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Talk BU Live

Posted in Featured by sgorman









Next week sees the launch of Talk BU Live, a series of live talks from our academics aimed at getting people thinking and talking.

The first event will be in Dylan’s on 23 September and will start at 5.30pm. The talk itself will last 20 minutes or so.

Who is Talk BU Live aimed at? Anyone in the BU community – so academic staff, professional staff and students.

Too often we hear the term “silos” to describe working and studying at BU, so this is an opportunity to come along and explore other areas than just where you work or where you study. We need as a university to give our community a range of opportunities to expand horizons, to meet other people and to share ideas. Talk BU Live will be a chance to add to the whole experience of being involved with BU in whatever capacity.

The first talk is by Professor Stephen Heppell and is entitled “Shoeless & Sausages: Making Learning Better”. Stephen is an internationally acclaimed academic, practitioner and innovator of learning in all its forms and this is a fantastic opportunity to hear a truly influential voice in the field of education discussing the world of learning. Stephen’s research is very wide-ranging and touches on everything from not wearing shoes in class to aid concentration to what one should eat on the morning of an exam.

Further details of the event and of BU’s comment page Talk BU here. 

£1million in digital healthcare innovation available from Creative England

This fund is designed to stimulate creative and digital innovation in This UK healthcare.
Are you working with or know of  small creative and digital businesses (SMEs) with innovative concepts or prototypes using digital technology to improve patient care and health services?
These maybe in areas such as dementia, social care, and cardiovascular and medication management.
The South West is one of the first three regions to benefit from this funding opportunity.
Key information:
  • 5 x £50,000 investments will be made.
  • Companies must be based in the North, Midlands or South West.
  • Examples of projects could be improving quality of care; caring for people with dementia; supporting people with long-term conditions; and data visualisation.
  • Mobile apps, development of a new game for tablet or mobile are also eligible.

Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and the fund will close on 31 October 2014.

More information can be found here.

Alternatively please feel free to contact

Jayne Codling – Knowledge Exchange Adviser

Ext 61215

Opportunities for Researchers after a Career Break

If you have been away from the workplace, you may feel that your career is on hold or slipping backwards, but with the schemes highlighted below, you have the opportunity to re-invigorate your academic career:

Within Biomedical Sciences, the Wellcome Trust Research Re-entry Fellowship is one scheme within their suite of Flexible Working options. This scheme is for postdoctoral scientists who have recently decided to recommence a scientific research career after a continuous break of at least two years. It gives such scientists the opportunity to return to high-quality research, with the potential to undertake refresher or further training. The fellowship is particularly suitable for applicants wishing to return to research after a break for family commitments. The next deadline is 06/10/14.

The Wellcome Trust also offers the  Sanger Institute Fellowship, which enables and opens routes back into science for those who have had a break from scientific research – for any reason. The funder understands that even a short time out of research can have an impact on your career, which is why they have created a postdoctoral fellowship providing an additional opportunity specifically for those who have been out of scientific research for one year or more to return to high-quality postdoctoral training. One Fellowship will be awarded each year. Each Fellowship will last for three years and can be worked full time, part time or flexibly. The next call for applications will be in mid-2015.

A Daphne Jackson Fellowship is a unique fellowship designed to return STEM professionals to their careers after a break. Fellows normally carry out their research part-time over 2 years, in a university or research establishment in the UK. The Fellowships are flexible and include a tailored training programme designed to update skills and knowledge and support you in your return to research. If you are ready to return to research following a break of 2 or more years, take a look at their sponsored fellowship opportunities. Alternatively, if you have a potential host institution and/or research area in mind, you can apply for a fellowship at any time. If your application is successful, the Trust will endeavour to find suitable sponsorship. 

The Royal Society’s Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship scheme is for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.  Female candidates are particularly invited to apply. The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a current need for flexible support due to personal circumstances at the time of application. This can include current parenting or caring responsibilities (such as raising children or looking after ageing or seriously ill family members), clinically diagnosed health issues or other personal circumstances that create a need for a flexible working pattern. This scheme is closed for 2014 but should open again in late 2014 / early 2015.

Although these are the main schemes, it is worth checking if smaller funders or charities in your field also provide such funding. For example, a quick internet search found a similar scheme offered by the British Heart Foundation.

