Introducing Alexandra Pękalski – Research Facilitator


I am Alexandra Pękalski (nee Peirce) and I am the Research Facilitator for the Media school, School of Tourism and The Business School. I am part of the Funding Development Team, which offers support and advice with all pre-award activities, such as horizon scanning, identifying funding opportunities and developing and submitting proposals.

So, the question you undoubtedly have is what is a Research Facilitator and what can they do for me? If you haven’t already glazed over like my friends and family. I am here to support researchers to gain funding for their research ideas/solution to societal problems!

But if you’re still with me, this really is a new and exciting role for the university and along with my three other colleagues we are here to help with the following:

  • To develop and critique your proposal
  • Help bring together research team
  • Write, review and critique text
  • Ensure your proposal meets the funder’s strategic aims
  • Suggest ideas to strengthen the content of your proposal
  • Help you form inter/multidisciplinary research collaborations
  • Facilitate internal peer review

Within my role as Senior RKE Support officer, I have worked across all 6 Schools/Faculties and have knowledge and understanding of a broad range of sponsors including European Commission, AHRC, EPSRC and Leverhulme (to name but a few!). Before the world of Research Administration I held various roles at the University such as, Programme Administrator, Planning & Resources Officer and Project & Finance Manager. I have also worked in the private sector as a Marketing Executive.

I am particularly keen to work on developing and supporting multi/interdisciplinary collaborations within the university and externally, developing a new researchers development framework and working closely with early careers researchers.

Outside of work!

I enjoy eating, not just outside of work, but all the time. Every 10 minutes.  I love food! Due to this love of food I am currently reading a booked called “French Women Don’t Get Fat”.

I am also learning Polish (if only to ensure my daughter doesn’t sail me down the river with my in-laws), am attempting to master rollerblading with the hope Bournemouth will finally get an ice rink, I can join an ice hockey team and somehow get to the winter Olympics (recently inspired by Cool Runnings).

If you’re thinking about developing a bid, and would like some guidance, advice or support, please feel free to get in touch with me or the Funding Development Team.

Introducing Jenny Roddis – Research Facilitator

Hello, I’m Jenny Roddis and I’m one of the Research Facilitators in the Funding Development Team in RKEO. Specifically, I will be working with the Faculty of Science and Technology and the School of Health and Social Care. I’ve been at BU for over ten years, so some of you already know me, but for those who don’t, I’ve previously worked in HSC as Proposal Co-ordinator followed by my role as Senior RKE Officer for all of the Schools and Faculties at various points. The Facilitator post is an exciting new venture for BU, and one I am very pleased to be undertaking.

Together with Emily, Paul and Alex, I will be offering support for bid development, ranging from horizon scanning and identifying the most suitable funder or funding stream for your idea, through to working with you to develop your ideas, identifying potential collaborators and ensuring that applications are of the highest quality. I am also responsible for managing the Grants Academy (new dates coming soon!).

I am currently writing up my Doctorate, which is exploring perspectives on and understanding of life with a long-term condition, specifically thrombophilia and asthma, from the point of view of those affected. The study uses a grounded theory approach and data has been collected through semi-structured interviews. The findings are offering some interesting insights into how people with long-term conditions use information and knowledge about their condition, and other factors which affect life with such a condition.

Obviously the Doctorate leaves little time for relaxing, but my favourite way to procrastinate is to spend time on the beach with my kindle. I’m looking forward to the day I can do this without feeling guilty!

If you’re thinking about developing a bid, and would like some guidance, advice or support, or even just someone to bounce ideas off, please feel free to get in touch.


Emily Cieciura: Research Facilitator – EU and International


I am Emily Cieciura, new Research Facilitator for EU and International bids, as part of the Funding Development Team. I am part time, but job share with Paul Lynch, so there is help and support available throughout the working week. I am here Monday to Wednesday and Paul is available from Wednesday to Friday.

I have been at BU since 2001, in a number of roles. I started out as an Assistant Librarian, then, taking a change in career direction, relocated to the Business School as Co-ordinator for the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) and then moved in what is now the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office at the end of 2009. I have supported a number of schools during my time in this team,  but have spent the last two years supporting Knowledge Transfer Partnerships throughout BU. I enjoyed providing dedicated pre and post award support through this scheme and the relationships developed both within and outside BU. Although I  miss this role, I am very keen to make new connections within the world of EU and International funding. As part of our role, Paul and I are reviewing the EUADS scheme and will shortly be contacting schools to set up the fourth cohort for this BU initiative, which has contributed to a significant increase in bidding to EU funding streams.

