities, publications, and press releases so watch this space…


In conjunction with the conference, the organisers are running a survey on the terminology, targets, and indicators that will strengthen the post Millennium Development Goal discussions on health, gender, and equality.  You are therefore invited to give your views on factors that:

a)    Strengthen sexual and reproductive health services and primary health care

b)    Deliver equitable, effective coverage

c)    Reduce maternal and newborn mortality

The anonymous survey is available online at:

The ceremonial landscapes and funerary monuments of southern Britain

Following a successful application to the Fusion Investment Fund I have been awarded a period of Study Leave, to move on a body of research to publication. Under the umbrella title of ‘ The ceremonial landscapes and funerary monuments of southern Britain’ I will be bringing together material from seven seasons of archaeological field work focussed upon the later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments found in the Allen Valley on Cranborne Chase in east Dorset. The cluster of henge monuments at Knowlton and a dense concentration of round barrows associated with them have been an important factor associated with my research interests since 1994. This grouping of broadly contemporary archaeological monuments has up until recently been under explored even though the importance of the group it can be argued is on a par with better known ceremonial complexes such as  those at Stonehenge, Avebury and Orkney.

Amongst the discoveries made during the fieldwork was the discovery of a late Neolithic house, one of the most complete examples thus far discovered in the UK and an unusual mortuary complex which offers important and exciting new insights into the burial ritual and practices at the beginning of the 2nd millennia BC.

The study leave period will be starting in the late summer and I am very much looking forward to the dedicated space and time so necessay to bring together this large body of work.

Excavations at High Lea Farm 2007 ( Early Bronze Age Barrow and later Saxon cemetery)

The UK Goes International!

One of BUs priorities for 2018 is to increase our presentations at international conferences. Previously, only conference presentations that take place overseas were being considering in this calculation however, this week it has been agreed that the definition can be amended to include international conferences which are hosted in the UK, which is excellent news!

So, if you’ve presented at a conference (international or otherwise) remember to add these to your Staff Profile Page via BRIAN .

If you have any queries about BRIAN or the Staff Profile Pages then please direct these to

Congratulations and Good Luck

With the Christmas break out of the way, January saw a relatively quiet level of activity for bids being submitted and awards being won with congratulations due to Schools for winning research and consultancy contracts.

For the Business School, good luck to grants academy member Dinusha Mendis for her application to AHRC to ‘identify 3D printing delivery systems for older people to support care in the community’, to Lois Farquharson for her consultancy to Health-on-line, to Jens Holscher, Andy Mullineux and Dean Patton for their application to ESRC.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Bernie Edwards for a short course for ‘Foundations in Practice Nursing’.  Good luck to Sophie Smith, Jacqui Hewitt-Taylor and grants academy member Jane Murphy for their research training fellowship to Dunhill Medical Trust.

For MS, congratulations to grants academy member Mike Molesworth and Liam Toms for their consultancy with Cammegh Davies Flemming, and to grants academy member Richard Scullion and Rebecca Jenkins for their consultancy to McKenna Townsend PR.  Good luck to Julian McDougall for his applications to Higher Education Academy and AHRC, the latter of which is to research ‘connecting communities with their history across geography and generations through interaction design’, and to Richard Berger who has also applied to the Higher Education Academy.

For the Faculty of Science and Technology, congratulations are due to Jonny Monteith for his four consultancies with T Ingram Building Contractors Ltd, Renaissance Retirement Ltd, Mark Sanderson and SolarTech Ltd, to Tim Darvill for his conference, to grants academy members Cornelius Ncube and Keith Phalp for their consultancy with DSTL, to Adrian Pinder for his consultancy with Aluna Foundation, to Richard Stillman for his consultancy with Footprint Ecology, to grants academy member David Newell for his two short courses, and to Jacqui Taylor for her consultancy with Higher Education Academy.  Good luck to Emma Jenkins for her short course, to Neil Vaughan for his application to NIHR for ‘Development of a patient-specific epidural simulator for training and assessment’, to Adrian Pinder for his consultancy to Natural England, and to Sulaf Assi for her application to the Royal Society for Chemistry an ‘analytical chemistry summer school studentship’.

