Posts By / aedwards

Research impact at BU: a citizen science dementia project & action against financial scamming

First in a series of posts looking at BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021. (The full impact case studies will be published on the REF website summer 2022.)

The impact of the Sea Hero Quest app on public awareness of, and engagement with, ageing and dementia research

Research areas: Psychology, Health & Social Care

Staff conducting research: Professor Jan Wiener, Professor Anthea Innes, Dr Sarah Muir, Dr Shanti Shanker, Dr Ramona Grzeschik

Background: BU’s Wayfinding Lab has developed a deep understanding of how ageing, both typical and atypical, affects the cognitive processes involved in spatial recognition. Professor Wiener’s expertise in the design of navigation tasks, environments and experimental levels was used in the design of a mobile gaming app, ensuring it could track age-related changes in navigational abilities.

The impact:  The Sea Hero Quest app encouraged users to navigate complex virtual seascapes. In the process, they provided data on their own wayfinding ability and learned how it is affected by typical/atypical ageing. It reached more than 4.3 million users in 194 countries, making it one of the most successful citizen science projects ever conducted. The app established the value of BU laboratory research in the real world; raised awareness of spatial disorientation in atypical ageing and the importance of research in overcoming it; triggered diagnostic innovation; and provided new commercial domains for gaming developers.

Safeguarding vulnerable adults from financial scams

Research area: Social Care

Staff conducting research: Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, Professor Keith Brown, Dr Sally Lee, Emily Rosenorn-Lanng, Davide Melacca

Background: BU’s National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work is widely regarded as the leader of research into financial scamming and fraud. Beginning with a grant from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) in 2015 to explore the extent of financial scams that target vulnerable individuals, Professors Brown and Fenge and their team then worked with Age UK, the London Borough of Croydon, CTSI’s National Scams team, the Royal Mail, and the Burdett Trust for Nursing, as well as the victims of scamming and their families.

The impact: Based on its research, BU developed key learning resources, which have been distributed nationally, raised awareness of scamming, and increased the protection of vulnerable groups. Nationwide charities, local authorities, the NHS, financial institutions and government all use BU’s research and materials to protect vulnerable people from being defrauded, helping to save consumers from scams worth more than £22 million.

Next post: the media representation of para-athletes & protecting the right to use parody.

 

 

 

Parliament for Researchers: free online training sessions from UK Parliament

UK Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit has two free online training sessions coming up in May. The sessions are popular and fill up quickly, so book your free ticket as soon as possible! You can also access recordings and resources from previous ‘Parliament for Researchers’ training sessions, including sessions tailored for researchers at different career stages and covering different topics such as select committees and writing for a parliamentary audience.

Policy Engagement for Researchers – Government in contrast to Parliament: 19th May 2021, 14:00 – 15:00pm

Parliament and Government are separate institutions, with different ways for researchers to engage with each. To complement your knowledge about working with Parliament, join this practical online training session to explore how research evidence and expertise is used by Government and how you as a researcher can engage, plus how this relates to research use at UK Parliament. Featuring speakers from across UK Government.

Parliament for Researchers – how to engage with devolved legislatures: 25th May 2021, 10:00 – 11:00am

Join this practical online training session to explore research use by the UK’s devolved legislatures and how you as a researcher can engage, plus how this relates to research use at the UK Parliament. Featuring speakers from the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru.

For more information about online training for researchers from UK Parliament, email Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit on keu@parliament.uk.

 

Celebrating BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021!

Behind the headline figure of 47 impact case studies BU submitted to REF 2021 is several years’ preparation: a ‘light touch’ exercise in 2015, a stocktake in 2017-18, an impact review in 2018, two full Mock Exercises in 2019 and 2020, and a further adhoc review last November. The number of case studies submitted to the 2020 Mock was actually 73 – illustrating the fact that an even larger pool of researchers was involved in the process of honing BU’s impact submission.

Impact is for life, not just REF

Inevitably,  impact case study teams heaved a huge sigh of relief once the button was pushed on REF 2021, but impact exists beyond REF, and, of course, existed before it. As Fast Track Impact’s Mark Reed puts it, ‘impact is the good that researchers can do in the world’. With that in mind, we will be showcasing BU’s impact case studies on the Research blog over the coming weeks. As well as acknowledging the hard work that went into producing them, and highlighting the breadth of BU’s research, we hope this series of posts will also provide insight and inspiration for researchers at all stages of their careers.

What exactly is an impact case study?

