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The Month in Research: March 2024

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The Month in Research

The Month in Research is our monthly round-up sharing research and knowledge exchange successes from across the previous month, showcasing the amazing work taking place across BU.

Your achievements

Thank you to everyone who has put forward their achievements, or those of colleagues, this month.

Funding

 Congratulations to all those who have had funding for research and knowledge exchange projects and activities awarded in January. Highlights include:

  • Dr Catherine Talbot (Faculty of Science and Technology) has been awarded c.£25,000 from the ESRC for their project EquaDem Network Plus: A national network on addressing inequalities in dementia diagnosis and care and building capacity, in partnership with Liverpool University (lead institution).
  • Dr Suelen Carls (Faculty of Media and Communication) has been awarded c.£25,000 by the Leverhulme Trust for their project International Business and Intellectual Property Rights in the Latin American Institutional Perspective
  • Professor Carol Clark (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences) has been awarded c.£2.6 million by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for their project INSIGHT-BU, in partnership with University of the West of England (lead institution).
  • Several BU researchers have received c.£10,000 from the BA/Leverhulme Trust Small Grants scheme:

Dr Anna Metzger (Faculty of Science and Technology) for their project Haptic Virtual Materials

–  Dr Hyun-Joo Lim (Faculty of Health and Social Sciences) for their project How effective are menopause policies at universities in England

–  Dr Andrew M’Manga (Faculty of Science and Technology) for their project Investigating Security and Privacy Awareness Requirements for UK International Students New to Contactless Payments

–  Dr Matteo Toscani (Faculty of Science and Technology) for their project Modelling peripheral vision in natural scenes

–  Dr Alejandro Estudillo for their project Maximising the impact of “Achieving Best Evidence” interviews on face composite construction.

Publications

Congratulations to all those who have had work published across the last month. Below is a selection of publications from throughout March:

Content for The Month in Research has been collected using the research and knowledge exchange database (RED), the Bournemouth University Research Online (BURO) repository and submissions via The Month in Research online form. It is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list. All information is correct as of 28.3.24.

Please use The Month in Research online form to share your highlights and achievements, or those of colleagues, for the next monthly round-up.

RKEDF April digest – training opportunities for YOU!

We’re excited to share some great RKEDF training opportunities coming up in April 2024.  

Click on the titles to find further details and book your place. Details of an ECRN Funding call can also be found at the end…… 

 Online RSA Drop-In meeting 

Wednesday 3rd April, 10:30-11:00, Online 

Meet your RSA reps, hear updates on how BU is implementing the Research Concordat and give feedback or raise concerns that will help to develop and support the research community at BU. 

 Principal Investigation                                                                    

Wednesday 10th April, 14:00-15:00 at Talbot Campus 

This session is aimed at any researcher who is, who plans to be, a Principal Investigator for an externally funded research or knowledge exchange project. 

Introduction to RED – The Research & Enterprise Database 

Thursday 11th April, 10:00-10:30 Online 

An overview of the Research & Enterprise Database and how to use RED to identify your supporting pre and post award officers. 

Engaging with Schools & young people 

Tuesday 16th April, 10:00-11:00, online 

Engaging young people with the world of research can be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. You can benefit from the opportunity to develop and put into practice your skills, build confidence and widen your research horizons. 

 RDS Academic & Researcher Induction 

Wednesday 24th April, 09:30-11:00 Online 

This event provides an overview of all the practical information staff need to begin developing their research plans at BU, using both internal and external networks; to develop and disseminate research outcomes; and maximising the available funding opportunities. 

 Impress the Press: How to talk to Journalists 

Wednesday 24th April, 14:00 – 16:00 at Talbot Campus 

A practical session covering tips and techniques for speaking with broadcast media (TV and radio) followed by the chance to put it into practice through mock interviews.  No previous experience is necessary. 

 Introduction to BRIAN 

Monday 29th April, 10.00-11.00 at Talbot Campus 

This interactive workshop is an introductory session to BRIAN (Bournemouth Research Information And Networking), BU’s publication management system.  It is aimed at those who are new to BU or have not updated their staff profile for a while.  Attendees will need to bring their laptop. 