For ST, congratulations to Lisa Stuchberry and Jonathan Hibbert for their consultancy with Bournemouth Borough Council for the Bournemouth Arts Festival 2013 research, to Jeff Bray for his consultancies with Waitrose and with Which?, and to Richard Gordon for his short course and for his consultancy with the British High Commission Nigeria.  Good luck to Jonathan Hibbert for his consultancy to NHS Dorset.

Latest major funding opportunities

The following opportunities have been announced. Please follow the links for more information:

EPSRC are acting as administrator for small awards through the Holmes Hines Memorial fund, to undertake activities related to science and engineering for which public funds are not available. There is no deadline and no standard application form; applications should be sent to the fund administrator.

NERC invite outline applications to a new four year programme on Environmental Microbiology and Human Health. The two topics for this first call are aquatic microbiology and bioaerosols. An outline proforma provided by NERC must be submitted by 24 March 2014. Also available from NERC is funding to undertaken knowledge exchange activities, through their Knowledge Exchange Fellowships. These allow the Fellow to undertake a programme of work of their own choosing, funding salary and the costs of the work programme. Deadline 6 May 2014.

Royal Society are offering a range of funding for those working in the natural sciences, including international exchange schemes with France, Taiwan, Ireland, Russia or China. Each of these offers £12000 for travel and subsistence for a British team to develop a new collaboration, with the same amount offered by the partner country. They also offer a standard international exchange programme, which offers up to £12000 for travel and subsistence for use in developing new collaborations with overseas colleagues. Various deadlines apply.

Royal Society are also offering funding for Industry Fellowships, which enable academics to work on a collaborative project with industry or vice versa, for up to two years. Deadline 27 March 2014.

Funding is available from the Wellcome Trust to undertake projects that enable the public to explore biomedical science and its impact on society and culture, through their People Awards. Up to £30000 is available, deadline 25 April 2014.

Arts and humanities researchers may be interested in the early career and standard fellowships offered by AHRC. No deadline applies, and the maximum funding available is £250000.

Please note that some funders specify a time for submission as well as a date. Please confirm this with your RKE Support Officer.

You can set up your own personalised alerts on ResearchProfessional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s RKE Officer in RKE Operations or see the recent post on this topic, which includes forthcoming training dates.

ENABLE-ing Social Work Education: Sharing UK experiences and insights with our Malaysian colleagues

Debating the curriculum

As seasoned academics who have, between us, experienced numerous reviews of social work education, it was fascinating and exciting for us to learn about and discuss some of the proposed changes to qualifying social work education in Malaysia in anticipation of their forthcoming Social Work Act. We were fortunate to attend a meeting to discuss how current social welfare workers in government and non-governmental organisations might be assisted in developing knowledge and education to a qualified and pre-qualified level. The meeting, attended by an independent Australian consultant, Malaysian academics, NGOs, representatives of MASW and the Methodist College of Kuala Lumpur, expressed the laudable concern to professionalise social work rightly focusing on increasing and regulating the educational qualifications needed to practise in Malaysia.

Context is all-important when designing and developing any curriculum but more so in respect of social work programmes because of the interpersonal, social and cultural aspects of the work. However, isomorphic global trends in higher education in general and social work in particular make comparisons and sharing ideas useful, even when we acknowledge that social work as a discipline and practice differs from nation to nation across the world. We were able to offer some insights and reflections following recent UK experiences as a way of highlighting some of the pitfalls that might arise and could be best avoided. We followed this by exploring possible ways forward for academic social work including publication strategies and internationalising the curriculum and departmental outlooks for those universities offering social work. This will be continued in discussion later in March 2014.

