Recent articles..

Seed corn funding to PhD studentship – Pain, perception and partner institutions

Seed Corn funding from HSC was used to initiate a project exploring differences in perception and body image in those with chronic low back pain. Following a successful pilot study the project team have great pleasure in welcoming Sara Glithro as the PhD student to this project.

This small grant enabled us to:

  • Investigate new concepts and develop in-depth knowledge in relation to body image and perception
  • Carry out a pilot study employing a new technique
  • Establish contact with researchers at the University of South Australia and Imperial College London.
  • Offer two undergraduate research dissertation projects
  • Establish interprofessional collaborative working between CC, NO, SD, AK, DN and JB.
  • Enable closer collaboration between BU and one of its partner organisations AECC.
  • Collaboratively write and have one article accepted
  • Collaboratively write an abstract which has been accepted at the 15th World Congress on Pain – Buenos Aires Oct 2014
  • Submit and receive a joint funded PhD studentship (BU and AECC)

The project was conducted by Dr. Carol Clark,  Dr. Neil Osborne (AECC) Dr. Sharon Docherty (AECC & BU) in the AECC Experimental Research Facility. Professors Ahmed Khattab (BU) and Jeff Bagust (AECC & BU) and Dr Dave Newell (AECC) are also involved.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact: Carol Clark (HSC) email:, Neil Osborne (AECC) or Sharon Docherty (HSC)

Latest Major Funding Opportunities

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

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), in collaboration have announced their call for proposals in sustainable aquaculture: health, disease, and the environment. The aim is to support aquaculture related research, where aquaculture is the farming or cultivation of organisms such as fin-fish, molluscs and crustaceans. BBSRC and NERC have each committed £2.5million to this call for proposals. The closing date for applications is 16:00, 04/11/2014.

The British Academy is inviting applications to their Newton Advanced Fellowships. Newton Advanced Fellowships provide early to mid-career international researchers who already have a track record with an opportunity to develop their research strengths and capabilities, and those of their group or network, through training, collaboration and visits with a partner in the UK. The award enables international researchers based in a country covered by the Newton Fund to establish and develop collaborations with the UK with the intention of transferring knowledge and research capabilities. The skills and knowledge gained should contribute to advancing economic development and social welfare of the partner country. Fellowships are available for either one year or two years and each award provides up to £37,000. The closing date for applications is 22/10/2014.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will shortly be announcing their call to the ESRC-DFID Strategic Partnership Evidence and Policy Directorate scheme. They are seeking to secure an Evidence and Policy Directorate (EPD) to drive forward their ambition to maximise the impact of the research they jointly fund on policy and practice relevant to developing countries. The EPD will design and be responsible for the delivery of a strategic programme of work to support and enhance the uptake and impact on policy and practice of research funded through three research programmes within ESRC and DFID’s strategic partnership: the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research, the China-Africa Research Programme, and the Education and Development: Raising Learning Outcomes Programme. Closing date information has not yet been provided by the funder.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are inviting applications to its ESRC-DFID joint fund for poverty alleviation research scheme. This ESRC-DFID joint scheme funds world-class research on a broad range of topics to enhance the quality and impact of social science, and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. A key feature of the scheme is that it is open to Southern institutions as bid leaders. Bids are invited within a budget range of between £90,000 and £110,000 plus VAT. The closing date for applications is 03/10/2014.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have extended the closing date for proposals for a study to explore the issues, opportunities and design considerations of a UK web-based probability panel. They are looking to appoint an individual or team to review in detail the opportunities, issues, design considerations and short and long term cost implications of establishing a web-based probability panel in the UK. The closing date for proposals has been extended to 16:00, 23/09/2014.  

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is also inviting applications to its Future Research Leaders scheme. The Future Research Leaders scheme aims to enable outstanding early-career social scientists, in partnership with their host organisation, to acquire the skills set to become the future world leaders in their field. The call is open to high-quality candidates from anywhere in the world who have a maximum of four years and four months’ postdoctoral experience and the support of an eligible UK research organisation. Grants will be for a maximum of three years with an overall limit of £350,000. The closing date for applications is 16:00, 20/01/2015.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) invites expressions of interest to its Engagement Competition 2014. The competition is designed to help capture and promote the impact that your digital economy research is having. Three prizes of £10,000 are available to support researchers to further tell the story of their research impact in an interesting and engaging way to a wider audience. The closing date for expressions of interest is 19/11/2014.

EUREKA invites applications to its Eurostars Programme. The programme funds innovative projects which will be rapidly commercialised. It also encourages and assists the development of new products, processes and services by offering funding and support. The closing date for applications is 05/03/2015.

Innovate UK has announced a Forensics Call. The aim is to achieve a step-change in crime investigation in the UK, through the application of novel techniques for gathering forensic evidence. Across the UK last year, more than 500,000 crime scenes were examined for the recovery of forensic related material, principally, fingerprints and biological material. The challenge facing CAST is how to achieve step-change improvements to forensic processes used in crime investigation in the UK in order to increase the amount of material identified, reduce the time taken to process evidence, manage contamination and lessen disruptive interventions. The call for proposals at Phase 1 will therefore focus on proof of concepts for technologies and processes which aid the rapid location and recovery of forensic material at crime scenes. The closing date for applications is 12:00pm, 29/10/2014.