Learning Research Group – Launch Workshop 2.10

Posted in Uncategorized by jmcdougall

To launch the new cross-BU learning research group, a workshop will be held in the new Centre for Excellence in Learning space (PG30a) on Thursday October 2nd, 10am to 12.30pm.

The session will firstly offer an overview of educational research journals and conferences, funding opportunities and REF criteria (including the provisional BU strategy for entering the education UoA). Secondly, participants will have the opportunity to work together to share research, ideas and / or plans, with the aim of generating some collaborative approaches.

Please come along if you have educational research to share, are starting out in educational research, need advice on getting started or are just interested.

There will be no obligation to join the research group.

In addition, I will be basing myself in the CEL space for people to ‘drop in’ and chat about learning research one Friday a month. The next one is Friday October 31st (10 – 3).

Once the group is established, further meetings and workshops will be arranged through CEL.

For some context / detail, have a look at this provisional overview and strategy Education UoA position paper  and / or contact me –

Congratulations and Good Luck

August saw an increased level of activity for bids being submitted and awards being won with congratulations due to Schools/Faculty for winning consultancy and BU 2014 Match Funded Studentships.

Dr Thanh Huynh

For the Business School, congratulations are due to Jens Holscher, Andrew Mullineux and Dean Patton for their application from the ESRC on Access to Finance for SMEs, to Lois Farquharson and Melissa Carr for their short courses on CPD – Developing your personal leadership brand and CPD – Leading people and teams, to Thanh Huynh for his application from the British Council, to grants academy member Dinusha Mendis for her contract with the ESRC and with Tania Humphries-Smith (DEC) their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship, and to grants academy member Venancio Tauringana and Elena Cantarello (Faculty of Science and Technology) for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship. Good luck to grants academy member Argyro Karanasiou for his contract to the BILETA.

Dr Jane Murphy

For HSC, congratulations are due to grants academy member Jane Murphy for her BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with British Egg Industry Council, and to Lee-Ann Fenge, Keith Brown, and Gary Barrett for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Hampshire County Council. Good luck to grants academy member Michelle Heward and Fiona Coward for their application to Dorset County Council on fire prevention in the homes of people with dementia, and to Anthea Innes, Peter Thomas and Samual Nyman (Faculty of Science and Technology) for their application to the European Commission.

 For MS, congratulations are due to Kerry Rowland-Hill for her consultancy with THAT Bournemouth Company Ltd, and to Peter Truckel for his consultancy with Business South.

Dr Katherine Appleton

For the Faculty of Science and Technology, congratulations are due to Siamak Noroozi and Philip Sewell for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship, to Siamak Noroozi and Mihai Dupac for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship, to Feng Tian for her BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Starlight Culture Investment Pte Ltd, to Feng Tian and grants academy member Nan Jiang for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Yalong Vehicle Service Limited, to Katherine Appleton for her BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship, to Ian Swain and Christos Gatzidis for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Odstock Medical, to Raian Ali, Jacqui Taylor, Keith Phalp and Sarah Williams (HSC) for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Streetscene, to Venky Dubey for his BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship, to Zulfiqar Khan and Mihai Dupac for their 2014 Match Funded Studentship with the National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan, to Zulfiqar Khan and Kamran Tabeshfar for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship, to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancies with Andy Brown, Amtrose Limited, Terence O’Rourke Plc, Bloor Homes Limited and Sembcorp Bournemouth Water Ltd, to David Osselton and grants academy member Sulaf Assi for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Hampshire Cosmetics Ltd, to David Osselton for his BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Alere Toxicology, to Robert Britton and grants academy member Demetra Andreou for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Severn Rivers Trust, to Anita Diaz, grants academy member Phillipa Gillingham and Richard Stafford for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with the National Trust, and to Richard Stillman and Roger Herbert for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Natural England.
Good luck to Christopher Benjamin for his application to the Sonar Short Course, to Richard Gunstone for his consultancy to Smartway2Limited, to grants academy member Christopher Richardson for his consultancy to Data Harvesting Ltd, to Jan Wiener for his application to the Experimental Psychology Society, to Sarah Bate, Rachel Bennetts and Benjamin Parris for their application to Bial Foundation, to Paola Palma and Richard Stafford for their application to Historic Scotland, and to Genoveva Esteban for consultancy to Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Dr Jeff Bray