 Research Council Development Scheme (RCDS) 

RDS is continuing with the RCDS through April 2024 

The RCDS is a coordinated, targeted set of activities designed to inspire and equip BU researchers to achieve greater success with Research Council funding. Attendees have been nominated by their Head of Department 

 ECRN Funding Call NOW OPEN 

The RKEDF and BU ECRN are delighted to offer funding (up to £500) to organise an event, roundtable, meeting, training, or workshop in support of research at BU. 

This funding supports BU Early Career Researcher Network members to organise and facilitate an event that can be thematic, subject/discipline based, foster community engagement, knowledge exchange or networking and does the following; 

–             Brings ECRs and others together to share ideas, knowledge and learning. 

–             Provides a space for intellectual discussion. 

–             Helps to facilitate collaboration and future opportunities. 

–             Enables an opportunity for networking. 

For all the details, click on the title above – deadline for submission is Friday 26th April 2024 

 For any further information, please contact RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk 

Please, help us to avoid any waste of resources; make sure you can attend or cancel your booking ahead of the session. 

RKEDF Workshop: Impress the Press: How to talk to Journalists – Wednesday 24 April 2-4pm

A practical session covering tips and techniques for speaking with broadcast media (TV and radio) followed by the chance to put it into practice through mock interviews.

This session is open to all academic staff with an interest in engaging with the media. No previous experience is necessary.

By the end of the session, attendees will:

  • Have a better understanding of communicating their work with the media
  • Understand the difference between TV and radio interviews and what is required
  • Feel confident in undertaking media interviews and dealing with difficult questions

Facilitated by: Emma Matthews – Research Communications Adviser & Stephen Bates – Senior Press Officer

Wednesday 24 April, 2-4pm

Talbot Campus

Book your place here under ‘Impress the Press: How to talk to Journalists – 16/04/2024’ in the drop-down menu

RKEDF Workshop: Engaging with Schools & young people – Tuesday 16 April 10-11am

Book your place here – under “Impact Essentials: Engaging with Schools and young people – 16/04/2024” in the drop-down menu

BU ECRN Funding call NOW OPEN

The RKEDF and BU ECRN are delighted to offer funding (up to £500) to organise an event, roundtable, meeting, training, or workshop in support of research at BU.

This funding supports BU Early Career Researcher Network members to organise and facilitate an event that can be thematic, subject/discipline based, foster community engagement, knowledge exchange or networking and does the following;

–             Brings ECRs and others together to share ideas, knowledge and learning.

–             Provides a space for intellectual discussion.

–             Helps to facilitate collaboration and future opportunities.

–             Enables an opportunity for networking.

– Please note all requests are subject to approval by the RKDEF Team and must be made at least 3 weeks in advance of the event date. No reimbursements for payments will be made without prior authorisation from the team.

– All expenses must be paid by the end of the BU financial year (July 2024)

– You will need to receive written confirmation from RKDEF that your request has been successful before you can proceed with organising the event. 

– The event cannot have taken place prior to submitting your application.

Eligible costs

  • Event space
  • Travel bursaries for attendees
  • Catering and refreshments (Tea, Coffee, Water, Light snacks, Lunch)
  • Av (projector, screen, laptop, tech support on the day, microphones)
  • Printing costs (meeting handouts)
  • Speaker fee (up to £500)

Ineligible Costs

  • Software or hardware.
  • International event, speaker, or travel costs.
  • Costs for dependants or spouses to attend events.
  • Research costs.

How to apply:

Please download and complete all sections of the EOI for BU ECRN Funding (500 words max per section) and email your completed application to: RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk by 26th April 2024. Successful applicants will be notified by 1st May 2024.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact BU ECRN Academic Leads Ann Hemingway (aheming@bournemouth.ac.uk) and Sam Goodman (sgoodman@bournemouth.ac.uk) or RKDEF Advisor Joelle Fallows (jfallows@bournemouth.ac.uk).

The Fog of Streaming Wars

In his recent article published in The Conversation, Prof. John Oliver provides a provocative thought piece that describes the current market dynamics of subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming firms and an outlook on the industry’s future direction.

