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Dutch student builds on Rufus Stone with project on LGBT teens

Posted in BU research by Kip Jones

A student from the Netherlands, Coco Sips, has spent time recently in Bournemouth and Dorset learning about LGBT teens and particularly those isolated in rural settings. Her study had resonance with the film, Rufus Stone, and so Coco sought the advice Executive Producer and Lead of the Gay and Pleasant Land? Project, Dr Kip Jones, when planning her study. Jones commented: ‘Although the main characters in Rufus Stone are in their seventies at the end of our film, the consequences of their youth are very much the driving forces of their lifetimes and the film. We hope to continue to explore LGBT youth through community connections and issues of social inclusion in a follow-up study now under consideration’.

Sips also sought advice from Intercom Trust, a organisation for LGBT people in the south west penisula, that was central to the earlier Gay and Pleasant Land? Project on isolated older lesbians and gay men in rural south west England. Coco then worked closely with a local LGBT Space Youth Project‘s organisers and teens to produce her report and a short video, Into SPACE.

A participant in the video, "Into SPACE"

In the film, young LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) youth tell their story about feelings of acceptance and/or social exclusion living in the rural area of Dorset, Southwest of England. The film was produced by Coco Sips as a part of her thesis project, “Social Exclusion amongst young LGBT people living in Rural Dorset” and performed on behalf of Space Youth Project, a non-governmental organization in Dorset.

The film Into SPACE  can be viewed here.


Mike Baker Doctoral Programme is now open!

The Mike Baker Doctoral Programme is now open and has a deadline of 23 September 2013.

Funding is avaiable for the full costs of one PhD studentship (or 50% of the costs of two PhD studentships) to develop research and an evidence-base in higher education practice and policy, with an impact across the sector. The proposed project should be discipline-specific learning and teaching research or interdisciplinary/generic pedagogical research and should have a clear benefit to either practice or to policy on practice. Details of HEA disciplines can be found from the discipline based web pages. The supervisor should have a successful track record in the relevant area demonstrated through publications and broader dissemination efforts. Find out more about the call and how to apply on the HEA call webpage.

Canada-UK Collaboration Development Award (CDA) Programme Funding Available

The 2013 Canada-UK Collaboration Development Award (CDA) Programme is open for applications  to academic and industrial science and innovation experts in the UK and Canada. Ideal outcomes include joint publications; joint or complementary funding applications; student / researcher exchange programmes; sharing of equipment, materials and facilities; knowledge exchange of skills and techniques; institutional linkages; technology transfer; and industry sponsorship. Please do not be limited by these ideas – we strongly encourage the development of innovative models for collaboration. Initial outcomes should be delivered over the first 6 to 12 months following the visit and lead to the development of long-term relationships.m Funding is available for up to £1250 to support the applicant’s travel and subsistence either to or from the UK and the deadline is September 1st.

Congratulations and Good Luck

June saw a slight increase in activity for bids being submitted and awarded with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses.

For ApSci, congratulations are due to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy with Distributed General Ltd, and to John Gale for his contract with Heritage Lottery Fund.  Good luck to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy with Merryfield Park Partnership, and to Kathy Hodder for her consultancy with Fieldwork Ecological Service Ltd.

For the Business School, congratulations to Ruth Towse and Maurizio Borghi for their AHRC research project in Music Publishing.  Good luck to Tim Ford and Mark Painter for their consultancy to RBS Group, to Lois Farquharson, Fabian Homberg, Roger Palmer and Dean Patton for their consultancy to Wiltshire Probation Trust.