The Leverhulme Trust is inviting applications to its Research Project Grants. The aim of these awards is to provide financial support for innovative and original research projects of high quality and potential, the choice of theme and the design of the research lying entirely with the applicant (the Principal Investigator). They are offering up to £500,000 over five years for research on a topic of the applicant’s choice. Grants cover salary and research costs directly associated with the project. The closing date is yet to be specified by the funder.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) invites applications to its Clinical Research Training Fellowships. The scheme supports clinically active professionals within the UK to undertake a higher research degree. The scheme can also provide post-doctoral funding for applicants who achieved their PhD more than five years ago but who have not been research active since due to clinical training commitments. The closing date for applications is 14/01/2015.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is also inviting applications to its Jointly-Funded Clinical Research Training Fellowship. These awards offer the prestige of having the relevant organisation co-fund your fellowship and may offer additional opportunities to report on your project, present your work at meetings and for professional networking. The closing date for applications is 14/01/2015.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) will shortly be inviting applications for innovation grants within the Tackling AMR Theme 1: Understanding resistant bacteria in context of the host. This is the second call for novel, high risk Innovation grants to address the broad challenges presented in AMR initiative – theme 1 to: Understand the resistant bacterium at molecular, cell and population levels; Understand the context of host/pathogen interactions in humans and animals; Identify and validate novel targets for new antibacterials; and understand transmission of resistance in humans and animals. These awards will support focused but particularly innovative studies with a high degree of risk. The focus of these grants is on research that is potentially transformative, stimulating creative thinking across disciplines. Up to £250k (80% fec) per project will be available over 12-24 months period. The call will open on the 28/10/2014, and the application deadline will be 13/01/2015.  

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Academy of Medical Sciences are now inviting applications to their Policy Internship scheme. The scheme, now in its fourth year, is open to all MRC-funded PhD students in their third and fourth year of study including clinicians undertaking a PhD as part of their MRC Clinical Research Training Award. It is designed to give students first-hand experience of the medical science policy environment and enable them to gain insights into how research can impact policy. The internship will also provide an opportunity to help build valuable networks with the UK’s most eminent medical scientists and key science and health stakeholders. The closing date for applications is 31/10/2014.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is inviting applications to its Policy Placement Fellowship scheme. The scheme allows researchers and other staff involved in environmental science research to work closely with policymakers within government and other public and third sector organisations in the UK. The scheme also allows placements of government and third sector policymakers to work within NERC head office and research centres. Successful applicants will be awarded a NERC grant. During the placement, the fellow will remain employed by her/his institution. The closing date for applications is 14/10/2014.

The Royal Society invites applications for the Brian Mercer Feasibility Awards. The scheme provides initial support of up to £30,000 to test the feasibility of a project, enabling applicants to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of commercialising an aspect of their scientific research, possibly in conjunction with a third party. This award and the Brian Mercer Award for Innovation (which is intended for concepts at a more advanced stage) are designed to promote innovation and fill the funding gap between scientific research and the exploitation of an idea through venture capital investment. The closing date for applications has not yet been specified by the funder.

The Royal Society is inviting applications to its Newton Advanced Fellowships. The fellowships provide established international researchers with an opportunity to develop the research strengths and capabilities of their research group through training, collaboration and reciprocal visits with a partner in the UK. The skills and knowledge gained should lead to changes in the wellbeing of communities and increased economic benefits. Awards last for up to three years and are available to support researchers across the natural sciences, including clinical or patient-oriented research. Up to £37,000 is available each year. The closing date for applications is 22/10/2014.

The Royal Society is also inviting applications to its Newton Mobility Grants. The Royal Society offers Newton International Exchanges as mobility grants to provide international researchers with funding towards travel, subsistence and research expenses for either a one-off short visit to explore opportunities for building lasting networks or for bilateral visits to strengthen emerging collaborations. The funding available is dependent upon the length of the visit and the partner country. Applicants may request: up to £3,000 for one-off travel lasting up to 3 months; up to £6,000 for multiple visits to be completed within 1 year (including a maximum of £1,000 for research expenses); up to £12,000 for multiple visits to be completed within 2 years (including a maximum of £2,000 for research expenses). The closing date for applications is 22/10/2014.

The Royal Society is also inviting applications to its Research Grants. This scheme is for scientists in the UK who are at an early stage in their career and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables, or for academics to research the history of science. The scheme provides a grant of up to £15,000 (incl. VAT) for the purchase of specialised equipment, essential consumable materials and services, and travel and subsistence for essential field research. The grant is for a maximum period of 12 months. The closing date for applications is 15/10/2014.

The Royal Society invites applications to the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. The scheme provides universities with additional support to enable them to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential to the UK. It provides a salary enhancement which is paid by the university in addition to the basic salary. The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine. The scheme provides up to 5 years’ funding after which the award holder continues with the permanent post at the host university. The focus of the award is a salary enhancement, usually in the range of £10,000 to £30,000 per annum. The closing date for applications is 04/11/2014.