I am a Chartered Librarian with both a BA (Hons) - First Class – and MLib in Librarianship. I have worked in a number of sectors including industry, further education, law and higher education. I have also undertaken further studies to enhance my professional skills, including the Advanced Certificate of  Marketing (CIM), the Further & Adult Education Teaching Certificate and  BU’s Postgraduate Certificate in HR. I am currently undertaking the Associate of Research Managers and Administrators’ (ARMA) Certificate in Research Management.  I believe that my varied background allows a rounded approach to my current role.

Outside work, I am a member of my local library’s ‘friends’ group, so keep in touch with my original profession through this volunteering. As part of this, I lead one of Kinson Library’s reading groups and participate in their family history group. I have a wide circle of friends throughout the UK, so enjoy making the most of weekend visits. With two children, I also run an excellent taxi service! In discussing my blog post with Jo Garrad, my line manager, she has challenged me to ‘get more of a life’ as my children are now quite grown up and independent. So, within reason and legality, suggestions are gratefully received….

You can find out more about the FDT Team in Jo’s post and from other blog entries from my colleagues.

So, if you have an idea that might have potential for bidding via an EU scheme or working with international funders, please give me or Paul a call. We look forward to supporting you as you develop your funding portfolio.



Introducing Jo Garrad – your Funding Development Manager

Hello!  My name is Jo Garrad and I’m the Funding Development Manager within the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

I am responsible for overseeing all aspects of the management of pre-award support for external research and knowledge exchange funding applications across the University. My challenge is to increase the quality and quantity of proposals to support the achievement of the University’s research and knowledge exchange KPIs, and to design and implement best practice.

I have extensive knowledge of the external funding process from both sides having previously worked at the UK research councils for over 20 years.  I find that what I’ve picked up and learnt from being involved with academics for so long is beneficial when watching University Challenge.

I have a great group of people who represent the Funding Development Team.  The team comprises of Research Facilitators (including specialism in international and EU funding), Funding Development Officers, and a Funding Development Coordinator.  We can assist with all aspects of developing your proposal to increase your chance of success as we proactively contribute to the growth and development of research activity in schools/faculty.     

We have dedicated Research Facilitators available to develop and critique your proposal.  They can help you identify research teams; write, review and critique text; ensure your proposal meets the funder’s strategic aims; suggest ideas to strengthen the content of your proposal;  help you form inter/multidisciplinary research collaborations; and facilitate internal peer review.  The Facilitators will horizon scan research funders’ strategic agendas and potential future funding opportunities to ensure that we are ready to respond to these opportunities, maximising the Universities chance of success.  Paul Lynch and Emily Cieciura specialise in international and EU funding, whilst Jenny Roddis (contact for HSC and SciTech) and Alex Pekalski (contact for Media, ST and BS) specialise in UK funding. 

We also have Funding Development Officers (FDO) who provide  the school(s)/faculty with a single point of contact for all operational aspects of the pre-award process.  This includes checking eligibility and funder guidance, advising on timescales, costing and pricing, producing pre-award contractual documentation, institutional approval and proposal submission.  So, if you have an idea about what you want to apply for, contact your FDO and we’ll kick start the process.  Ehren Milner is FDO for Business School and the School of Tourism, Jason Edwards is FDO for the School of Health and Social Care, Dianne Goodman is FDO for the Media School, and Kerri Jones and Alice Brown (joining us in December) are FDO’s for SciTech.

In addition, we are responsible for the success of the development initiatives, which includes the Grants Academy, EUADS and BRAD.  You can find out all about these on the research lifecycle pages here.  Our Funding Development Coordinator (soon to be appointed) is responsible for administering these with oversight from the Faciliators.

So, a little bit about me to show that I’m not all work, work, work.  Outside of work I have a keen interest in birds.  I’m never far away from a pair of binoculars and you can find me most weekends walking around the New Forest staring at the sky or a bush and trying not to walk into a pony as I’m not looking where I’m going.  I particularly love all corvids as I find them fascinating.  The sight of a rooks beak and fluffy panteloons brings me great joy.  When I’m not bird watching, you can often find me watching football.  In particular, Swindon Town or more recently the wonderful non-league Bashley FC (is it obvious that I’m not following a team for glory?).  I love holidaying in the UK and am a keen walker (goes hand in hand with bird watching).  I probably spend too much time at beer festivals and like to think of myself as a gin connoisseur.

That’s enough about me.  As soon as you have an idea about what it is that you want to do with research funding or if you want advice on how to kickstart research funding then get in touch with the Funding Development Team.  We’re here to help.

Introducing the BU Research Lifecycle diagram!