Good luck to DEC, for Bob Eves KTP project with Consoler, to Sarah Williams for her application to MQ: Transforming Mental Health, to Christos Gatzidis for his application to Leverhulme, to Bogdan Gabrys and Marcin Budka for their submission to ITaaU Network, to Chang Liu, Sarah Bate, Angela Gosling and Nicola Gregory for their application to the Royal Society to research the cultural influence on typical and atypical development of face perception.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Keith Brown for his short courses with Powys County Council, to Lee-Ann Fenge, Keith Brown and Lynne Rutter for their contract with Hampshire County Council.  Good luck to Peter Thomas and Zoe Sheppard for their application to the National Institute for Health Research, to Anthea Innes, Michele Board and Sarah Hambridge from HSC, together with Sam Nyman and Jan Wiener from DEC, for their application to the ESRC Festival of Social Science, to Jonathan Parker and Sara Crabtree for their contract to IASSW, to Andrew Harding, Sue Baron, Di Galpin, Edwin van Teijlingen and Cate Wood for their contract to the Royal College of General Practitioners, to Lee-Ann Fenge, Maggie Hutchings, Jen Leamon and Anne Quinney who have also applied to the ESRC Festival of Social Science, to Keith Brown for his short course for Worcestershire County Council.

Congratulations to the Media School for Bronwen Thomas and Julia Round’s AHRC project for Research Networking Researching Readers Online, to Zhidong Xiao for his consultancy with the University of Bedfordshire, and to Stephanie Farmer for her consultancy to Nuffield Health, Chichester.  Good luck to Liam Toms for his consultancy to Doppelganger Productions, to Zhidong Xiao for his short course with Wuhan Vocational College of Software and Engineering, to Carrie Hodges of the Media School, Lee-Ann Fenge and Wendy Cutts from HSC for their application to ESRC, and to Julian McDougall of the Media School and Dinusha Mendes of the Business School for their application to the European Commission.

For School of Tourism, good luck to Heather Hartwell for her European application to COST on shaping consumer behaviour and food choice, and her application, together with Sean Beer and Jeff Bray, to the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and to Katherine King and Alessandro Inversini for their application to European Commission.