The UK Space Agency, in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council are now inviting proposals to research: Does human spaceflight affect the perception and uptake of STEM subjects? It is often claimed that astronaut programmes increase interest in and uptake of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among children. The forthcoming mission of Tim Peake, the first ever UK government-backed astronaut, who will become the first ever British astronaut to visit the International Space Station in November 2015, presents an excellent opportunity to test this claim. Seeking to subject the claim to rigorous and reliable social research methods, the UK Space Agency welcomes proposals for studies which will assess the following in response to Tim Peake’s mission:  Primarily - levels of engagement with STEM subjects in schools, especially at key stages 2 and 3; Secondarily - Social mobility – i.e. increased engagement in STEM from disadvantaged students and schools in underprivileged areas; and Knowledge of societal usefulness of space. It is anticipated that funding in the region of £300-350k will be available, spanning three years (before, during and after the mission). The closing date for applications is 17:00, 13/10/2014.

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 up to November 2014.

If thinking of applying, why not add notification of your interest on ResearchProfessional’s record of the bid so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.

Say it once, say it right: Seven strategies to improve your academic writing (Patrick Dunleavy)

Posted in Publishing by Julie Northam

Whether writing a research article or a grant proposal, it can be difficult to pinpoint the sections and areas that need further improvement. It is useful to have a set of tactics on hand to address the work. Patrick Dunleavy outlines seven upgrade strategies for a problematic article or chapter: Do one thing well. Flatten the structure. Say it once, say it right. Try paragraph re-planning. Make the motivation clearer. Strengthen the argument tokens. Improve the data and exhibits.

I guess every researcher and academic writer has often faced the task of trying to upgrade a piece of work that just will not come out right. Sometimes it’s clear what the problem is, and colleagues, friends or supervisors who read the article or chapter can make concrete suggestions for change. But often it’s not so clear-cut. Readers are cordial but obviously unenthused. There’s nothing massively wrong, but the piece feels thin or unconvincing in some diffuse way.

Sometimes too the problem occurs well before you want anyone else to read your text. If it is a one-off piece of research then maybe it can just be filed for later reconsideration. But often the research plan in a grant bid, or the book contents page crafted a year ago, or the PhD structure devised two or more years ago, mean that an article or chapter just has to get done. Here an unsatisfactory first draft is not just much less than you’d hoped for at the distant planning stage, but instead a depressing roadblock to completing a whole, long-term project.

At times like these it is handy to have a set of standard things to try to improve matters — familiar strategies that you can frequently use, deploying them quickly because you’re deliberately not treating each article or chapter as sui generis or unique. Everyone has their own moves for coping with the upgrade task. Here are my top seven, in hopes that some of them work for you.

1. Do one thing well. Many writing problems stem from trying to do too much within the same few pages, causing texts to inflate beyond journal length limits (often fatal for passing review), or just introducing ‘confuser’ themes that referees love to jump on. ‘I’m not clear if the author is advocating X, or trying to do Y’. Keeping it simple (within well defended boundaries) makes things clearer, so long as your paper is also substantive i.e don’t go from this point to try and ‘salami slice’ a given piece of research across multiple journal articles. A nice blog by Pat Thomson puts this point alongside other common mistakes.

2. Flatten the structure. All articles in social science should be 8,000 words or less and most chapters are similar or verge up to 10,000 words. Given the attention span of serious, research readers, you need a sub-heading about every 2,000 words or so — that’s just four or five main sub-headings in total. They should all be first-order sub-heads, at the same level, and preferably dividing the text up into similar-sized chunks, that come in a predictable way and have a common rhythm. If you have two or three tiers of sub-headings in a hierarchy, make it simpler.

In other fields, length limits are much less — e.g. just 3,000 words for medical journal articles. So the numbers of subheadings needed here will be correspondingly reduced. Each of your section headings should be substantive (not just formal, conventional, vacuous or interogative). Ideally they should give readers a logically sequenced set of narrative cues, about what you did, and what you have found out. You can add a short Conclusions section with its own smaller kind of heading. Also, never label the beginning bit of text ‘Introduction’ — this is already blindingly obvious.

Image credit: Nic McPhee (Flickr, CC BY-SA)

Many structural problems and inaccessible text are caused by people using outliner software to create overly hierarchized sets of headings at multiple levels, made worse still by adding complex numbering systems (e.g section to ‘help’ readers. At an extreme, an analytic over-fragmentation of the text results, with sections, sub-sections and sub-sub sections proliferating in bizarre complexity. The text can become like the traditional British tinned desert called ‘fruit cocktail’, which contains many different kinds of fruit, but all in small cubes and smothered in a syrup so thick that you cannot taste at all what any component is.

The writing coach, Thomas Basboll, shrewdly remarked that :

A well-written journal article will present a single, easily identifiable claim; it will show that something is the case… The [typical academic] article will consist of roughly 40 paragraphs. Five of them will provide the introductory and concluding remarks. Five of them will establish a general, human background. Five of them will state the theory that informs the analysis. Five of them will state the method by which the data was gathered. The analysis (or “results” section) will make roughly three overarching claims (that support the main thesis) in three five-paragraph sections. The implications of the research will be outlined in five paragraphs. These are ball-park figures, not hard and fast rules, but “knowing” something for academic purposes means being able to articulate yourself in roughly these proportions.

3. Say it once, say it right. Nothing is so corrosive of readers’ confidence in a writer than repeating things. Academic readers are not like soap opera fans — they do not need a thing previewed, then actually said, then resaid, and then summarized. So it a bad idea to take one decent point and fragment it across your text in little bits. If your current structure is forcing you to do this, recast it to make this problem go away.

