Tagged / Fusion Investment Fund

The British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) is coming to BU!

On 25-26 Apr 2017, BU will be hosting the highly valued and increasingly popular BCUR (http://www.bcur.org/).  Almost 400 UG students from across the country attended BCUR 2016 at Manchester Metropolitan University. Hosting BCUR will be hard work, but also a great opportunity to promote BU’s excellent facilities and postgraduate opportunities. Undergraduates of all levels are invited to submit an abstract to BCUR, abstracts are peer-reviewed and works accepted can be presented in a variety of formats (oral presentations, posters, art displays, workshops and performances).

Prof Gail Thomas (Head of CEL), Dr Luciana Esteves (SciTech) and Dr Mary Beth Gouthro (Faculty of Management) are co-chairing BCUR 2017 and are currently setting up the organising committee. If you are interested in helping organising the event, please contact one of the chairs. Representatives from all Faculties, SUBU and central services are welcome.

You can also help by stimulating your students to submit their abstracts to BCUR – your incentive is the most important factor influencing students’ decisions in taking part of extra-curricular activities. Submissions are likely to be open between Oct-Dec – so watch this space!

BU’s application to host BCUR was one of the successful outcomes of the Fusion-funded SURE project (Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence). The project has delivered two SURE conferences (March 2015 and 2016), an  extra-curricular opportunity open to all BU UG students (across all levels and programmes). You can find a brief summary of the two conferences in this CEL blog.

BU students taking part in the SURE conferences not only gain valuable transferable skills and experience, they can win fantastic awards and prizes (see below) and be selected to present their work in the Posters in Parliament event. You can read about this year’s BU research showcased in Parliament here.

SURE Conference award winners:

Research Excellence (MSc or MRes fee waiver): Jozef Kulik, Psychology (2015); Rosie Lumley, Nutrition (2016)

Best oral presentation (funds to present at an external conference): Ben Hayes, Physiotherapy (2015); Charlotte Fodor, English (2016)

Best poster (iPad): Emma Packer, Biological Sciences (2015); Christopher Dwen, Forensic Science (2016)

2016 winners

 

Erasmus funding – last week to apply!

EurosThis is a reminder that there is one week left to make your application for Erasmus Staff Mobility Funding!

 

You may recall the blogpost released last week (link) which outlined that we have funding left for academic and Professional Support staff to train and teach at other European institutions and organisations. If you are thinking about submitting an application but you aren’t sure what type of training would be eligible or if you have any other questions, please do get in touch by email or call us on 61204/ 68250.

Erasmus funding still available

EurosThis is a reminder that there are 2 weeks left to make your application for Erasmus Staff Mobility Funding!

 

You may recall the blogpost released last week (link) which outlined that we have funding left for academic and Professional Support staff to train and teach at other European institutions and organisations. If you are thinking about submitting an application but you aren’t sure what type of training would be eligible or if you have any other questions, please do get in touch by email or call us on 61204/ 68250.

Erasmus funding still available

EurosThis is a reminder that there are 3 weeks left to make your application for Erasmus Staff Mobility Funding!

 

You may recall the blogpost released last week (link) which outlined that we have funding left for academic and Professional Support staff to train and teach at other European institutions and organisations. If you are thinking about submitting an application but you aren’t sure what type of training would be eligible or if you have any other questions, please do get in touch by email or call us on 61204/ 68250.

Hurry –Erasmus funds available for staff mobility for a limited time only!

EurosThe Fusion Investment Fund has support available for Erasmus Staff Mobility. The fund is available for academic and Professional Support staff (full or part time, providing you have an established BU contract of greater than 1 year) and can be used to support to receive training, to undertake teaching or to invite someone from another EU organisation (excluding UK) to BU. It’s a great scheme and we are pleased to have supported a large number of staff in the past to undertake travel to teach or train.

As all travel must be completed by 30.06.16, this round is the last where you will be guaranteed to have an outcome to enable travel ahead of this date -applications will be accepted until 9am 26.02.16.

 

Teaching: If you want to teach in the EU (many institutions are happy for you to teach in English), BU needs to have an Erasmus agreement with the institution and you can find this out on the Global BU webpages. You just need to undertake a minimum of 8 hours per week and you must be visiting the institution for between 2 days and 2 months. You can also invite one of BU’s Erasmus partners based outside of the UK, but within the EU to teach at BU with this funding.