Latest Major Funding Opportunities

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

  • The Academy of Medical Sciences is supporting starter grants for clinical lecturers up to £30,000. Closing date 11/09/13
  • The AHRC is inviting proposals for projects to explore Big Data from an Arts and Humanities perspective. Funding for either smaller projects of up to £100k, or larger projects of up to £600k is available on a fEC basis, with the AHRC meeting around 80% of the fEC.  Closing date: 12/09/13
  • BBSRC has a call for the Support for development of bioinformatics tools and computational approaches to the biosciences. It is anticipated that successful grants will not exceed £150k. Closing date: 10/09/13
  • Nominations for BBSRC-funded researchers are now open. Closing date: 06/11/13
  • BBSRC is supporting professional internships for PhD students. Closing date: 05/08/13
  • BBSRC Policy Internships for BBSRC and NERC funded PhD students are available. Closing date: 09/09/13
  • Big Data consortium call from The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. Applications invited for no more than £300k. Closing date:  13/09/13
  • Digital R&D Fund for the Arts Research+ call  provides an opportunity for existing projects, or projects that are due to start very soon, that are NOT funded through the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, to apply for a grant to support a researcher to work on the project. Applications are invited up to a limit of £50,000. Rolling closing date to end December 2013
  • EPSRC - high-voltage direct current (HVDC) networks for offshore grid. Closing date: 24/09/13
  • Manufacturing the Future Challenge call from the EPSRC – up to £5m allocated and no closing date
  • ESRC – invites expressions of interest for the establishment of its Social Science of the Nexus network plus. Town meeting – 02/09/13 then deadline for Expression of Interest – 03/10/13
  • ESRC - appointment of a DEGRP research strategy group. Closing date: 05/09/13
  •  The Urgency Grants Mechanism is a pilot launched by ESRC, on behalf of RCUK, is to enable a response to urgent or unforeseen events (for example the August 2011 UK riots), where there is a strong case for immediate research. Provide grants for up to 24 months of work, to a maximum amount of £200,000 (100% fEC) of ESRC funding. Closing date: Not given.
  • IC Tomorrow has launched the Digital Innovation Contest – Sport. Awards up to £25,000. Closing date: 14/08/13
  • JPI Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change and the Belmont Forum are inviting  proposals for their food security and land use change call. Funding of up to 3m Euros. Closing date: 30/09/13
  • MRC-funded senior clinical fellowship at Harwell. Closing date: 09/04/14
  • The National Science Foundation has a call - ecology and evolution of infectious diseases programme. Award amount not given. Closing date: 20/11/13
  • NERC invites applications for its postgraduate skills development awards. Total budget for the scheme is £1m. Closing date:  30/08/13
  • NERC invites applications for its Arctic research station programme. Closing date: 31/03/14
  • The Royal Society invites applications for its research professorships. The scheme provides salary costs, a one-off start-up grant and research expenses. Appointments are usually made for up to 10 years. Closing date: 13/03/14
  • The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £10m in highly innovative collaborative R&D projects in the field of low carbon vehicles, closely aligned with the aims of the newly announced Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and the joint government and industry automotive sector industrial strategy. Registration closing date: 06/11/13 and submission closing date: 13/11/13
  • The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £1.5m in collaborative research and development (CR&D) to encourage companies to rethink the design of products, components and/or services, with the potential to reduce their environmental impact by a factor of four in the Design Challenges for a Circular Economy call. Closing date: 04/09/13
  • The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £2.5m in feasibility and collaborative R&D projects to encourage the development and commercialisation of innovative processes that will generate high-value chemical products through industrial biotechnology and bio-refining through its Sustainable High-value Chemical Manufacture through Industrial Biotechnology 2 – Technical Feasibility call. Closing date: 16/10/13
  • The Wellcome Trust invites proposals for its cross-disciplinary Sustaining Health call. This call supports small awards in the order of £250,000 (exceptionally up to £500,000) for up to two years. Closing date for concept notes: 27/08/13
  • The Wellcome Trust is also supporting the Senior Investigator Awards. Awards are worth up to £425k per year and for any duration of up to seven years. Closing date: 22/11/13 (future rounds are available)
  • The Wellcome Trust – Strategic Awards. These provide flexible forms of support to excellent research groups with outstanding track records in their field. The support available can be tailored to the needs of individual groups with agreement from the Trust and might be justified in terms of the added value they will provide. Closing date: rolling deadline
  • The Wellcome Trust invites proposals for its intermediate fellowships for researchers in India. The total award for an Intermediate Fellowship typically amounts to INR 3.5 Crores. Preliminary application deadline: 26/8/13 and invited full application deadline: November/December 2013
  • The Wellcome Trust is providing support for new investigator awards in biomedical science. An award can be worth anything up to £425k per year and for any duration up to a maximum of seven years. Closing date: 22/11/13
  • Wellcome Trust–Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Postdoctoral Fellowships. Closing date 22/11/13

Please note that some funders specifiy 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.

I’ll bet you it’s a baby!



The new royal baby has been born.  Good news for Kate and William and also for the betting shops.  Apparently a large number of people bet on a girl being born on the estimated due date July 13th, and the punters seem to believe the gender would be female.  As a consequence, a large amount of money was made by UK betting shops.   The next bet is, of course, on his name.  Some websites seem to suggest the bookmakers favoured the name James, such as a website in the Netherlands (  A Canadian website suggested a few days before the birth that “James or George were the favourites” for a boy (  On the webpages of one of the UK’s larger betting shops today’s  (22nd July) top 13 boys’ names were: George, James, Alexander, Louis, Arthur, Henry, Phillip, Albert, Spencer, David, Thomas, Richard & Edward.


Betting on aspects of the royal birth and baby is a way of being involved in the same way that betting on your football team to win its first away-game of the season is part of being a supporter for some.  Luckily, there are many more options to waste your money, punters can also put money on the colour of his hair, baby’s first word, and if you want to wait a little longer for your money:  the name of his first love, age of first nightclub visit photograph, first official visit overseas, whether the prince will ever compete in the Olympics, and the university where he will study.



Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health

School of Health & Social Care

Bournemouth University, UK


 has launched!  is intended to provide access to lots of open data but also tools and somewhere to share ideas and approaches.