Simple, big block structures are generally best. Complex structures, with points developed recursively on in frequent discrete iterations, are easier to mess up. Close to every nuance of your own argument, you may well feel that you are thematically advancing, embroidering and extending your arguments each time you come back to a linked point. But readers will just see repetition. So, say each point once— and say it right first time.

This motto also has resonance at the micro-level. Fellow scientists or academics normally do not need points to be so hammered home that every tiny scintilla of meaning has been triple-locked in case some doubt remains. This way lies turgid prose. (As Voltaire shrewdly remarked: ‘The secret of being a bore is to say everything’).

4. Try paragraph re-planning, as discussed in my separate blogpost. This is a great technique for really helping you understand what you have done/got in the existing draft of your article or chapter. Rachael Cayley has a similar approach, which she calls ‘reverse outlining’. The core idea is to start with your finished text and then to resurface a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph structure from that. Looking at this synoptic view of your whole text, you should find it easier to come up with an alternative Plan B sequence for your text. Unless you are a genius writer already, re-modelling text is an inescapable burden at multiple stages of securing acceptance by a journal.

5. Make the motivation clearer. Give readers a stronger sense of why the research has been done, why the topic is salient and how the findings illuminate important problems. Researchers who live with their topic over months and years often lose track of why they started, why they shaped the study as they did, and what the significance of their findings is for a larger audience. If a text is not working, or not quite working, the author is often too close-up to the detail of the findings, too convinced that the study could only have been done this way and that its importance is ‘obvious’. Being unable to write an effective conclusion is a good ‘tell’ for this problem — an apparently separate symptom that is actually closely linked.

Trying to achieve a high impact start for an article (or a clean, forward-looking beginning to each chapter in a book or PhD) can help readers to better appreciate a motive for reading on. A quick start usually helps readers commit to learning more.

6. Strengthen the argument tokens. At research level every paragraph draws on ‘tokens’ to sustain the case being made — which might be literature citations, supportive quotations, empirical evidence, or systematic data presented in charts or tables (see point 7). On citations, quotes or evidence it is usually worthwhile to ask if your search and presentation could be made more convincing — for instance, by multiplying references, showing evidence of systematic and inclusive search, more methodical evidence-gathering, or simply updating and refreshing a literature search that is now a little dated. People often do a literature search at an early stage of their research, when they only understand their topic rather poorly — but then neglect to do a ‘top up’ search just before submission, when they are likely to be much better at recognizing material that is relevant.

7. Improve the data and exhibits. This works at two levels. First, at an overall level it is important to design effective exhibits that display in a consistent way and follow good design principles. Second, at the level of each chart, table or diagram, make sure you provide full and accurate labelling of what is being shown, and that the data being reported are in a form that will matter to readers — not ‘dead on arrival’.

This post has been taken from LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences blog and is available from this linkThis piece was originally published on the Writing For Research blog and is reposted with the author’s permission.

To follow up these ideas in more detail see this book: Patrick Dunleavy, ‘Authoring a PhD’ (Palgrave, 2003) or the Kindle edition, where Chapter 5 covers ‘Writing clearly’ and Chapter 6 ‘Developing as a Writer’.

There is also very useful advice on Rachael Cayley’s blog Explorations of Style and on Thomas Bassboll’s blog ‘Research as a second language’.

BU social science research on ‘Guns, Pride & Agency’

Worldwide, guns are a topic wrought with emotions. While most democratic countries consider guns in private hands a severe risk for public health if uncontrolled, it is not just in the US that licencing laws face resistance that benefit from a political and emotional rejection of state interference (e.g. UKIP’s Nigel Farage earlier this year). But why and how are ‘gun cultures’ built and sometimes sustained, even if they might undermine, an EU-led, much-desired democratisation and peace-building process after violence and war?

Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, social anthropologist at the HSC, addressed this question in her presentation ‘Guns, Pride and Agency—Albanian Ideals of Militancy Before and After the 1999 War in Kosovo’, at the international conference Comparing Civil Gun Cultures: Do Emotions Make the Difference? at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin from August 26 to 28, 2014 ( The wider ethnographic research project, on which her findings are based, was also subject of an interview earlier this year, published on a research blog of the London School of Economics: .



Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen


CoPMRE’s Eleventh Annual Symposium – Impact in Healthcare Research and Education

Posted in BU research by Lisa Gale

About the event

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 from 08:45 to 16:40 

Executive Business Centre (EBC), Lansdowne Campus, BH8 8EB

 The Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education (CoPMRE) would like to invite you to their Eleventh Annual Symposium: Impact in Healthcare Research and Education. This symposium is suitable for primary and secondary doctors, allied healthcare professionals, academics and anyone with an interest in medical research and education.

 This conference will discuss developments and activities around impact in healthcare research and education and explore impact from the perspectives of the public, the research funder, the university, the provider, the student and the medical educator.  National speakers include Professor Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care and Dean for Research Impact, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Simon Denegri, Chair INVOLVE, Natalie Carter, Head of Research Liaison and Evaluation, Arthritis Research UK and Jonathan Grant, Director, Kings Policy Institute.

 This event is free to attend but places are strictly limited so please register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

 For full details and to register please go to:

 See you there!