Training: If you want to undertake training in the EU (this could be work-shadowing a workshop or a bespoke training plan), you can do so at an educational institution, at an enterprise or a range of other organisations – BU does not need to hold an existing agreement with the host institution. You just need to undertake a minimum of 8 hours per week and you must be visiting the institution/ organisation for between 2 days and 2 months.

 

All information can be found on the FIF webpage but if you still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email or call us on 61204/ 68250.

Fusion Investment Fund: Neuroscience has found that emotions are a primary factor in learning to change behaviour: A project to apply and study these findings in many areas of practice (for example, public health, sports science, youth work, neurological rehabilitation, special education, and potentially many others).

 

We were very fortunate to receive Fusion funding for our collaboration between colleagues and students in Health and Social Sciences, Sports Science, and a variety of external practice partners. Essentially the funding will enable us to obtain psychophysiological recording equipment to be used to measure emotional responses in a wide variety of learning and training settings. Below is a screenshot of a typical recording from this kind of equipment.

 

Image-1

 

Huge progress has been made over the last couple of decades in our understanding of emotion and feelings. A compelling conclusion from this enormous body of work is the primacy of emotion in how we operate in the world. Darwin knew this, as did Freud, but many still cling to the notion of the achievements of homo sapiens (“wise man”!) as founded on cognition and rational thinking. For them, feelings are a vestigial remnant of our evolutionary past, not dissimilar to the appendix – no longer having any purpose, and also potentially a threat to our well being.

Affective neuroscience completely opposes this so-called rational approach: emotions and feelings guided our survival in our evolutionary past, but the big news is that they still do! Accumulations of theory and research from fields such as affective neuroscience, positive psychology, and health psychology support this simple but crucial switch in emphasis. Some everyday practice reveals the primacy of emotion, for example emotionally skilled doctors tend to bring about better health outcomes for their patients, children are taught to pay attention to their ‘uh oh’ signs (involuntary emotional responses of sweaty palms and heart beating faster) to keep them safe. So emotions are not the redundant and fickle “appendix” of our behavioural systems, but in fact are their driving force.

Despite an array of pragmatic findings about the way emotions and feelings work, this largely ‘pure’ body of neuroscience has not been directly applied to any particular field of practice. This project aims to correct that omission. The applications of affective science to how we learn and change our behaviour are potentially enormous, as the physiological emotional measures offer a straightforward ‘window’ into the person’s emotional responses.

The Fusion funding enables us to build on one of the applications, through running a study developing a previous pilot. This will be based on a form of training using natural horsemanship that has been demonstrated to be very successful in behaviour change for young offenders and young people who do not engage with school. This is an example of what it looks like (thanks to TheHorseCourse for the picture):

 

TheHorseCourse picture

 

The equipment, and experience gained through carrying out the initial study, will also allow for projects with other practice partners to go ahead, for example, work with people with acquired brain injuries, and children with profound learning disabilities. If any of this interests you, please get in touch with Sid Carter or Emma Kavanagh, and we’d be glad to tell you more.

 

Mission accomplished: fish genetics and population restoration are fused!

Our recent blogs on our fusion-funded co-creation and co-production project on fish population restoration were reporting our strong recent progress as our students began their placements – and all of a sudden, the project is now finished! So what did we discover?

Well, firstly, our students who completed their placements with the University of Insubria in Northern Italy have worked incredibly hard, with excellent reports coming back from our Italian partners (see below). They produced some excellent genetic data to help progress our work. Our placement students based at BU have also been working very hard (albeit in much cooler conditions!) and produced some excellent ecological data.

BU students in Italy

(Above) Our placement students outside the Università degli Studi dell’Insubria with Dr Serena Zaccara (3rd from left) and Caterina Antognazza (2nd left)

Secondly, through our co-creation with stakeholders, students and research collaborators, we have successfully revealed the extent of the disturbance of human activities on fish genetic patterns in the UK. We have revealed clear impacts relating to losses of genetic integrity of fish at the river basin level that we suggest affect their ability to adapt to local conditions – which could be important in the context of climate change. We will be publishing our findings in at least two peer-reviewed papers in the next few months with our students as co-authors.

Thirdly, did we discover how these fish populations could be restored sustainably? Yes, we think we did and we have already passed these on to the relevant authorities at our recent workshop, so these are being considered for implementation.

Finally, we have shown once again that co-creating and co-producing knowledge with our students, stakeholders and international collaborators brings multiple benefits, including enhanced mobility and employment prospects for our students. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience for all!