This is a landmark site for academia providing a single point of contact for linked open data development. It not only provides access to the know-how and tools to discuss and create linked data and data aggregation sites, but also enables access to, and the creation of, large aggregated data sets providing powerful and flexible collections of information. is working to inform national standards and assist in the development of national data aggregation subdomains.

We are all part of the constantly evolving open data agenda and its emerging culture. aims to bring together the higher education community and the wealth of data it has access to, and encourage that community to share, utilise, update, grow and generate demand for open data.

The data being aggregated via this site can be used in all sorts of ways including:

  • Improving transparency
  • Increasing participation
  • Increased knowledge
  • Identifying trends
  • Improving products and services
  • Innovating
  • Improving efficiency

A Women’s Academic Network at BU

This September marks the launch of a Women’s Academic Network here at BU. The launch event will be hosted by Professor John Vinney  and Sue Sutherland, OBE and is open to all BU academic staff.

 Why do we need a women’s academic network?

 Bespoke networks for women are common across business and within the media, both in the UK and across Europe and the USA.  Within the profession, there are networks for women in science and philosophy (for example). These bespoke networks exist in recognition that professional women regularly face gender related challenges in the workplace. Thus women’s networks also function to support women  and  to raise their profile within organisations and beyond, as well as to lobby on gender inequality issues. Despite decades of lobbying and the notable achievements gained by women in the workplace, women in academia have not managed to make significant gains across the sector.  This extraordinary situation has recently been highlighted in Nature and most recently, in the Times Higher Education through a series of features highlighting the seriousness of multiple career obstacles impacting on female academic staff in particular.

  How did we create WAN?

The network we are developing here is informed by work I undertook at UEA, as co-Chair of a Research Network for Women. I began by approaching a number of women across the University, and our initial meeting began with a discussion as to how we would envisage such a network and what its purpose would be We then ran a University wide survey, again to establish demand for such a group. We relied on the survey being passed forward and while we recognise that not everyone may have been able to participate, there was sufficient response from colleagues to identify a demand and need for such a forum to be established (see here for results). 

 What are our aims?

The aims of WAN are to support women and women’s interests, in all their diversity, across BU. 
As a distinct and separate entity we will also work alongside and support, Athena Swan, DDE and the Equalities Office.

 How will we do this?

Through a programme of events we will be seeking to:
Raise the profile of women across the University
Create a regular networking forum
Identify important career issues for women academics with a view to further consultation


What does WAN look like?

Our current committee (based on attendance at the last committee meeting) is as follows:

Co-Convenors (elected for one year in the first instance)

Amber Burton
Sara Crabtree
Heather Savigny

Committee Members

Carrie Hodges
Vanora Hundley
Julie Robson
Elizabeth Rosser
Chris Shiel
Gail Thomas
Shelley Thompson
Kate Welham
Amanda Wilding
Huiping Xian
Tiantian Zhang


How can you get involved?

Come to the launch event and learn more about WAN and how you can contribute to the network.


When is the launch?

September 26th
Where: venue tbc
What time: 5-7pm. Children and other dependents are welcome
To help us with catering and room bookings, please register by contacting Jo Downey (

Further details including room and speaker information will be provided nearer the time

 If you would like to offer an event, please contact Sara Crabtree, Amber Burton or Heather Savigny (;; )


Have your Say! What should the new online research degree monitoring system be called?

Posted in BU research by sbell

Calling all postgraduate researchers, supervisors and research administrators!

You should by now have heard that we are working hard to have our new postgraduate monitoring system online for the beginning of the new academic year.  The system will enhance the experience of all those involved in research degrees:

  • Postgraduate Researchers
  • Supervisors
  • Research Administrators

The main aim is to move away from paper-based forms and to a more streamlined on-line system.  The system will guide you through the process and monitoring of PGR progression.

We’re now at the exciting stage of naming the system.  The steering group has come up with a list of possible names for you to vote on.  Cast your votes here – for:

  • myResearch Degree
  • ResearchPAD (Progression, Administration, Development)
  • BURD (Bournemouth University Research Degrees)

The poll will be open until 22 July.  Happy voting!