He notes that the industry is currently characterized by an oversupply of service providers which has led to aggressive competitive pricing and a squeezing of profit margins. He goes on to conclude that the weaker players, those with less efficient operations or inferior offerings, are starting to struggle and an ‘industry shakeout’ is inevitable.

You can access the article at: https://theconversation.com/in-the-fog-of-the-video-streaming-wars-job-losses-and-business-closures-are-imminent-225829

BU Professor gives keynote address on authorial careers at Milan Conference

This Monday and Tuesday Professor Hywel Dix travelled to the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan to give the keynote at a conference entitled ‘Auctor in Fabula: Autofiction and Authorial Traces in Literature, Drama and Audiovisual Drama.’ This bilingual English and Italian event with simultaneous translation explored ways in which artists and writers in a range of different media have drawn on their own life stories in their creative work, and with what effects. Dix’s keynote ‘Fictions of Self-retrospect: Constructing the Narratives of Authorial Careers’ contributes to theoretical research into ideas of ‘the author’ by arguing that our understanding of authorial careers has the potential to be enhanced by Career Construction Theory, a form of vocational guidance counselling that uses storytelling to enable people to construct narratives of their vocational lives. The central tenet of this practice is that at moments of transition people write their career narrative, becoming in the process both its author and lead protagonist. Since people turn to vocational guidance during periods of uncertainty or change, this uncertainty has been compared to the experience of writer’s block. Narrating their life story allows them to see themselves in their story in order to plot the next chapter in it and therefore overcome that block. The paper explored what happens when these ideas are applied to the work of people who are not just metaphorically but also literally authors of their life stories, i.e. empirical authors. It suggests that Career Construction Theory can be seen as a new theory of authorship when it is applied in this way and that as such, it supplies a conceptual paradigm for identifying the different components that compose an overall authorial career in the changing cultural conditions of today’s world.

REF2029 Open Access Policy Consultation is now open

Last week, the four UK higher education funding bodies launched a consultation on the proposed Open Access Policy for REF2029.

Proposed changes from the REF2021 policy include an open access requirement for longform publications, the shortening of permittable embargo periods for journal articles and changes to article deposit and licensing requirements. More details on the proposed policy can be found here: https://www.ref.ac.uk/guidance/ref-2029-open-access-policy-consultation/

BU will be submitting an institutional response to the consultation, however anyone with an interest in open access publishing and what this might mean in relation to the REF is also invited to respond as an individual. You can respond to the consultation on the UKRI engagement hub.

The consultation closes on Monday 17 June 2024 and the REF team intends to publish the final REF2029 Open Access Policy in summer/autumn 2024.

Editorial accepted by Frontiers in Public Health

As part of the special issue in Frontiers in Public Health on ‘Evidence-based approaches in Aging and Public Health’ the guest editors included 15 academic papers.  These 15 contributions to the Special Issue were introduced in placed in perspective in our editorial ‘Editorial: Evidence-based approaches in Aging and Public Health[1] which was accepted for publication two days ago.   The guest editors included two Visiting Faculty to FHSS: Prof. Padam Simkhada and Dr. Brijesh Sathian.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health (CMWH)

Reference:

  1. Sathian, B., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Kabir, R., Al Hamad, H. (2024) Editorial: Evidence-based approaches in Aging and Public Health, Frontier in Public Health 12 2024 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2024.1391432

The Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Round 10

The next round of the Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard scheme will open soon. The University can submit up to 4 application. We will be running a university Expression of Interest (EOI) process to select applicants to the scheme.

The Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard scheme offers £125,000 funding over 2 years towards research costs and professional development. The scheme is targeted at those in the early stages of their first independent research position and have not yet been in receipt of substantial research funding. Applications are encouraged from across the biomedical field from molecular, cellular and structural biology to anatomical, physiological, psychological, epidemiological and public health research areas.

Timeline

Internal Expression of Interest deadline: Friday 19th April noon. EOIs should include the completed form and an up-to-date CV (including publications, previous research funding and employment history)

Candidates Informed of Outcome: Wednesday 24th April.