A 5-page document, comprising:

  1. A 100-word pithy summary of the impact achieved.
  2. A 500-word section describing the research underpinning the impact.
  3. 6 research outputs, referenced in the section above, which directly link to the impact.
  4. A 750-word narrative that details the impact/s achieved.
  5. 10 pieces of evidence to corroborate the impact claims, in the form of independent factual sources, testimonial letters etc.

… and all conveyed in a style as accessible to the lay reader, as to the expert in the field.

Next post: 1) how BU research informed one of the largest citizen science projects ever conducted; and 2) helped save consumers from more than £22m in scams.

Take part in EU-funded project survey about perinatal mental health

Did you become a parent last year, or are you an expectant parent? If so, we would like to invite you take part in an online questionnaire about your experiences of perinatal mental health.

The survey is part of the EU-funded PATH project involving 13 partners from France, Belgium the Netherlands and the UK, including Bournemouth University. Professor Wen Tang, an expert in computer science and virtual reality software technologies, is leading BU’s project contribution.

 

The aim of the project is to enable women, families and healthcare professionals to prevent, diagnose and successfully manage mild to moderate perinatal mental health issues.

If you would like to take part in the survey, please go to http://bit.ly/2JuCEQT.

Join a conversation with Clive Betts MP

Policy Connect is hosting a discussion with Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Thursday 23 July 14:00-15:00 (via Zoom).

It is one in a series of discussions Policy Connect have planned with the Chairs of the various Westminster Select Committees, discussing their views and visions for these bodies as they scrutinise the work of Government and conduct research into a range of policy areas.

Clive Betts served as Leader of Sheffield City Council from 1987 until 1992, and since then has been Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East. He has been Chair of the Select Committee since 2010. As Chair, he has led on a range of cross-party research to improve the accountability and links between central and local government, including extensive work on the response to the Grenfell Disaster, council funding, and the planning system.

This event will offer the chance to hear from Clive about the future work of the Select Committee as it investigates a range of policy areas. Policy Connect’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Shaw, will discuss areas such as the devolution agenda, regeneration through place based policy, planning, housing and also new initiatives arising from the Chancellor’s summer statement.

The session will also be held remotely and open to Policy Connect members with an opportunity for Q&A during the final 20 minutes.

To register, click here. Please ensure you let Sarah Carter know if you wish to attend the event so we can track interest among academic colleagues.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology publishes all 15 reports based on its Covid-19 Expert Survey

In March, POST launched the Covid-19 outbreak expert database, inviting anyone who wanted to support Parliament in its work, and had expertise in COVID-19 and/or its impacts to sign up. In April, more than 1,100 experts on this database – including a number of BU researchers – responded to POST’s survey, asking for their immediate, short, medium and long term concerns relating to COVID-19 and its impacts.

All 15 reports arising from this survey have now been published, and you can read them here:

  1. Economy and finance
  2. Business and trade
  3. Work and employment
  4. Virology, immunology and epidemiology
  5. Research and innovation
  6. Health and social care system
  7. Public health
  8. International affairs
  9. Law and human rights
  10. Society and community
  11. Media and communications
  12. Crime, justice and policing
  13. Education
  14. Infrastructure
  15. Environment

POST will also be publishing a report summarising what data or information the experts want to see the UK Government release relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The following BU researchers were among those responding to the survey: Professor Katherine Appleton; Dr Emily Arden-Close; Professor Christopher Hartwell; Professor Ann Hemingway; Dr Sarah Hodge; Dr John Oliver; Dr Karen Thompson; Dr John McAlaney; Professor Lee Miles; Dr Andy Pulman and Professor Barry Richards.

POST Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme: latest news

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has formally launched its Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme, with further details of the application process for expressions of interest and a list of parliamentary offices participating in the scheme.

If you are interested in applying, please follow the guidelines below:

  1. Firstly, inform your Faculty Dean or Deputy Dean of your interest and discuss potential sources of funding.
  2. Identify an idea for a potential project to conduct in a participating Host Office in UK Parliament. A list can be found on p. 10 of the Guidance note for applicants.
  3. Before completing the Expression of Interest Application Form, read the Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme Open Call 2020 – Guidance Note for Applicants. POST strongly recommends applicants also read the Appendix to this document. It contains information about the offices in Parliament participating in the scheme, the kinds of projects you could propose to do with them and any topics they are particularly interested in receiving proposals on.
  4. Complete an Expression of Interest Application Form and send a copy of the completed form, along with a two-page CV, to postfellowships@parliament.uk. You should mark the subject of the email as: “PAFS Open Call: [name of proposed parliamentary Host Office]”. POST also requests that you complete and send them the diversity monitoring questionnaire, although this is voluntary.