Dr Fiona Knight
Academic Manager






eBU in final stages before launch – please submit now!

eBU is going through the final IT phases before the anticipated launch at the end of July.

I have been delighted with the interest that eBU has generated from all sections of the BU community. Academics, students and professional and support staff have all shown an interest in submitting to and signposting others to eBU, and it is clear that eBU will play a significant role in developing academic output.

eBU has champions in each school (I’m happy to put people in contact), and section editors across all of the research themes under which submissions will sit.

Authors will be encouraged to submit by logging in to the eBU site. However, if you’re interested in submitting to eBU before the live date, please get in touch and email submissions to me at or

We already have some submissions, and submissions sent to me before the launch date will be among the first to be published by eBU and undergo immediate publication and open peer review.

Author guidelines can be found here - eBU guidelines.

Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) 2013 now available

The 2013 Edition of Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) provides a combination of impact and influence metrics, and millions of cited and citing journal data points that comprise the complete journal citation network of Web of ScienceSM.

The 2013 Edition of JCR includes:

  • More than 10,800 of the world’s most highly cited, peer reviewed journals in 232 disciplines
  • Nearly 2,500 publishers and 83 countries represented
  • 379 journals receiving their first Journal Impact Factor

Data from the JCR can be used to provide a quantitative, systematic review of the world’s leading journals.

You can access  the JCR and Scopus’s corresponding Journal Analyzer tool via the Library A-Z List of Databases.

If you need any help researching and finding information, using library researcher tools, navigating reference management software or advice on depositing your open access materials in BURO via BRIAN please get in touch with your School Library Team.

Interested in the NERC peer review opportunity….?

Earlier this week I informed you that NERC are looking for academics to join their Peer Review College; you’ve now had a couple of days to contemplate if you are interested and I would like to request that if you are, to please get in touch with me.

Peer review lies at the heart of the NERCs operations, and they remain fully committed to the principle of peer review for the assessment of proposals to their schemes and programmes. NERC reviewers provide expert quality reviews of proposals within their areas of expertise, which inform NERC’s decision making processes. As well as making an important contribution to the  peer review processes, the experience gained by being a NERC peer reviewer also provides benefits to individuals, departments and higher education institutions.

BU is actively encouraging all research-active staff in relevant areas to consider putting themselves forward as peer reviewers. Being part of a peer review college for a prestigious funding body such as the NERC has a number of significant benefits -which I am sure you already know of but if you would need any further persuasion…

  • it will help to raise your profile
  • it is a useful way of getting an insight into how the funder works
  • it will help you to keep abreast of what work is currently being done in your discipline, thus ensuring your teaching and research are cutting edge
  • you will gain an understanding of what it takes for an application to get funded
  • you will be in a stronger position to mentor and help your colleagues with regard to internal peer review and bid writing

If you want to become a reviewer, you need to be nominated by a senior academic within the University in accordance with NERC guidance. If you want to be nominated then send your CV to me  by July 19th and I will liaise with Professor Matthew Bennett,  who will put forward nominations on behalf of BU.

British Society of Criminology Annual Conference 2013

Last week the University of Wolverhampton hosted the annual conference of the British Society of Criminology. The Parellel sessions covered a wide range of topics including policing, prisons, diversity, media and culture and gender. Highlights for me were papers on cyberstalking by Italian teenagers and the development of websites that sell illicit drugs with a specific focus on the techonology behind one site Silk Road.

For anyone with a specific interest in prisons and offender welfare some interesting prelimary findings from the largest UK survey of prisoners were presented and this research will be published over the next few months with the first pblication due out at the end of July.

There was also a fascinating paper on research into the experience of prisoners that was conducted by a group of prisoner officers who undertook training in ethnographic research  and were assigned to research prisons where their status as a prison officer was unknown. The paper focused on the impact that undertaking the research had upon the prison officer researchers.

My paper , Exploring female drug-taking during the First World War generated a lively discussion on the female role in drug dealing and law-breaking.