Researchfish is now LIVE

Image sourced from The Academy of Medical Sciences

On 4 June 2014, RCUK announced that the Researchfish system will be used to replace the Research Outcomes System to collect the outcomes of the research that they fund. The RCUK Outcomes Harmonisation Project was then established to oversee the successful implementation of Researchfish as a harmonised outcomes collection service for all Research Councils by September 2014 for this purpose.

Researchfish is now live and all Principal Investigators for grants funded by AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC or NERC should have been notified by RCUK and have
received registration emails from the Researchfish system. With this implementation, the Research Councils UK will now follow a common annual timetable for grant holders to confirm that the information in the system is complete and up-to-date. The first harmonised ‘submission period’ will run from 16 October – 13 November 2014.

It is vital that all RCUK grant holders engage fully with the new Researchfish system. Please take note of the following:
  • The first harmonised ‘submission period’ will run from 16 October – 13 November 2014.
  • Researchfish is offering a series of webinars for researchers to learn how to use Researchfish. You can click on this link to register.
  • All affected grant holders will shortly receive an email from RKEO as a further reminder and a calendar reminder of the harmonised ‘submission period’.
  • RKEO will be providing two presentation sessions in the first week of October to help grant holders understand the initiative behind adopting the Researchfish.

    Image sourced from the Aquaculture New Zealand website

- Talbot Campus – CG04 – 11.30am to 12.30pm – 2nd October 2014

-Lansdowne Campus – EB202 – 11.30am to 12.30pm – 3rd October 2014

For more information on this, please get in touch with Pengpeng Hatch. (Tel: 01202 961354; Email:

September: A good month for CMMPH publications








The Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health started well this September with four publications in academic and practitioners’ journal.  Starting with final-year student midwife Joanna Lake who just had an article published in The Practising Midwife.1

Secondly, BU midwifery staff Jen Leamon and Sue Way together with HSC Visiting Fellow Suzie Cro also have had an article published this month in the same journal.2

Susanne Grylka-Baeschlin, a midwife from Switzerland who spent time at BU as an international visitor (see had her paper published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth this month.3

And last, but not least, Wendy Marsh, based in HSC’s Portsmouth office had a paper in the September issue of the British Journal of Midwifery.4




Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen




  1. Lake J., 2014. Witnessing the art of woman-centred care by and exceptional mentor. The Practicing Midwife. 17(8), 24-26.
  2. Leamon J, Way S. & Cro S., 2014. Supervision of midwives and the 6Cs: exploring how we do what we do. The Practicing Midwife. 17(8), 41-42.
  3. Grylka-Baeschlin  S., van Teijlingen,  E. & Mechthild, G.M., 2014. Cultural differences in postnatal quality of life among German-speaking women: a prospective survey in two countries. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 14:277
  4. Marsh, W. 2014. Removing babies from mother’s at birth: Midwives experiences. British Journal of Midwifery. 22(9):620 – 624.

Make Your Voice Heard: communications support for BU’s academic community

There are so many important reasons for researchers to share their knowledge with the wider society. To name a few:

  • Communication of research findings is an important part of the research lifecycle and significant in achieving impact;
  • It’s important that our researchers share their knowledge and insights on wider societal issues so their informed opinions are heard and (we hope) listened to;
  • Having a recognisable voice on your subject matter, means you’re known by policy makers when the time comes to inform a change.

That’s why the Press Office, together with R&KEO, is hosting Make Your Voice Heard on Wednesday 10th September. At this event you’ll learn how to do this as effectively as possible, with practical communications tips and techniques, whilst joining in discussions on what academics bring to media discourse.

John Fletcher has some particularly interesting insights on the importance of communication. You can read his recent blog post online here.

Please book onto this event if you haven’t already done so via this Eventbrite link. There are a limited number of places still available.

Latest Major Funding Opportunities

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

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are inviting applications to their Engaging with Government programme. The Engaging with Government programme is a three day course which will take place in February 2015 and is designed to provide an insight into the policy making process, and help participants develop the skills needed to pursue the policy implications of their research. It also aims to build links between policy makers and the most dynamic new research in the arts and humanities. The closing date for applications is 17:00, 20/10/2014.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has announced that they will now be inviting applications to the Professional Internships for PhD Students scheme. This is a 3-month integrated placement to provide DTP PhD students the opportunity to carry out a work placement unrelated to their doctoral research during their PhD. Such experience is important both to help early career researchers understand the context of their research and to expose them to the range of opportunities in which they can apply their PhD skills and training after they graduate. An application deadline has not been given, the BBSRC have stated that applicants can apply at any time.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are inviting proposals to their Design The Future scheme. This call aims to encourage adventurous research addressing future design challenges, researching the effect of new science and engineering on the designers and the design process, leading to the development of future products and processes. There will be up to £3 million available for this call to fund a number of small, feasibility-style projects (up to £300,000 and 18-months duration) that help develop innovative, exciting ideas in Engineering Design. Applicants should register their intent to participate in the first stage by completing the registration form by 16:00, 29/10/2014.   

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced that they are now inviting proposals to the UK-Republic of Korea Civil Nuclear Research Programme. They seek collaborative research applications in nuclear decommissioning nuclear waste treatment and disposal. This call represents the first phase of this new collaboration and is intended as a springboard for deeper and larger collaborations in the future. The closing date for applications is 10:00, 25/11/2014.