Learning by experience & ways forward:
There are, we believe, a number of key aspects of learning that Malaysian social workers and social work academics may wish to reflect on in the exciting times ahead as the Social Work Acts get closer to endorsement and implementation in Malaysia. These are:

• The need to reflect critically on moves towards professionalization, regulation and registration; recognising and identifying exactly what these moves are intended to achieve and not accepting uncritically that they will automatically produce better social work services.
• Developing appropriate ways to ensure that numbers of social workers employed in social work posts increase and, whilst paying attention to retaining those social care workers who may not be able to qualify at the desired level and protecting their career interests, not diluting the core principles underpinning reform.
• Speaking with one voice for social work, including Government departments, professional bodies, NGOs, practitioners and academics to ensure that unwelcome political interference is resisted. This may require developing a critically reflective stance and, at times, resistance to official pronouncements.
• Developing a robust research base for the profession that speaks with authority and evidence. Research that is about, for and with social work and social workers.
• Learning from the mistakes of other countries, e.g. England’s recent official approach to professionalization, as well as from their successes, whilst ensuring that all developments are appropriately contextualised and address the needs of all peoples in Malaysia.
• Internationalising social work education to be able to assess the worth of other models, to understand other approaches and to enhance confidence in bespoke Malaysian approaches where they work well and to adapt them when they do not.

A core element of learning that UK, and especially English, social work academics and practitioners need to undertake is to reflect on the core principles that are demonstrated elsewhere in the world; principles that are, in fact, illustrated by the commitment, energy and ‘can-do’ attitude we have seen from Malaysian social workers, NGOs, professional bodies and academics. In a recent note we sent to our UK Association of Professors of Social Work about our need to learn from global approaches to social work, we were heartened to hear how many of our colleagues agreed wholeheartedly.

Malaysian social work possesses a number of important strengths that will assist in making the most of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. These include strong and competent academic teams within the universities who work with each other, government departments, NGOs and professional bodies and speak with a single voice, in the main, about the way forward. The enthusiasm and dedication of social workers, managers and academics promoting a ‘can-do’ attitude that will make positive change happen. It is important, however, to foster a critically reflexive approach that allows for challenge and resistance where that is appropriate. This may be harder to achieve for our colleagues for whom compliance is a virtue taught from an early age.

Malaysian social workers should promote their achievements across the region and across the world. We saw many examples of good practice to highlight. Furthermore to sustain these excellent developments we discussed the importance that the universities, in conjunctions with other social work groups, develop and work towards a robust research strategy.

Social work research is not costly, and much more important than addressing university KPIs for income-generation (which in social science, in general, is difficult and often more so for social work which across the world is seen either as a poor relation to other disciplines or a troublesome aspect of life). However, conducting social work research provides both understanding and illumination of social phenomena and an evidence-base for social work that can be used to grow its future. One of the most important elements of such a strategy that we discussed together concerned publication and we offered our experience suggesting that publication in international, as well as ASEAN, journals represents the best way forward. Whilst this can be difficult when writing in a second language our established experience with social work colleagues at both Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak shows that writing with scholars from other countries, and including native English speakers can overcome these difficulties. Doing so increases the visibility of Malaysian social work and citation counts, something that our colleagues we aware may appeal to their university managers.

The future is potentially very bright for Malaysian social work, and we hope that the opportunities will be grasped and a qualified, skilled, principled and professional workforce represents the future.

(Much of this blog was adapted from a paper written for the Malaysian Association of Social Workers journal)

Prof Jonathan Parker & Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

Want to learn how to cost your research proposal and navigate BU’s internal processes?

Posted in Training by Becca Edwards

Are you thinking about submitting a proposal for research funding for the first time? Perhaps it has been some time since you last put a proposal together and the mysterious research office has vanished from Dorset House?  Or are you utterly baffled and bewildered by the myriad processes that BU insists you follows?

Then come along to this week’s BRAD session on Research Application Processes at BU to help it all become clear (or at least a little less muddy).

  • Facilitated by: Jennifer Roddis and Paul Lynch, Research and Knowledge Exchange Office
  • 12-Feb-2014, 9am, PG144

This session could save you considerable time and reduce the frustrations involved in the complex process of bidding for research funding.