It was an excellent conference and I would like to thank Rosie Read for supporting my application to the Society and Social Welfare Community Budget which enabled me to attend.

Inventions and Intellectual Property Law comes alive at the Festival of Design and Innovation 2013

The annual Festival of Design and Innovation (FoDI) opened on Thursday 20 June 2013.  It was an opportunity for students from the School of Design, Engineering and Computing (DEC) to exhibit their innovations and creations. “A cake icing pen, a computer game controlled by brain power and a glamping pod were just some of the ground-breaking ideas and inventions on display at this year’s FoDI.”

During the academic year, final year students from DEC are paired off with final year students from the Law Department studying Intellectual Property (IP) Law.  The law students are tasked with advising their DEC clients on the protection and exploitation of their innovative creations.  The DEC clients then incorporate the advice which they have received from the ‘lawyers’ into their final year projects.

The IP-DEC Project brings Intellectual Property law to life.  It gives an opportunity for law students to apply IP Law to real-life inventions and in turn it helps the DEC client to understand the importance of strong IP protection when preparing to protect, market and exploit their various creations.

The IP-DEC Project culminates with Awards for the Best DEC Student; Best IP Student and Best IP-DEC Group sponsored by Paul Turner, a retired Patent Attorney.

The Paul Turner Prize for the best IP-DEC Group was awarded at the opening night of the Festival.  The prize was awarded to Law Students Danielle Foster and Luke Trim and DEC Students Benjamen Armstrong, George Burge, Joseph Carter, Markko Reinberg, Nicholas Cron, Thomas Clements and Thomas Reynolds.

Paul Turner with two of the winning DEC students and law students Luke Trim and Danielle Foster.

The Paul Turner Individual Prize for the Best IP Student went to Gemma Jefferies whilst the Paul Turner Prize for the Best DEC Student was awarded to Coco Canessa.  The Individual Prize winners will officially receive their awards at the Graduation Ceremony in November 2013.

The opportunity to apply Intellectual Property Law to real-life scenarios and to real-life innovations together with helping the DEC clients to grasp the importance of IP law, makes this project truly unique.

The IP-DEC Project is co-ordinated by Dr. Dinusha Mendis (Law); Dr. Tania Humphries (DEC); and Dr. Reza Sahandi (DEC).


Looking to the Horizons

One of the fundamental foundations of BU2018 is that we should take an outward looking perspective, a look beyond the campus boundary.  It is a significant feature within our commitment to societally led research and our commitment to Professional Practice as a core component of Fusion.  This practice is about engagement with external stake holders contributing via thought leadership and research but above all else listening and channelling that information inward to ensure that the research we do is relevant to the big issues our society faces and that the education we deliver also meets society’s needs.  It is the difference between a self-determined research and educational agenda – ‘we know best’ – to one that places listening and responding to societal need at its core.  It is this idea that lies behind our eight societal research themes which have been live now for over 18 months.  They act as shop windows for our research, as vehicles for inter-disciplinary and cross-university collaboration and as a rallying point for our different research communities. 

They were informed at inception by the key themes identified by funding councils and government strategy, filtered through our bespoke academic footprint.  It was always intended that there would be an element of Darwinian competition between them and that they would change over time to reflect emerging strengths within the organisation and changing external agenda. 

I launched a quick review of the research themes at the start of 2013 and after some discussion within the University Research and Knowledge Exchange (URKE) Committee some changes were recommended to strengthen our proposition and to ensure visibility of some of our core strengths.  The explicit recognition (and also control) of subthemes was one outcome, as was the recognition of Aging and Dementia as a separate theme in light of the fantastic work of BU Dementia Institute.  The total number of themes remains at eight and the list below provides confirmation of the changes agreed by the URKE Committee and will come into enforce from the September. 