BU deadline to nominate Candidates to AMS: Friday 26 April noon

AMS Deadline for nominated applicants: Open 30th April and close 5th June.

The EOI form can be found here I:\RDS\Public\AMS Springboard.

Please contact Kate Percival (kpercival@bournemouth.ac.uk) if you would like to submit an EOI.

Dementia Care and the dog cafe

Caroline and Catherine from the Ageing & Dementia Research Centre attended the March dog café at the Potteries Care Home in Poole, Caroline took along her Double Doodle dog called Bailey. It happened to be the same week that Crufts had been on the TV, so it was a special Crufts themed dog cafe. It proved to be the most popular turn out so far with about 15 dogs of all shapes and sizes in attendance – even a human dressed up as a dog! It was lovely to see the ladies from Waggy Tails dog rescue charity and three of their dogs.

The Crufts special dog show included a dog agility course and 3 prize categories
which were:

  1. Best waggy tail
  2. Best in show
  3. Fastest time for the agility course

It proved to be popular with both care home residents and the community alike. Both Caroline and Catherine highly enjoyed the event and formed good contacts to explore further opportunities to develop research around the benefits of animals in dementia care.

Here are a few photos from the event.

International midwifery collaboration on early labour

Academics from the Centre for Midwifery and Women’s Health (CMWH) traveled to Winterhur, Switzerland with the Swiss European Mobility Programme.

The education and research programme, organised by the team at Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (Zurich University of Applied Sciences), involved a workshop with midwives from across Europe ( Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany) discussing midwife-led care.

Professor Vanora Hundley and Dr Dominique Mylod were also invited to give a lecture on the latent phase / early labour as part of the final Gebstart conference. They presented recently published research that was included in thespecial issue in Women & Birth at the end of last year.

This meeting and collaboration with colleagues from across Europe builds on the work of the International Early Labour Research Group.

 

Relevant papers:

Mylod DC,  Hundley V, Way S, Clark C (2023) Can a birth ball reduce pain perception for women at low obstetric risk in the latent phase of labour? The Ball Assisted Latent Labour (BALL) randomised controlled trial. Women & Birth https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2023.11.008 

Grylka-Baeschlin S, Hundley V, Cheyne H et al (2023) Early labour: an under-recognised opportunity for improving the experiences of women, families and maternity professionals Women & Birth https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2023.09.004  

HE policy update no 8 25th March 2024

Some more optimistic takes on what might be in the party manifestos for HE: the sort of commitments being asked for seem somewhat optimistic: later in this update I look at some detailed proposals on maintenance finance, a call to scrap the REF (which might have more take-up in the manifestos), the KEF via a HE- BCI survey (might someone suggest scrapping the KEP?), apprenticeship results are out and numbers on international education.  Amongst all that I also look at a speech from Susan Lapworth.

Manifesto for HE

You’ve seen the UUK one, here is the one from MillionPlus. (Policy update from February: The UUK manifesto sets out a wish list for the sector.  It all looks very expensive and so while ambitious, unlikely to be replicated in anyone’s actual manifesto.  We can expect to see more of these over the next few months. Research Professional have the story here.)

Scrap REF and save money

Iain Mansfield says that Labour should ‘scrap REF and save half a billion’, Research Professional reports.  Not because there is any problem with a metric for research: just a strong feeling that it shouldn’t include a metric for environment and culture. RP add: Speaking at Research Professional News live last week, Labour’s shadow science minister, Chi Onwurah, said she was “concerned about some of the bureaucracy associated with the REF” and stopped short of committing to retaining it in its current form. I don’t think that means stopping the culture and environment part, but it is hard to know.  These debates will run for a while.

HE-BCI review

The HE-BCI survey is used in the Knowledge Exchange Framework.  Just how much difference the KEF makes to anything and how interested anyone except the sector really is in it, is still, for me, an open question that I have asked since KEF was just a glint in Jo Johnson’s eye (the third leg of the HE stool etc…).  Of course if they started using KEF to allocate HEIF it would matter a lot more, but the KEF data doesn’t really lend itself to that.  As a reminder, it uses a different comparison group (clusters) to everything else, three of its “perspectives” are self-assessed and all it tells you is whether engagement with the perspective is deemed to be low, medium or high.  In a highly technical presentation format.