Innovate UK is inviting applications to the Connected Cities Innovation Contest. IC tomorrow is offering six businesses up to £35k each to encourage innovation around the changing urban landscape across the themes of digitally connected buildings, communities, environment and services. The closing date for applications is noon, 14/10/2014.

Innovate UK and the Ministry of Defence, have announced that as of the 13/10/2014 they will be accepting applications to the Maritime Autonomous Systems scheme.  They are willing to invest up to £5m in collaborative R&D projects to stimulate the development of marine and maritime autonomous systems. The aim of the competition is to build collaboration to meet the technological challenges and opportunities afforded by the increasing use of autonomous systems across the industry. This is a two-stage competition. The deadline for expressions of interest is noon, 26/11/2014.

The Leverhulme Trust is now inviting applications to its International Academic Fellowships. The fellowship enables established researchers based at a UK higher education institution to spend a period of time in overseas research centres, to develop new knowledge, skills and ideas. Up to £30,000 is available for a period of three to twelve months. The closing date for applications is 16:00, 06/11/2014.

The Leverhulme Trust is also inviting applications for Research Fellowships. Research Fellowships are open to experienced researchers, particularly those who are or have been prevented by routine duties from completing a programme of original research. There are no restrictions on academic discipline, and awards are not limited to those holding appointments in higher education. They are offering up to £50,000 over three to twenty-four months for experienced researchers to conduct a programme of research in any discipline. The closing date for applications is 16:00, 06/11/2014.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is inviting applications to access the MRC Biomedical NMR Centre. To obtain a regular allocation of time an application should be made to the Advisory Committee (via Dr Frenkiel) for consideration at its annual meeting. The submission date for the next meeting will be 31/10/2014.

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 up to November 2014.

If thinking of applying, why not add notification of your interest on ResearchProfessional’s record of the bid so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.

BU research is ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Journal of Consumer Culture

An article by researchers in the Emerging Consumer Cultures Group (ECCG), Media School, has been selected as one of the ‘Editor’s Choice Collection’ in the Journal of Consumer Culture – a top ranked journal in Cultural Studies and Sociology.  The article is highlighted as one of eleven ‘most noteworthy manuscripts’ since the journal launched in 2001 and has been selected alongside the work of internationally esteemed scholars including Daniel Miller, Richard Wilk and Alan Warde.

Dr Rebecca (Becky) Jenkins (Corporate and Marketing Communications, Media School) and ex-Bournemouth colleagues Elizabeth Nixon and Mike Molesworth first presented the paper at the 2010 Consumer Culture Theory Conference in Wisconsin, where it was selected to be published in a special edition of the journal.  Several revisions later and the article was published in 2011.

‘“Just normal and homely”: the presence, absence and othering of consumer culture in everyday imagining’ is based on an aspect of Becky’s PhD thesis, which was a larger study of consumption in the everyday imagination.  It focuses on the different ways in which consumption features in positive imagined futures.  By broadening the methodological framing of existing studies, the study seeks to contextualise consumption in the imagination – exploring how and where consumption may be seen in everyday imagining – a departure from previous research which tends to make consumption the starting point.  Focusing on the lived experience of imagining (using phenomenological interviews) the findings reveal that material goods take a back seat to common cultural desires (for instance, successful relationships, happiness and love) with goods often assumed, simply as part of the background.  Although goods may take a back seat, consumer culture is shown to be the only real choice when it comes to constructing social relationships and cultural ideals – that is, whilst one may desire and imagine a happy family life, that life takes place in a certain kind of house, with particular goods and consumer based activities.  So whilst not always focusing on it directly, the imagination may be restricted by our consumer culture such that we cannot imagine outside it.

The full paper – and others in the Editor’s Collection – can be  downloaded here:

Almetric for Institutions – Demonstration on 9 September 2014

On the 9 September, Daryl Jones, from Altmetric for Institutions (a web-based application for tracking, monitoring and reporting on impact of research outputs) will be here at Bournemouth University to run a demonstration of the application.

Below are the target audiences that this will likely benefit -

  • Altmetric for Institutions would be particularly relevant to communications officers, marketing and research administrators, as well as faculty members and librarians would also be potential stake-holders in such a project.
  • The demonstration will involve explaining the benefits and uses cases of Altmetric for Institutions, which in broad terms are listed below under the relevant area:

i.   Research administrators
·       View and analyse the online attention paid to own institution’s research outputs at the institution, department, and author levels.
·       Find evidence for institution’s societal impact.
·       Compare results from own institution to those of other institutions.

ii.   Communications officers
·       Assess public engagement and reputation for own institution.
·       View and analyse online attention paid to institution’s research outputs.
·       Identify key influencers in the community for boosting future engagement

iii.   Faculty members
·       View and analyse online attention paid to personal or research group/departmental scholarly outputs.
·       If involved with promotion and tenure: assess online attention paid to articles for a specific faculty member.

The different types of metrics that the product takes into account (tweets, blog posts, policy documents, news stories, and much more) and how Altmetric for Institutions works with this information to provide a score (in the form of the Altmetric donut) shall be shown.

There is currently an element of Altmetric imbedded within BRIAN. Please do come along to this demonstration to find out more about how Almetric for Institution can help you in managing your research outputs.