If you wish to attend, please email to reserve your place.


Book Now! British Academy visiting Wednesday the 19th of February and Leverhulme Trust in March 2014


Following on from our well attended vist from the AHRC I am pleased to remind you that the British Academy will be visiting BU on the 19th of February and Leverhulme on the 19th of March – it is not too late to get yourself booked in….

Working on a variety of initiatives in R&KEO over the years, one element of development which we receive consistently excellent feedback, is the events we arrange where funders to come to BU and present their organisations funding priorities and advice on making an application. We have arranged for several funders to visit BU in 2014, and are re-advertising the next two in order for you to block out time in your diary now!

Our next Funder visit will be on Wednesday 19 February 2014, The British Academy will be visiting to discuss proposals they fund and share their tips on making an application. On Wednesday 19 March 2014, The Leverhulme Trust which funds all academic disciplines will be visiting to discuss their grants and give advice on making an application.

Spaces on both these events are limited due to the rooms available so booking is essential!

Grants Academy members can be guaranteed a space by emailing Dianne. Or by emailing Staff Development

The booking hyperlinks are:

British Academy funder visit

Leverhulme Trust  funder visit

This is taking place mainly over the lunchtime period so please feel free to bring your lunch with you

We look forward to seeing as many of you who can make it.

How to design a completely uninformative title

On the LSE Impact of Social Science blog this week, was an interesting post by Patrick Dunleavy on choosing a better title for your article - ‘Why do academics choose useless titles for articles and chapters? Four steps to getting a better title’.

Dunleavy believes that an informative title for an article or chapter maximizes the likelihood that your audience correctly remembers enough about your arguments to re-discover what they are looking for and that without embedded cues, your work will sit undisturbed on other scholars’ PDF libraries, or languish unread among hundreds of millions of other documents on the Web. He illustrates his point by presenting examples of frequently used useless titles and advises on using a full narrative title, one that makes completely clear your argument, conclusions or findings.

Now that we’re in the assessment period for the next REF exercise (likely to be REF2020) we need to focus on personal publication strategies which Julie blogged about earlier this month in the post ‘Strategic approaches to getting your work published’. One of the key tips for writing and publishing a journal article is all about getting the title right. This post shares Dunleavy’s key messages and advice:

1. Consider Alternatives

Look seriously, critically and comparatively at a range of possible alternatives. Make a resolution not to be too vague, general, or convention-bound in choosing what words to use. Try and think things through from a reader’s point of view: How will this wording be interpreted by someone scanning on Google Scholar? What will attract them to click through to the abstract?

Generate a minimum of 10 possible titles and print them out on a sheet of paper for careful consideration. Compare these alternatives with each other and see if recombining words from different titles might work better. Type your possible titles as search terms into Google Scholar or subject-specific databases and see what existing work comes up. Is this the right company you want to keep?

2. Link-up the title and content

Look at whether your title words are picked up in the abstract of the the article or chapter, and in the internal sub-headings. It’s a good sign if the title, abstract and sub-headings all use consistent, linking, meshing or nesting concepts and vocabulary. It’s a very bad sign if the title words and concepts don’t recur at all in the abstract and sub-heads, especially if these other elements use different, rival or non-synonymous concepts or wording from the title.

3. A Full Narrative Title

Consider using a full narrative title, one that makes completely clear what your argument, conclusions or findings are. Narrative titles take practice to write well. And they rarely work at the level of whole-book or whole-report titles. But they are often very effective for articles and chapters. e.g.  ‘New Public Management is Dead — Long Live Digital Era Governance’ (full example in original post).


4. Provide some narrative cues

If you reject a full narrative heading, this compromise solution is to at least provide some narrative cues in your title, some helpful hints or signs for readers about the conclusions you have reached or the line of argument you are making. If you have an empty box or an interrogative title already, then ask, how can I make this more informative? So: ‘For Mill, should giving women the vote precede or come after implementing ungendered education?’ does not quite tell us your answer. It hints at a potential difficulty, but it does not yet tell us how you think that Mill addressed it.