But as the (only real) metrics behind the (incomprehensible) KEF wheels (just take a look here and see what you learn), HE-BCI data does have some influence.  And HESA did a survey on some bits of it which closed in January.  There will be another consultation at some point.

The regulator speaks

It is always interesting to hear or read a speech by the head of the OfS, so here is one.

After a friendly introduction telling the Association of Colleges what good work their members do, it is straight in on quality:

  • Although, of course, not every college higher education student is in that position, the college sector should collectively be very proud that so many who are get the guidance and support they need in further education settings.
  • But, sadly, we know that in too many parts of the system, students’ interests are not always being well-served
  • …[Students] have serious questions about:
    • the amount of teaching they receive,
    • the frequency and usefulness of feedback provided to them, and
    • the level of support, both academic and pastoral, they can access.

Talking about the ongoing quality assessments, there are some changes coming:

  • Updating some of the language we use. So we might talk more about assessments or compliance assessments, rather than investigations.
  • We think there’s scope for additional training for assessment teams, for example, focusing on welfare to ensure staff are appropriately supported during visits and the wider process.
  • And we know the sector would like us to publish more information about how institutions are selected for assessment and how the process unfolds from there

A defensive approach to the big effort on freedom of speech?  You decide

  • Defining more clearly and coherently the student interest will also support another area where our regulation is developing: freedom of speech and academic freedom.
  • As that work has progressed, we have sometimes been told, including by some students, that students do not consider this a priority. But we know that the National Student Survey found that one in seven students in England felt unable to freely express their views.
  • … the collective act of debate and dissection of ideas, old and new, is what allows us to be confident that what and how students are learning represents the best knowledge we currently have. If students don’t recognise this, we need to understand why. Is it an artefact of who speaks loudest in our current systems? Or that cost-of-living worries and the associated challenges have reduced the scope for considering these broader issues? Or that students today have a fundamentally different conception of what freedom of speech and academic freedom ought to entail?

And some new areas of focus:

  • For example, although access to accommodation appears in our Equality of Opportunity Risk Register, we’ve been cautious about stepping into that arena in regulatory terms. But it is clear that students are increasingly concerned about the cost, quality and uneven availability of accommodation for their studies. It’s the most frequently mentioned issue in discussions with students in my visits to institutions.
  • Likewise, while we’ve taken steps to encourage stronger working links between those we regulate and the organisations that provide health services to students, particularly to support their mental health, we’re not the regulator of those services, and much of the most critical care can’t be provided by universities and colleges directly…. we are open to the view that, as a regulator framed and formed in relation to the interests of students, it may fall to us to take action, or to seek to better co-ordinate the activity of others, or to just talk about them because they matter to students.

And there is a new strategy consultation coming for the OfS.

Apprenticeships

Achievements rate update: a update published by the DfE. The Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon has written an open letter to the apprenticeship sector celebrating the latest achievement rates and setting out some developments.

While the government are very keen to encourage more apprenticeships, there is a stern approach to providers here: not dissimilar to the rhetoric on HE, there will be student number controls linked to quality as defined by outcomes.  While “training not being as good as hoped” is a factor in the list above, as is “poor organisation” of the programme, that is in the context of all the other reasons linked to employers and jobs.  However, the government can’t do much about those, and is not in the business of discouraging employers from participating.  But this will put more pressure on providers who are already finding apprenticeships bureaucratic and hard and expensive to deliver.