For ST, congratulations go to Jonathan Hibbert for his consultancy with Bournemouth Borough Council, to Andrew Adams for his LSA Conference 2015, to Jeff Bray for his short course with Hall & Woodhouse Ltd and for his BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with China Sourcing Ltd with Tania Humphries-Smith (Faculty of Science and Technology), and to Dimitrios Buhalis and grants academy member Alessandro Inversini for their BU 2014 Match Funded Studentship with Bournemouth Tourism. Good luck to Adele Ladkin for her application to the EPSRC, to grants academy member Nigel Williams for his application to the Project Management Research Institute, and to Jonathan Hibbert for his consultancy to Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

Latest CfE tenant surgery – Matt Hawkins C4L

The Bournemouth University Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) was delighted to welcome Matt Hawkins, Chairman and Founder of C4L to the incubator to host our latest Business Surgery.

Matt is one of the CfE’s Entrepreneurs in Residence, a small group of proactive business owners who visibly support and encourage entrepreneurship by acting as Champions for entrepreneurship and Ambassadors for the CfE.

The CfE Business Surgeries are run on a regular basis and provide a fantastic opportunity for early stage and growing businesses to ask questions and pick the brains of experienced professionals and entrepreneurs. They are aimed at both the businesses based at the CfE and also BU students running businesses. Previous Business Surgeries have been hosted by Gary Seneviratne, (Adido), Peter Czapp, (The Wow Company), and Ewan King, (Content is King).

At the age of 25, Matt Hawkins founded C4L in 2000, four years after completing a computing and business degree at Brunel University.  Having programmed his first computer at the age of five, some 33 years later Matt’s privately owned company, C4L, now has a turnover of £12.5m which he expects to increase to £16m in 2014. Since inception the firm has maintained a track record of rapid growth every year due to continuous progression through innovation. Today, C4L is based at County Gates House which borders Bournemouth and Poole and occupies four floors of the building. C4L also owns its own data centre and houses 15,000 square feet of very sensitive data for banks, businesses and technology companies from across the UK and Europe. C4L’s client base includes Government, FTSE 250, financial institutions and many of the UK’s network carriers. C4L was the 2012 winner of HSBC’s South West Business Thinking initiative, and has been ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 and Fast 500 EMEA, as well as the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100.

Robin Humphreyies, Managing Director of games developers, Static Games Ltd (, and current BU student, said, ‘we are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to talk over areas of our business with Matt.’ Robin adds, ‘it is great to receive insight and ideas from someone who has such relevant industry knowledge and experience, and who has already been through the start-up stage and understands both the problems we face, and perhaps more importantly, the opportunities available to us!’

Kaisa Kangro, Managing Director of el RHEY Ltd, (, specialist designers of children’s rainwear, agreed this was a ‘great opportunity to meet Matt Hawkins and ask questions to someone who has built such a successful business from scratch.’ Kaisa found Matt’s experiences of managing growth ‘extremely valuable’ and intended to use these insights to help ‘assess and steer’ el RHEY in the future.

The CfE provides support to start up and early stage ventures and in addition to the Surgeries organises a range of activities including business seminars. ‘It is fantastic that both the Entrepreneurs in Residence and the CfE are so eager to offer up their time to help a young business like ours,’ comments Robin, ‘we hope they will continue to support us with further relevant and insightful surgery sessions in the future.’

We are immensely grateful to Matt for his time and for his continuing support of the activities of the CfE and the businesses based here. To find out more about the Centre for Entrepreneurship please visit us at or contact Nikki Harvey at

PR historians meet in Brussels

Plans for future joint research were discussed at a meeting of the European Public Relations History Network (EPRHN) in Brussels on September 12.

The network, which was established with Fusion Fund assistance in 2013, met during the annual EUPRERA Congress and was attended by 15 PR historians from Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and England.

In addition to developing joint bids to national and European funding sources, EPRHN members have been contributing to a PR history book series which is being edited by Professor Tom Watson of the Media School.

Other plans are research into WW1 propaganda and information campaigns, comparative studies, collaboration with researchers in political communication and nation branding fields, and the role of PR during 20th century European dictatorships.

“EPRHN works as a virtual organisation and is gathering momentum. The key to it becoming a sustained network is both funding and outcomes,” said Professor Watson. “At present, there are outcomes in the form of accessible online resources and publications. So more effort is going into research bids when opportunities arise.”

Grand Place de Bruxelles

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.

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