Good luck!

BU paper shortlisted for the UKLA/ Wiley-Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award 2014

Posted in BU research by Julie Northam

Congratulations to Associate Professors Julian McDougall and Richard Berger in the Media School who have had a paper (Berger, Richard and McDougall, Julian (2013)  Reading videogames as (authorless) literature.  Literacy 47 (3): 142-149) shortlisted for the UKLA/ Wiley-Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award 2014. 

This is an output from Julian and Richard’s AHRC funded project on how the videogame L.A. Noire (which was released for Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 in May 2011) can be used to teach the English Literature curriculum (see our previous blog post:  This was an open access publication, funded from BU’s Open Access Publication Fund.

The award is given annually for papers published in each of UKLA’s journals – Literacy and Journal of Research in Reading (JRR) - judged to be exemplary in terms of the following criteria:

  • Relevance to readership – taking account of an international readership
  • Accessibility to a knowledgeable readership
  • Original content which contributes significantly to existing knowledge or the development of new knowledge, policy or strategy
  • Clear theoretical position
  • Methodologically sound research processes /design appropriate to the theoretical standpoint
  • Sound level of critical analysis
  • Relevant and appropriate citation base 

The shortlists will be announced online next week.  Good luck Julian and Richard!

You can download a copy of the paper on BURO here:

Website training sessions

Screen shot of new website

I just wanted to remind colleagues that we are hosting training sessions for the new research webpages on Friday 7 February and Friday 14 February.

These 90 minute sessions are open to all BU academic staff, post graduate research students and those supporting researchers in their communications activity.

During the session you will learn the following:

  • Why BU has new research webpages
  • How you can upload content to the website
  • How the site can be used most effectively to maximise exposure of BU research.

Sessions are informal and if they fall over lunchtime, do feel free to bring a sandwich!

To book on one of the following sessions please use the links below…

Friday 7 February 2014 12:00-13:30 – S103 Studland House, Lansdowne Campus

Friday 14 February 2014 10:00-11:30 – P131 Poole House, Talbot Campus

Friday 14 February 2014 14:30-16:00 – P131 Poole House, Talbot Campus

If you have any questions about the website or training sessions, please email the research website team.


Workshop by Dr Falko Sniehotta entitled “Behaviour change techniques to promote healthy lifestyles”

Dr Sniehotta is visiting BU to provide staff and postgraduate students the opportunity to participate in a workshop on behaviour change techniques.  The session will give colleagues a flavour of the kinds of techniques one might use to help people make changes to adopt and sustain healthy lifestyles.  After an introduction, the workshop will mainly be spent giving colleagues hands on experience with testing out some of the evidence-based techniques currently in use, and will finish with a presentation from Dr Sniehotta on his current research.  There will be some preparation required before this event of reading  journal articles that  Dr Sniehotta will provide.

Date:      4 March 2014
Time:     10.00 to 12.00 (12.00 to 13.00 free lunch and networking with Dr Sniehotta)
Venue:   Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy Suit, Talbot Campus

Places are limited so you are encouraged to book on line with Eventbrite to avoid disappointment.  Should you book on line and for any reason have to cancel please let Michelle O’Brien know on or 01202 962771 to offer the place to someone else.


Profile of facilitator:
Dr Falko Sniehotta is a behavioural scientist. His research programme aims at developing and testing a) theory of behaviour change and b) interventions to change behaviours relevant to health and health care. This research is conducted with his colleages in the IHS, the Newcastle Health Psychology Group and colleages nationally and internationally.
He is president of the European Health Psychology Society, Associate Editor of Health Psychology Review, and member of the editorial boards of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Psychology & Health and the British Journal of Health Psychology. His post is currently funded by Fuse, the UK CRC Centre for Tranlsational Research in Public Health and their research is funded by the Medical Research Council, the National Institute of Health Research and other funders.

BU PhD Studentship Competition – Round 2

Posted in BU research by sbell

The Graduate School is delighted to announce Round 2 of the 2014 BU PhD Studentship Competition is now open. Potentially, there will be up to 29 studentships available for Matched Funded Projects only.