It’s not putting them off just yet, though.  This update from the OfS on the second wave of funding for apprenticeships highlights how many providers are really going for it.  Degree apprenticeships funding competition: Funding allocated to wave 2 projects (officeforstudents.org.uk)

Anyway, the ideas for future development in the Minister’s letter are:

  • Apprenticeship Standards. IfATE will be looking closely at apprenticeship standards that are not producing good outcomes for employers or the economy – especially where they are underused or too many learners are dropping out without completing – and speed up action to either improve them or remove them where it is clear the apprenticeship standard is not working.
  • Quality of Training. We know that the quality of training is a major factor in whether apprentices complete. Through the apprenticeship accountability framework, we have assessed provider performance against a range of measures to give an overall picture of their quality of delivery. ….. In future performance assessments, we will not hesitate to robustly challenge providers showing insufficient improvement. We will deploy appropriate support, where providers demonstrate a capacity to improve in a timely manner, and we will continue to consider factors outside of providers’ control, where these can be evidenced. However, we will also use contractual measures including potential limitations on growth, stopping delivery of standards with low apprenticeship achievement rates and removal from the market where this is necessary to protect apprentices and employers and ensure they have access to high quality training. Concurrently we will also seek to enrich the market by making it easier to enter for providers that can deliver to our priorities – for example to increase participation from SMEs and young people.
  • Employer improvement. We now want to give employers better access to information and data to help manage their own apprenticeship programme and benchmark against others to help drive up improvements across the programme. We will test options for the information we could use to support this and work with Top 100 employers to identify how to make the information available. This will be in addition to the support offered to employers through resources, best practice sharing, and events to support self-improvement.
  • End-Point Assessment. We continually review the assessment process for apprenticeships to make sure it is proportionate, supports achievement and is fit for the future. Working with IfATE, the providers engaged with the Expert Provider pilot and the FE Funding Simplification pilot, we will identify further options to improve the assessment model, making it more efficient for the whole sector…
  • Expert Provider Pilot and SME engagement. … As a result of the pilot we are developing a new, simple one step approval for SMEs engaging with apprenticeships for the first time. This new flexibility is being developed with colleges and training providers and will be available later this year. …

Student finance

Oh dear, another negative story about student debt that will discourage potential applicants (and as always, their parents).  This time it is the BBC who revealed that the UK’s highest student debt was £231k.  Quite how they managed to rack up that much is unclear: by doing lots of courses, it seems (although surely there are limits on that – apparently there are exceptions to those rules).  The highest level of interest accumulated was around £54,050.  The student interviewed is a doctor: the length of medical programmes means that, along with vets and dentists, doctors tend to accumulate the highest student loans.

The Sutton Trust have published a report on reforming student maintenance ahead of the general election.

There are suggestions about how to address the challenges.

  • The analysis covers three potential systems, all of which would increase the amount of maintenance students would have available to them day to day, rising from the current level of £9,978 to £11,400. This is the level that recent Sutton Trust research has found is the median spending on essentials for students living away from home outside of London for 9 months of the year,… This would also set maintenance support at a similar level to what they would receive if paid the National Living Wage while studying, a method the Diamond Review in Wales used to set maintenance levels.

Scenarios include

  • Scenario 1 – Increasing overall maintenance levels, with equal loans for all students and maintenance grants making up the difference.
  • Scenario 2 – Increasing overall maintenance levels, with variable loans and with maintenance grants focused on the poorest students.
  • Scenario 3 – Increasing overall maintenance levels by means-tested loans only.

The value of international education

The government has issued 2021 data on UK revenue from education related exports and transnational education activity.

David Kernohan from Wonkhe has some analysis, always worth checking out for the nuances, including:

  • 2021 was a long time ago
  • It’s also notable that all these figures are based on exports only – there is no adjustment at all for costs incurred in delivering a service overseas.
  • pathway provider income (programmes that help to prepare overseas students for study at a UK university) is estimated based on a survey of six large providers (CEG, INTO, Kaplan, Navitas, Oxford International, Study Group) conducted by one of the participants (Kaplan)

Research Professional also has an article.

 

THE UK PRODUCTIVITY PARADOX PUZZLE lecture by BU Economist Dr Peter Howard-Jones

Dr Peter Howard-Jones delivers an AFE BUBS research seminar with the title “The United Kingdom Productivity Paradox: Myth or Reality,” at 2.00-3.15pm, Tuesday 26 March, Bournemouth Gateway Building 113 (first floor), Lansdowne, Bournemouth University.