– Rob Britton, Demetra Andreou & Ben Thomas (all SciTech)

Fusion Investment Fund – is it for you?

Lots of people know about the Fusion Investment Fund (or FIF as it’s affectionately known!). Since 2012 we’ve awarded £2m spread across more than 200 projects. Here are a couple of facts that you might not know though…

Professional Services staff can apply for FIF too

FIF is open to professional services staff as well as academic staff. If you have a great idea which could change the way we work here at BU and move us towards our Fusion goals, then we want to hear from you!

What sort of ideas?

Well, in the past, FIF has supported these projects from Professional Services staff…

Under the Staff mobility and networking strand we have supplied funding for:

  • Visiting US partners to conduct research about / promotion of Summer Schools
  • My Community: Our Heritage workshops at the British Science Festival 2013

Under the Co-creation and co-production strand we have supported:

  • BU Lego Challenge
  • Sharing PAL: Students sharing their experiences of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) to create collaboration, engagement and learning
  • Global Skills: articulating international experiences in academic and professional contexts

Interested? Then do get in touch. See the links at the bottom of this post.

Erasmus for training

Did you know that our Erasmus funding is available for those who want to take training abroad as well as those who want to teach? Every year our academic staff visit European institutions to teach, exchange ideas and build their networks. What’s less well known is that staff (both academic and professional services staff) can apply for funding to go to a European Higher Education institution, or enterprise, to train, learn new techniques, share best practice and widen your horizons.

Erasmus provides up to €1,000 towards your travel and subsistence costs when travelling to another EU member country.

Priority will be given to staff who have not previously received funding from this strand so, if you’ve never considered it before, now might be your chance!

Want to find out more?

Well, hurry! Applications close this Friday at 12 noon. Visit the FIF website for further details and for information about how to apply. Sue Townrow, the FIF Co-ordinator, is available on both campuses this week so, if you’d like to meet, please get in touch. You can also contact us by email with any queries.

FIF – maybe it’s for you after all?!

Fusion Investment Fund open for applications

FIF is open!

Excuse me? You don’t know what FIF is?

FIF stands for the Fusion Investment Fund. It is designed to support staff in developing as researchers, educators and practitioners. Since its inception in 2012, FIF has funded over 200 projects with awards totalling more than £2m.

Want to know more?

Two funding strands are available to staff: Co-creation and co-production strand (CC&CP), and Staff mobility and networking strand (SMN).

For all the policy documents, Fund FAQs and information about applying, please visit the FIF website.

Please direct all initial enquiries to the Fusion Investment Fund Co-ordinator, Sue Townrow, at Fusion Fund.

 

What do Fishbone, Amusement Park and Apigee have in common?

They are all tools for digital storytelling. On Thursday May 14th, the Fusion-funded, inter-faculty BU Datalabs team presented at Interdisciplinary Research Week. Guests from across the University and beyond came to learn about digital storytelling and how visual data stories can better communicate the significance of research findings to policy-makers and the public.

Weathering the rain, the event kicked off with a reflective exercise called ‘Analogue Twitter.’ Participants were asked to write down a story of their research in 140 characters or less. From sports management to midwifery, research stories spanned the disciplines.

To get things going, Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling, Dr. Brad Gyori brought his expertise in interactive media, and his experience as the Head Writer of the Emmy award winning show Talk Soup, to introduce the audience to the many storytelling patterns that have emerged with the rise and innovation of digital platforms. Digital storytelling can range from Fishbone narratives that have one main linear narrative with suggested diversions, to the Amusement Park that offers loosely clustered, different perspectives with no central hub, as we see in Highrise: Out of my Window.

Next up, Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, a Senior Lecturer from the Faculty of Media and Communications, introduced the audience to the power of storytelling with maps and infographics. Drawing from her own tear gas project and others’ expertise, she explored how visuals can act as ‘infobait’, drive curiosity, and interrupt dominant narratives.

After lunch, BU Datalabs project partner Malachy Browne from the social media journalism outfit reportedly shared insights and strategies for using online tools to do investigative research, share your findings, and dig deeper into social data. From apigee for APIs to mine social media data, to wolframalpha that can return the weather from any date in history, Browne made connections between the tools of his trade and the possibilities for expanding our digital methods in academia.

For more information on the BU Datalabs project, email: afeigenbaum@bournemouth.ac.uk  If you would like to get involved, we will be hosting a meeting open to all staff and students in early July. Details to follow.