I am delighted to introduce you to our Research Lifecycle diagram - a jazzy new interactive part of the BU Research Blog that shows the support and initiatives that are available to staff and students at each stage of the research lifecycle. The information is general enough so as to apply to all disciplines and you can use it to organize and identify the many activities involved in your research. You can explore the Research Lifecycle to find information on how to get started with:

1. Developing your research strategy

2. Developing your proposal

3. The research process

4. Publication and dissemination

5. Impact

RKEO will be adding to the Research Lifecycle to ensure it always contains the most up to date information to support you with planning, organising and undertaking your research.

You can access the diagram from the links in this post or from the menu bar that appears on all screens in the Research Blog.


RKEO – Thank you

Image of Dr Heather HartwellI would like to publically thank, acknowledge and show my gratitude for the help and support from all those on the 4th floor of Melbury House.

We are extremely fortunate at Bournemouth in that we have a team who not only are extremely efficient at what they do but are always willing to help and as a bonus always with a good sense of humour.  Without this assistance and encouragement a wide range of activities from grant bidding, to public engagement, to publishing open access would be far more challenging.

So a big thank you to all, you are much appreciated.

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!

BU Research Related Systems

BU has a number of internal systems that enable research activity and outputs.  To find out what the systems are, what they do and how they interact with each other, visit the ‘BU Research Related Systems’ page, which can be found under ‘Research Toolkit’.

The new page contains all you need to know about:

BRIAN (Bournemouth Research Information And Networking) - BU’s publication management system and how it’s linked to the BU staff profile pages.  If you have any problems accessing the system or you have any queries please contact and the BRIAN team will be happy to help.

BURO (Bournemouth University Research Online) - BU’s institutional repository. If you require help assessing whether an open access version of your work can be contributed to BURO please contact your Subject Library Team or

RED (Research and Enterprise Database) – this is a record of all the research and knowledge exchange activity which takes place at BU.  If you have any problems accessing the system or you have any queries please contact the R&KE Office .

Please note that Shelly Maskell is the new Research Outputs development officer within R&KEO and as part of this role, Shelly now manages BRIAN.

What’s the importance of RKE Ops?

 The Research and Knowledge Exchange Operations (RKE Ops) team are here to help academics apply for external funding.  There are so many funders out there with so many different guidelines that it’s not always easy to find out how, who and what you should be applying to.

Costings of all proposals (including those that we are not the lead on) need to be undertaken by RKE Ops before proposals reach the submission stage.  Costings are undertaken by RKE Ops to ensure that a) they are complete and include full costs, b) that they include indirect and estates costs at current BU rates and c) that they include inflation at the BU rate.  Proposals need to be added to RED in order to track our bidding activity, which is in turn reported on and used for KPI’s, HEBCI and HESA returns; and RED generates the APF (Activity Proposal Form explained below).  The costs need to be added to our costings system, pFACT, for accurate costings and audit purposes. 

In addition to this, Legal Services need to check whether we are agreeing to any terms and conditions in advance of submitting the bid – and, if so, what these are.  We also need to check for any potential financial issues in advance of submission that need to be noted (for example, the risk of exchange rate fluctuations).  The APF (Activity Proposal Form from RED detailing the costs and income) and CAF (Contract Agreement Form from Legal Services detailing any legal or financial risks) need to be signed by a BU authorised signatory before the bid can be submitted; this gives approval for submission. This approval ensures that the appropriate senior staff (DDRE/DoP/Dean/UET members/Board members) are aware of the risks and commitments which arise from us undertaking the project, assuming it were to be awarded.  Some proposals will also have to go through the Quality Approval process, which is processed by RKE Operations.

The RKE Operations team will need to go through all of the above processes before the approval process can be completed.  In addition, an intention to bid form needs to be completed at the beginning to establish what processes an application may need to go through and the timescales required.  If you are intending to bid then please contact the Support Officer for your School to obtain a form (they have been tailored for each School).

The purpose of having a centralised group is that we connect all the necessary processes for academics (Finance, Legal, School signatories) and we’re there to help ensure that the application has the best possible chance of being funded.  If academics are successful then they will receive a contract and that contract has to go through certain processes in order to obtain the money and ensure it goes to the correct place.  Most importantly, if this information is never recorded on RED then it has a knock on effect on several things.  BU receives additional money from HEFCE based on the funding that we have received throughout the year.  Small pots of money add up to large sums and if these are never recorded then we lose out on additional funds from HEFCE.  Also, there are KPI’s with targets for R&KE funding to be obtained by academics in each of the Schools.  By not recording funding this will have a detrimental effect on the Schools targets for meeting the KPI’s.