Abstract
“Whilst the financial crisis was a catastrophic event in the global economy and in particular the UK with its pre-eminent banking sector, there are historical key events that may hold THE KEY TO CURRENT TRENDS TO UK PRODUCTIVITY AND THE LABOUR MARKET. The infrastructure changes in the 1980’s, poor regulation of the financial sector from 1986 to the present day, the 30 years experiment in private finance initiatives and the privatisation of national infrastructure now in the hands of foreign investors, may well be more important catalysts than the financial crisis itself. Following on from the financial crash came Brexit wielding a further blow to an economy already in crisis with key infrastructure under significant pressure as politicians from all parties claimed the solution lies in economic growth. Whilst this is a truism this relies on investment spending and the United Kingdom’s record in both public and private sectors is lamentable. Couple this with increasing inequality and reducing social mobility and a pattern of economic and societal decline is established. The reality lies in a new paradigm which needs introducing into the economic lexicon which includes human and social capital. THE GOAL OF IMPROVING UK PRODUCTIVITY IN THE LABOUR MARKET lies in a sense of place (regionalisation) and the creation of distributive mechanisms that provide a platform for WORKFORCE INCENTIVISATION and in turn affordable GOVERNMENT REVENUE collection.”

“The abstract above represents some productivity research that I did some years ago (at BU) which was published in The Journal of Economic Perspectives. What I want at the seminar is a robust discussion about an extension to this work which Conor and I are discussing involving the whole gamut of the UK economy and the effect on productivity. So, some key words in no particular order: Neoliberalism, populism, inequality, income distribution, taxation, infrastructure, investment, social capital, human capital, and the elephant in the room or not as is the case for the two main political parties, Brexit. Please feel free to come with your own key words.” Dr Peter Howard-Jones.

Dr Peter Howard-Jones recognised long-term contributions at BU are as: an ECR, a research award (2021) links with LSE, institutional economist, inspiring historical economics context, exceptional analytical thinking; lectures and highly engaging facilitative debating seminars, who is contactable about or after this lecture or with ideas on the above stated discussion on ‘an extension to this work’ research. Email phowardjones@bournemouth.ac.uk

RSVP organiser (if not done so) Professor Davide Parrilli
dparrilli@bournemouth.ac.uk
M. Davide Parrilli, PhD (B’ham), MPhil (Sussex), SFHEA, FeRSA
Professor of Regional Economic Development
BUBS PhD Programme Coordinator
BUBS Output Champion
Professorial Member of BU Senate
Bournemouth University Business School
AACSB Accredited; SBC Accredited; EFMD Member
& Editorial Board/AE of “European Planning Studies”

Note: A welcome independent posting/photo by FV for AFE BUBS

Economic Turbulent Times especially for SME Firms’ Productivity from Eastern Europe Talks by BU EACES member

‘Globalisation, integration, cooperation – what is at stake in the current turbulent times? The title of the 6th Conference in cooperation with the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies 22-23 March 2024 hosted in South-East Europe, Szeged University.’ An EACES member from Bournemouth University, joined in via the host hybrid liaison of an ‘economic constraints online’ distance free option in parts recorded. This conference was a cauldron of many research talks, many directly from SE Europe – within ‘geo-economic fragmenting’ (EACES terminology), presenting multi-factorial pathways for alternative futures.

The conference keynote plenary presentations were by leading European research institutes: Marzenna Anna Weresa, Professor of Economics (Warsaw School of Economics): European Competitiveness in Turbulent Times: Focus on Innovation. Nicolaas Stijn Groenendijk, Professor of Public Policy, Organisation and Innovation (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences): Global resources and the EU’s strategic autonomy role (EU, he stated is small relating to global spaces which should be protected not controlled: satellites, security economics, governance and environment including outer space, cyberspace, weapons, instruments in interplay with geo-economics geopolitics).”

Professor Weresa, Poland, emphasised the importance of using “innovative competitiveness to survive turbulence changing behaviours, attitudes, experimenting” with the “ability to improve productivity through use of relational capital, resources; ability to create evolving new relationships (collaborations, alliances) in providing a stable framework for multidimensional co-operation in arenas of social, ecological, economic, that must ultimately lead to sustainability, building human and social capital to transform labour market and environment with need of competitiveness support from new policies to meet the challenges in 20th anniversary year of EU integration in this zone.”