The demonstration will take place in EB202, Executive Business Centre, Lansdowne Campus on the 9September, starting at 10.30am (the session will probably last for an hour). If you are interested, or know anyone who will benefit from this demonstration, please do send Peng Peng Hatch an email to express your interest.

Refreshments will also be available on the day.

Open Access Salons! – Phil Ward

In June Research Professional reported that Prof Adam Tickell, successor to Dame Janet Finch, will be holding a series of salons to discuss Open Access.

Open Access salons! What a great idea.

A hairdressing salon. A row of women sit under hard hat dryers along the back wall, flicking through out of date copies of Grazia magazine. At the front a stylist fusses around a client in front of a large mirror.The bell on the door tinkles as a woman enters. Everyone turns to look at her.

STYLIST: Can I help you, love?
WOMAN (nervously): Yes, I was wanting a quick trim..?
STYLIST: Open Access, is it?
WOMAN: Pardon?
STYLIST: Do you want your haircut to be Open Access?
WOMAN: I don’t really understand…
STYLIST: Do you want your hair to be freely viewed by members of the public? Or do you want to wear this over your head?

She holds up a paper bag.

You’ll only be allowed to take it off if people pay to view it, or have bought a general subscription to my salon. Could get quite complicated.
WOMAN: But that’s crazy!
STYLIST: I’m just allowing others to benefit from this salon whilst protecting my business. It’s a tough world out there. It’s not as easy to make money out of hairdressing these days, you know.
WOMAN (patting her hair, and looking at the women at the back): Well, I guess I don’t really have a choice, do I? If I want others to see my hair.
STYLIST: You’ve made the right choice, love. Right then: if you want it to be Open Access, you’ll have to pay me a Hair Processing Charge, in addition to any other money I might get from you.
WOMAN: How much is that?
STYLIST: It varies. Averages about a thousand pounds.
WOMAN: A thousand pounds! But that’s outrageous!
STYLIST: It’s actually very good value. There’s a huge amount of unseen work involved in haircutting. Of course, we do offer a discount for pre-payment. If you buy 10 haircuts up front, we’ll give you a 20% reduction.
WOMAN: But still that’s £800!
STYLIST: Take it or leave it. You could go for the green option, of course.
WOMAN: What’s that?
STYLIST: You submit your hair to your local wig shop. However, it can’t be the final version. It might include bits I’ve missed, and won’t include any final changes we might make.
WOMAN: So my option is to have an incomplete haircut and put it on display in a wig shop, or pay a grand so that other people can look at it?
STYLIST: Essentially yes. Alternatively you could opt not to go Open Access. But then you will have to wear the paper bag.
WOMAN: But…but…
STYLIST: Look, love, it’s for your benefit! We need to protect your reputation and uphold the esteem and profile of this salon. And think what Open Access hair will do for you: More people will see your hairstyle, and will mention it to others. And people from the poor parts of town will be able to freely look at your hair.
WOMAN: And…and what if the people who see my hair decide they don’t like it? What if they disagree with my choices?
STYLIST: Well, if they make a good case we might have to retract it.
WOMAN: Retract it?
STYLIST: Yes. We might say we no longer agree with the hair and the underlying decisions which informed it. We might even decide to glue back any hair we’ve removed to restore the cut to its previous state. And I’ll put an apology note in the window.
WOMAN: This is ridiculous! I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want a trim any more.

She storms out of the salon.

STYLIST: I don’t know. No pleasing some people. (She returns to the client in the chair). So what style do you want, my love? A David Sweeney, you say? Right you are.

Written by Phil Ward, Deputy Director, Research Services, University of Kent.

The 2014 International Conference on Adaptive and Intelligent Systems

The 2014 International Conference on Adaptive and Intelligent Systems will take place next week, 08-09 September at the Executive Business Centre, Floor 3.

The ICAIS conference is the first conference focusing entirely on issues related to system adaptation and learning. ICAIS strives to deepen understanding of various concepts from the area of machine learning, data mining and system engineering (e.g. data streaming, self-evolving systems, self-adaptive systems, etc.).

The conference is financially supported by the Fusion Investment Fund and technically sponsored by world pioneering and leading scientific societies such as the International Neural Network Society (INNS) and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, as well as the UK Computational Intelligence Chapter.

The 2014 edition will bring together international researchers from different horizons to discuss the latest advances in system learning and adaptation. The programme will feature contributed papers as well as 3 world-renowned guest speakers and an invited plenary talk in interactive breakout sessions. The proceedings have been published by Springer in Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence Series.

We look forward to an enticing, informing and inspiring event.

Hamid Bouchachia, Conference Chair

Report on Fusion-funded internal secondment to BUDI

I was awarded Fusion funding to spend the last six months working in the BU Dementia Institute (BUDI) on an internal secondment. This time has come to an end and a formal report has been submitted reporting on how the objectives have all been achieved. Here I’d like to share what I personally found to be most useful from the secondment.


I had several tasks to complete over the six months but the bulk of my time was spent on writing research grant proposals. In particular, I took the lead on an application for a project to develop and validate a novel intervention to help older people with dementia who have recently experienced a fall-related injury (currently under review with the National Institute of Health Research, Health Technology Assessment programme). The secondment was invaluable for writing this proposal in two ways. First, the sheer volume of work to be completed in writing the proposal demanded many hours of my time. Second, there were several aspects I had to get to grips with during the proposal writing including NHS sponsorship, arrangements for intellectual property, involving patients in our decision-making, etc., that the secondment provided the ideal environment to master all of this. This was great not only for completing the proposal but gave me the tools to subsequently write a different proposal for a different funder very quickly to meet the tight deadline.