If you’d like more information on RKEO as a whole then please see this helpful leaflet: R&KEO Leaflet

Are you making the most of your RKEO?

We in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO) have extensive experience and qualifications that you can really utilise to help you with your own research career…and we’re an interesting lot too, so if you don’t know us already get in touch to come and say hello.

To give you a snippet of our the skills and experience we have that you can tap into, you may be interested to know that some of us have PhDs and Masters degrees and have worked as researchers or grant writers ourselves. We have qualifications in subject areas ranging from biology, to international business and management; anthropology to economics and psychology to MBAs. Some of us have clocked up experience working for other universities, research councils, research organisations, banks and libraries before coming to BU, others have worked at BU for many years in a range of Schools and Services and others have worked all over the globe.

In addition to academia, some of us have had former careers as media producers, journal editors and international marketers and indeed some of us still have dual careers as interior designers, bespoke jewellery designers and creators and NLP practitioners. So not only so we have a lot of expertise and experience to help you, we’re also a diverse and fascinating bunch. If you are interested in learning more, then take a look at our RKEO Development Team and Operation Team pages and get in touch with us.


Amazing Research & Knowledge Exchange Office secondment opportunity

I am delighted to announce a 6 month secondment opportunity to work in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO). This is a fantastic opportunity for one BU staff member to develop key skills in research. Not only is our team friendly, lively and active, we are also a group of very qualified and experienced people. Our team comprises of many experts in the field of research administration, with many of RKEO holding Masters degrees and PhDs, having been employed as researchers previously or worked at Research Councils and other funding organisations.

This role is based within the Development team of RKEO and the innovative work we do has been recognised externally. We have won a HEIST Best Internal Communication Campaign for our fantastic blog and been shortlisted for a Times Higher Outstanding Research Management Team and our successful initiatives have seen us win competitions at ARMA and ARMS we have been invited to present our innovative initiatives at national and international conferences.

Working in research management as part of this secondment will allow you to gain insight into how the world of research funding actually works. You will gain specialist expertise in finding funding, writing a fantastic proposal, undertaking training in research skills, becoming an expert in EU funding and maximising essential internal systems such as BRIAN. If you are currently employed as an academic, these skills will be invaluable when you return to your post after the 6 months. Working centrally also will provide valuable insights into the strategy at BU and will offer the opportunity for anyone working in a school, to gain a wider perspective. If you currently work within administration at BU, being part of our dynamic, high performing team who manage research at BU is a great opportunity and many of the skills you will learn can be transferred into your current role.

A full Job Description and further details on this post can be read on the BU jobs webpage and I will be happy to answer any questions by email or phone (61538). The deadline for applications is 17.01.13 so don’t delay and submit your application now!

BU Research Highlights of 2011

Posted in BU research by Susan Dowdle

Well we’re in to the second month of 2012 and 2011 already seems like a dim and distant memory!  But before it all gets too hazy we thought we would look back on 2011 and some of the highlights of research at BU.

1. Set up of the new Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO)

The creation of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office back in September 2011 brought together similar departments under the academic leadership of Prof Matthew Bennett, PVC.  The Graduate School, Research Development Unit, CRE Operations (now renamed RKE Operations), Centre for Entrepenurship and the new Business Engagement Unit.  The blog post announcing the launch contains more information.

The Research Development Unit had a successful year, winning the poster competition at the annual ARMA conference and travelling to Sydney to present a paper on business partnering at the ARMS Conference, hosted by the Australian professional body for research administrators. The R&KEO (previously CRE) was also shortlisted for the THE Leadership and Management Awards 2011 in the Outstanding Research Management category.

2. BU research features in Big Ideas for the Future report

Heather Hartwell and Alan Fyall featured in the joint Research Council and UUK report Big Ideas for the Future for their work linking tourism and public health.  The report explores the excellent research taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time.  Heather reported in a blog post that the report had generated substantial interest outside the university and she hopes to be able to capitalise on that.

3. Systems investment

2011 saw investment in the R&E systems.  RED – the R&E database which is a record of all externally funded research activity, it now includes a link to the live accounts system so that you can view a quick overview of your project budget.  The university also invested in pFACT the industry standard costing tool to assist with FEC for projects.

4. Creation of the BU Research Blog

 The BU Research Blog was launched in March 2011 as a way to communicate research information interally with academic staff and also for staff to be able to share their work and ideas with each other.  Each of the BU Research Themes has an area on the research blog where staff can share ideas.

We have also found that the research blog has generated interest outside BU, both locally and across the world.  Julie Northam wrote a blog post on the google analytics which show where people have accessed the sited from geographically.  So it is another way of generating interest in your work.