FOR INTRIGUED READERS, MORE RARE INSIGHTS: Demands for extra finance economic investment were identified by some presenters as divided into a ‘never-ending goal of closer convergence by the most advanced Eastern European transition economies, or deterioration even instability has occurred’ (where constrained not received). Alongside improving financial models, financial digitalisation and green transition research, where ‘large investment is needed mainly for SMEs’ (small medium enterprises are the majority of firms in Eastern Europe). Alternatives to beneficial FDI (foreign direct investment) were highlighted, with some potential FDI kept for ‘national home issues’ by others, alternatively benefits of keeping ‘productivity and trading boundaries’ closer together within Eastern Europe. Research into ‘Roundtripping FDI,’ academically ‘defined as onshore corruption and offshore secrecy for starting-up businesses or mitigating figures is reports progress for this complex to measure indirect FDI, transmission shipment via a hidden host intermediary economy. Reality challenges stated in geo-economics and geo-policies to achieving either ‘strength’ from co-operation, integration and finance economic strategies within more heterogeneity (differences) and increasing ‘potential vulnerability’ from dissipation, stasis, fragmenting debated. One South-East Europe researcher described ‘as wishing to help the EU as currently it is like a parent struggling not coping very well in relation to Eastern Europe matters.’ A new finance economic societal era change called ‘Zeitenwende’ is gaining momentum in academia and popular media.

NOTE: Professor Michael Landsmann, The Vienna Institute, REGRETTED BEING UNABLE TO VISIT AND LEAD OPEN THE CONFERENCE KEYNOTE DUE TO LAST MINUTE CIRCUMSTANCES BUT HIS RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION IN THIS ARENA IS: ‘importance of understanding economics from a global perspective and multiple view-points.’ Coincidentally, the previous week, the UK defence secretary returned from a visit to Ukraine and Poland NATO exercises, with a satellite signal jamming of his plane’s navigation system, near Kaliningrad; stressing “increased 3% GDP spend on defence” and “support for Ukraine,” according to the Times, “it was a wake-up call,” as he saw a different ‘East-West’ in engagement mode perspectives instead of ‘West-East.’

Notably, Michael Landsmann co-authored ‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: assessment of the humanitarian, economic, and financial impact in the short and medium term’ in International Economics and is ‘the Economist winner of the Rothschild Prize 2022’. Michael Landsmann published research states: ‘how can the geo-economic and geopolitical challenges of our time be classified and understood, and how is the West and East integration proceeding?’ “Economic policy issues are not purely factual questions, but involve – as Kurt Rothschild emphasised” – “questions of power, interests and the goals of various social groups”. ‘With his analytical approach, Michael Landesmann has made these power constellations, interests and goals visible. In his lectures, he concretises this approach using three developments: Russia’s war against Ukraine, energy and inflation crisis, and global multipolarity. He relates it to the title of his lectures revolving around conceptual ‘centrifugal and centripetal forces in the European integration process,’ and ‘the need for flexible and experimental economic policy in turbulent times.’


BU: An independent report on topical critical latest Eastern European Matters in research by Fiona Vidler MBA MSc MLIBF, member of EACES, with BUBS AFE quantitative research theme: Impacts of Corruption, Financial Constraint and Firm Productivity. Global Crisis Times – SME Evidence from European Transitional Economies – historical roots in comparative economics past hundred years: focus on over thirty years ago, fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and Independence (1991), with empirical regression analyses interpretations (using prior advanced statistics econometrics research training by USA specialists) in global financial crisis turbulence timeframes for SMEs (small medium enterprise) firms; exploring economic trading alliance influences relationships; endogenous (internal causes) effects beyond exogenous crises (a resurgence interest in visionary post-Keynesian on economic consequences from the 1930s, elements now reoccurring).
(PDF) Poster 2023 Fiona Vidler AFE BUBS (researchgate.net)