1. Creative, Digital and Cognitive Science

  • NCCA
  • Big Data Centre
  • Creative Design
  • Software systems and security
  • Cognition in Action

2. Communities, Cultures and Conflicts NCPQSW

  • Crisis and conflict
  • Diversity and difference
  • Past peoples and societies

 3. Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth

  • Centre for Entrepreneurship

4. Biodiversity, Environmental Change and Green Economy

  • Biodiversity
  • Green economy and sustainability

5. Lifelong Health and wellbeing

  • Psychology, health and human fulfilment
  • Health and practice development

6. Leisure, Recreation and Tourism  

7. Ageing, Society and Dementia      

8. Technology and Design

  • Medical and robotic engineering
  • Renewable technology
  • SMART technology

NERC peer review college call for members 2013

I don’t need to sell you the benefit of sitting on a funder review panel as I know you are already aware of what a fantastic experience this is in terms of meeting potential collaborators, learning how the assessment process works and discovering what makes a great proposal. BU’s Dr Richard Shipway is a peer reviewer for the ESRC and recently wrote an excellent blog post on the benefits of being a peer reviewer. You can read Richard’s post here.


You may recall that NERC recently announced initiatives to increase confidence in peer review; these include measures to increase the status and performance of the NERC College. As a result they are currently recruiting for members of their Peer Review College with the nomination deadline of 5 August 2013.

BU is fully supportive of you becoming a reviewer, including helping with ensuring you have time to perform reviews for funding bodies. If you want to take up this opportunity, please email me and I can inform you of the BU process for this.

How can we help you meet your research goals? (or things I wish I had known as an early career researcher) (Demystifying the research process part 2)

Research is difficult. And like the loneliness of the long distance runner it can be isolating too.  The aim of this post is demystify some of those early career uncertainties about what is expected, and to think about how we can work together in research as process (rather than content). It is underpinned by the questions: what should an early career researcher be aiming for? And how can we help those goals be identified, made manageable and achievable?  It is based on a session I recently ran with some of my early career research colleagues.

We set aside a morning to begin this conversation. We started with a discussion about some of the constraints and barriers to research, both across the sector and within BU.  Across the sector, government the Russell Group’s response to this (grr) all militate to pose greater challenges than perhaps 10 or 20 years ago.  Within BU there are also a set of strategic goals across the University, schools and groupings. And of course, colleagues also have their own personal research goals.

Having discussed this wider context, we then began to think and talk about what we would want to achieve with our own research and how these goals might align with the context we are in. We did this through a conversations around a set of questions about research as process:
e.g. what is research?
what  does a good research profile look like?
Where do you want your research to be at the end of the summer? After one year? Three years? (full set of discussion questions available from me

Through these conversations we then generated a series of outcomes:

  • Colleagues developed realistic research plans for over the summer (which included holiday away from research and work generally)
  • Shared practice on how to develop a research timeline for the forthcoming year and for three years
  • The request for both a bespoke grants academy session (in current discussion with the research office who offer some great support here) and a writing workshop (to be organised by me and held in the Autumn)
  • An agreement to run a series of research ‘brown bag’ sessions where we discuss the research we did over the summer (and we have just heard that we have now been able to get a one hour research session in to our timetable.  This is so that discussions about research content and as process can continue throughout the year)
  • A plan to hold a ‘meet the editors, publishers and grant reviewers’ session (again as part of the demystification process)
  • A plan to establish an electronic discussion forum on linkedin so that research plans, ideas and good practice can be shared

Why I think this will work:

  • I think sometimes in the midst of everything (exam boards and marking and reassessment and emails etc etc etc) we can forget that research is fun. Having a bespoke session where we think specifically about research and hear about each other’s projects is just good fun and can be quite energising
  • Colleagues have some amazing ideas and research projects
  • To have a space to talk about why research is difficult, and to understand that many researchers feel like that, can help with those feelings of isolation.  Working collaboratively is not only about working together on content.  The isolation and loneliness that can accompany research can also be tackled if we think of research as process; it doesn’t matter if someone works in my area or not, we can still engage in the exchange and challenging of ideas
  • We have set small, achievable goals, as well as having done some long term planning.

I am more than happy to share what we did. If you would like to know more about the above or the writing workshops, or think of doing something similar yourself, please do get in touch



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