At this stage, Academic Staff are invited to submit proposals for studentship projects which, if successful, will be advertised to recruit PhD candidates for an January 2015 start.

Full details can be found on the Graduate School Staff Intranet

Submission Deadline:

Applications should be submitted on the Studentship Proposal form to the Graduate School – email: no later than 5pm on Friday 4 April 2014. Funding decisions will be made in line with the Studentship Policy within 3 weeks of the deadline.


Grants Academy Diary – Day Two

After completing my homework, I arrived for day two of Grants Academy ready to watch my ‘one page proposal’ get ripped apart. Day one provided a new bag of tricks and background knowledge on funding bodies and their remits. Yet, rather than feeling more confident, I seemed to have developed a sudden outbreak of academic imposture syndrome. Taking a seat around our workshop table, I quickly realised I wasn’t alone. It seemed most of us participating in the Academy went home for a round of self-doubt:  Did our research really have any benefits? Were there enough people in our research networks? Do any of us actually have the skills (or time!) to coordinate a major research project?

Day two’s session was focused on locating benefits and articulating impact. Facilitator Martin Pickard once again dove right into the murky grant-writing world: The days of academic freedom are long gone. The only way to win funding is to wade into the dark waters and train for competition.

Our first job of the day was to learn how to uncover and articulate the outward-facing values of our research. While many of us in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities fear that impact must be financial, Martin showed us RCUK’s list of possible beneficiaries and impacts to diversify our thinking. These include the environment, health, society and citizenship among others. While all bids must clearly identify impacts to beneficiaries, our job is to ‘potentially impact,’ not to promise world change. Most of our research is making a minor contribution to a bigger problem. The task then is to make a strong case for the minor contributions we make.

To examine how an impact agenda reshapes the ways we present our projects, we workshopped Dr. Hywel Dix’s research proposal. Hywel and his collaborators are bidding for a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for a pilot study. Their research plan proposes to re-evaluate the tacit assumptions that work produced by contemporary authors late in their career is of inferior quality to their earlier work.

Martin put Hywel on the hot seat, asking him to identify impacts and beneficiaries.  At first it seemed difficult to think about this English literature project through the business-oriented language of impact agendas. But through collaborative brainstorming we came up with concrete ways groups of people would potentially benefit from Hywel and his team’s research:

Beneficiaries – Re-evaluating Literary Production in Later Life

  • Academic: scholars in literary studies
  • Cultural sector: contributes a new evaluative framework for making aesthetic judgement around authors work (i.e. impact prize competitions, Arts Council grants)
  • Students/Teachers: inform ways canonical literature is selected for curriculum and testing
  • People in later life:  placing value on these literary productions has the potential to impact people in later life with dementia and Alzheimer’s as writing and reading improves health and wellbeing

After lunch it was time for the dreaded peer reviews of our ‘one page proposal’ homework. Working in the silos of our own departments, on a day-to-day basis we rarely exchange ideas with colleagues across schools. As Communication Scholars read a Computer Science bid and a Business researchers evaluated a Social Work proposal, we realised what it takes to write clearly and convincingly outside our comfort zones. Having seven pairs of interdisciplinary eyes on each of our proposals was terrifying but invaluable. The peer review highlighted the importance of Martin’s advice to give reviewers exactly what they want to see. Use the remit and criteria to structure your arguments so a reviewer does not need to search through the document with a fine tooth comb to find key elements.

The peer review also pushed us to explain the basic tenants of our research. We easily come to take the big picture of our research for granted, when this is often what actually needs the most justification in our proposals.  We are accustomed to disciplinary conferences and peer review journals where we argue the fine points of theory, method and approach. While this does belong in the application to show rigour and expertise, without a clear case for why our research matters, we can’t win.

Anna Feigenbaum is a Lecturer in the Media School. As part of her CEMP Fellowship she is creating a diary of her time at the Grants Academy.  You can read here Day One Diary post here

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Jenny Roddis

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