5. HEIF 5 strategy

BU’s HEIF strategy was approved in September 2011, securing approximately £700k of funding per year.  This year the funding is being used for a small fusion fund open to all staff to apply for (closing 13 January 2012), the innovation themes which schools nominated over the summer, investment in public engagement, and the creation of a business engagement unit.  Matthew Bennett’s blog post on the HEIF strategy containing more detail is available here.

6. Internal funding schemes

In 2011 there were several internal funding schemes launched to staff for the first time.  There is the small grants scheme which is intended to give staff a small pot of money to undertake pilot research work.  The EU networking fund is to help staff build contacts in europe with the potential of finding european funding collaborators.  The open access publication fund provides staff with the funds they need to publish in journals with open access options.  More details of all schemes available and the application forms can be found on the blog.

7. Internal Peer Review (RPRS)

In 2011 the RPRS was strengthened by the appointment of Caroline O’Kane.  Caroline is the first point of contact when you have a draft application that you would like to put to peer review.  Caroline will review the draft from a lay person perspective and provide feedback on structure, style and adherence to the funder requirements.  The draft will also be passed to two academic colleagues (which you can nominate) for review and feedback.  Caroline is working hard to make the service helpful and constructive, and has seen an increase in the number of bids being submitted to RPRS.

8. AHRC Block Grant Success for MS and ApSci

The first students funded by this AHRC grant started in October.  The Media School and the School of Applied Sciences were successful with their bid for AHRC studentship funding.  The money will see several masters and phd students fully funded over the next 5 years.

9. Southern Region REF Event

Back in May the Research Development Unit hosted a 2 day REF event which was open to all BU staff and also external universities in the south of England (for the first part).  Speakers from HEFCE and the impact pilot panel attended giving staff an understanding of REF and an insight into how impact would be interpreted.  The event was a huge sucess with 150 delegates from 39 institutions attending.  A report of the day can be found on the blog.

To follow on from this event another REF event is being held on 22nd February, all panels in the REF will be represented so this is an excellent opportunity to ask them any questions you have about the panel criteria.  More information is available here.

10. EU Success and strengthening of EU support at BU

 In 2011 there has been success for BU staff with european funding.  Professor Rudy Gozlan was awarded Erasmus Mundas funding which involves international students studying at BU as part of their degree; Rudy was also successful with Marie Curie funding, and his european fellow started working at the university in the autumn.

There has been an increase in the support available for staff considering applying for EU funding with the creation of an EU Officer role (Dr Corrina Dickson) in the RDU.

Launch of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office

Following the announcement by the Vice Chancellor in August 2011 that CRE would move from Finance & Commercial Services I am delighted today to formally launch the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (R&KEO) with the remit of supporting all research and knowledge exchange (formally enterprise) activity at BU.

Under the new arrangements our existing research and knowledge exchange units will report directly to me forming a collection of discrete, but cognate elements.  Administrative support for the new R&KEO will be based in the Research Development Unit working in support of all the different teams. An overview of the status of each team is provided below.

Research Development Unit – This will continue to be led by Julie Northam and has been expanded to also include knowledge exchange development. Two new posts will be advertised later this month: a research development officer to focus specifically on research ethics, governance and conduct, and a commercialisation and KTP officer.

RKE Operations – Previously CRE Operations, this will continue to be led by Julia Taylor.  We are currently reviewing the R&KE processes and systems, with a view to improving the already excellent service delivered by this team over the next 3-6 months.

Business Engagement Unit – This is a new unit to be established as part of the HEIF-5 strategy.  We will soon advertise for a Business Engagement Leader, followed by four Business Engagement Consultants each related to the investment themes set out in the HEIF-5 Strategy.  It is hoped this team will be established from January 2012 and will work closely with the BU Foundation in developing BU as Knowledge Broker.

Graduate School – Professor Tiantian Zhang joins BU as the Head of the Graduate School in January 2012 when we will formally re-launch the Graduate School.  Until then Fiona Knight, and the School PGR administrators are keeping everything running smoothly.

DM Centre for Entrepreneurship – The CfE is led by Professor Dean Patton and has recently moved into the Business Engagement Centreof the 6th floor of the EBC and currently in the process of seeking potential tenants initially around the two specific themes as set out in the HEIF-5 Strategy, namely: (1) digital and creative; and (2) tourism & leisure.

You can access a structure diagram of the new R&KEO here: R&KEO structure diagram

I will ensure future developments with the R&KEO are announced regularly via the BU Research Blog.

Matthew Bennett

Subscribe to receive the Daily Digest email