I would therefore recommend internal secondments to colleagues who may have interests relevant to institutes / research centres outside of their school. It provides an opportunity to contribute to BU outside your immediate school and an opportunity to develop tools to not only achieve the task at hand but take back with you and use after the life of the secondment.

Those interested in an internal secondment to contribute to BUDI’s research and / or education should contact Professor Innes in the first instance.


Dr Samuel Nyman

BUDI and Department of Psychology


Launch of the new RKEO structure

This week is the official launch of the new structure in RKEO. As of 1 September, RKEO has been split into three teams:

  • Funding Development Team
  • Project Delivery Team
  • Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team

This new structure mirrors the research and knowledge exchange life cycle and should ensure that academics get dedicated and high quality support throughout all parts of the research and knowledge exchange process. A summary of the remit of each of the new teams is provided below:

  • Funding Development Team: Support and advice with all pre-award activities, such as horizon-scanning, identifying funding opportunities, developing and submitting proposals, and development schemes such as the Grants Academy.
  • Project Delivery Team: Support and advice for all post-award activities, to include project and financial management of grants and contracts, ethics and outputs.
  • Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team: Support and advice for all corporate-level knowledge exchange initiatives, including business engagement, the Festival of Learning, research communications and research impact.

You can access a new structure chart here: RKEO structure chart September 2014

Key contacts in the new structure include:

  • Julie Northam, Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange, ext: 61208
  • Jo Garrad, Funding Development Manager, ext: 61209
  • Shelly Anne Stringer, Project Delivery Manager, ext: 61205
  • Rebecca Edwards, KE and Impact Manager, ext: 61538
  • General RKEO office number, ext: 68268

There are a number of RKEO staff members who are focused on supporting specific Schools/Faculty – these individuals are shown on the structure chart.

We will be visiting School/Faculty Academic Board meetings this autumn to introduce the new structure and the key individuals who will be working with you at pre- and post-award stages.

Our next RKEO coffee morning will be held on 30th October, 9:30-10:30am in the Retreat, Poole House. All are welcome!

Make Your Voice Heard event reminder – some spaces still available

Logo with a megaphone and event title

It’s not enough just to do cutting edge research. We also know that we have to share it and pass on our findings or even our views about matters that are important to society.  Such profile-raising can help attract future research funding, raise our standing and that of BU and, with an eye on REF2020, help achieve impact.

Talking to journalists, using social media and updating blogs or websites does not come naturally to all of us and can be seen as just another demand placed on people who are already struggling with a busy schedule.

The communications department at the University have offered to make it easier for us to get our voice heard. They are hosting an event entitled Make Your Voice Heard to explore how to do this with impact and effect.

Taking place next week on 10 September 2014, we will discuss important topics, such as how academics can enrich the media and how to balance different stakeholder wants and needs. There will also be opportunities to acquire some practical tools, tips and techniques.

Ultimately, it would be great to see more of our staff sharing their unique and valuable perspectives on matters important to society and raising the profile of BU in the local, regional and national scene. Whether that’s through informed comment or sharing research outcomes, the communications team can help us do it more effectively.

‘Make Your Voice Heard’ runs from 9:00 – 14:00 on Talbot Campus and lunch will be provided. It is open to all researchers, from PGRs to Professors.

You can see the full schedule and book your place by following this link to the Eventbrite page. If you would like to find out more before booking, please contact Sarah Gorman (Corporate Communications Assistant).

Opportunity to become Involved in a Research Study on Institutional Life Cycles

We are seeking volunteers at BU to help with a piece of research looking at the evolution of HE institutions and the evolution of individuals in the context of institutional evolution.  Professor Matthew Bennett and Dr Colleen Harding are conducting a research project which examines the evolution of BU during the last 25 years from an organisational development perspective.  BU has been selected as a case study, as part of a broader piece of research which involves two other institutions.  Both of the Principal Investigators have been participant observers during much of the change that has taken place at BU during the last decade and are ideally placed to conduct this research.  Our study extends back to the early 1990s through to the launch of the current strategic plan in 2012.  The case study will be used to develop ideas and models of institutional change applicable to the Higher Education sector as a whole. 

We are keen to invite volunteers, both past and present members of staff, who joined (and left) BU at different stages along its development journey, to contribute their thoughts and reflections on different periods of the institution’s history.  We are seeking volunteers both through an open call and by targeting individuals with direct invitations who we feel may have lived through critical periods of the institution’s history.  It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take part.  There is no limit to the number of participants that we are seeking.  In the first instance the research will take place between September and November 2014 and consists of a one hour interview with one of the Principal Investigators.  This will be organised at your convenience, just email either Matthew or Colleen to set up a time and place.  You will be asked to sign a consent form and given a participant information sheet for the study.  The research has been ethically approved by BU.  All the data will be held confidentially and will be used in such a way as to ensure that all participants cannot be identified from the research.  If you are interested in being involved in the research we would very much like to hear from you, so please contact Matthew or Colleen by email: or


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