If successful, you will be asked to submit a detailed application in September, which will also confirm BU budget approval. Interviews are likely to be conducted in October/November and the Fellowship will commence January 2021, following security clearance.

Please note, the BU Policy team and your faculty impact officer are available for guidance, support and to track your application.

POST Academic Fellowship Scheme: expressions of interest invited

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is inviting expressions of interest for its Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme from Monday 8 June.

Securing a prestigious fellowship with POST provides researchers with unique access to Parliament, policy experience and direct potential for impact. It is open to all employed academics with a PhD, and applicants propose their own project for Parliament to conduct. These projects might include contributing to the work of a parliamentary office, filling gaps in expertise, helping to grow Parliament’s academic networks, informing parliamentary scrutiny, analysing and evaluating parliamentary practices, building staff capacity and skills, providing advice and support to a committee, scrutinising a specific area of government policy, providing briefing material or advice, generating data to facilitate effective scrutiny, writing specific papers for parliamentary teams, studying aspects of the parliamentary process or perceptions of that process, or something else!

There is no external funding associated with these fellowships, and the cost will need to be met either by BU internally or by other research funders. The types of cost the fellowship will entail are: cover arrangements, travel, subsistence and accommodation alongside consideration of your time. Do not let concern over costs or other factors hold you back at this stage. Parliament have a keen diversity agenda and applications from all career stages (from PhD onwards) and other equality characteristics are welcomed – you do not have to be a professor!

The fellowship will usually last for 1 year; there may be flexibility over the start date (and this may help to save or manage costs). Fellows will spend some of their time in Westminster and some aspects will be completed remotely. The amount of time spent in Westminster will be dictated by the nature of your project. It could be one day per week, or a week block every six weeks, or another pattern.

Expression of Interest applications will be invited from Monday 8 June, when more information about the scheme, what to cover in your expression of interest, and a list of the parliamentary offices participating will be released by POST. The closing date is Friday 26 June 2020. We will update this blog with the new details once they are released.

Process

  • Now: Inform your Faculty Dean or Deputy Dean , that you are interested in applying
  • June: Complete the expression of interest and forward before the 26 June deadline, and discuss potential sources of funding with your faculty leadership
  • September: Submit detailed application for the fellowship which will also confirm BU budget approval
  • Oct/Nov: Interview
  • If selected – complete security clearance, complete Fellowship Agreement
  • Jan 2021 – commence Fellowship

The BU Policy team and your faculty impact officer are available for guidance, support and to track your application.

Click here for full details from POST, as well as testimonials from previous fellows.

This is also an informative and useful document – it contains some examples of projects successful Fellows undertook and the evaluation of the whole scheme including what needs improvement.

 

 

BU academics contribute to initial findings from Covid-19 expert database

In March, POST launched the Covid-19 outbreak expert database, inviting anyone who wanted to support Parliament in its work, and had expertise in COVID-19 and/or its impacts to sign up. In April, more than 1,100 experts on this database responded to a survey put out by POST, asking them to share their immediate, short, medium and long term concerns relating to COVID-19 and its impacts. Having analysed the responses, and determined there to be 15 broad areas of concern, POST is now publishing syntheses in these 15 areas.

 

The 15 areas of concern are listed here, along with the methodology for both conducting the survey and synthesising the insights. The 15 syntheses are being published on POST’s Horizon Scanning pages.

Those respondents who said they would be happy to be publicly acknowledged are listed in full here and the list includes the following BU academics:

  • Professor Katherine Appleton – Psychology
  • Dr Emily Arden-Close – Psychology
  • Professor Christopher Hartwell – Financial Systems Resilience
  • Professor Ann Hemingway – Public Health and Wellbeing
  • Dr Sarah Hodge – Psychology
  • Dr John Oliver – Media Management
  • Dr Karen Thompson – Leadership Strategy and Organisations
  • Dr John McAlaney – Psychology
  • Professor Lee Miles – Crisis and Disaster Management
  • Dr Andy Pulman – Digital Health and User Experience
  • Professor Barry Richards – Political Psychology

You can still sign up to the expert database here.

 

COVID-19 and Parliament: opportunities and resources for researchers

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) board has approved four new POSTnotes on:

  • AI and healthcare
  • Developments in vaccine technologies
  • Distance learning
  • Regulating product sustainability

Work on these will be starting in the following months. They are looking for experts to contribute their insights, literature or as external reviewers. For more information on what contributing to a POSTnote entails, click here. And if you’d like to receive updates about POST’s work directly to your inbox, you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter here.

Please ensure you notify the policy team and impact officers if you intend to contribute to any of the POSTnotes.

POST also has two new resources to give you all the information you need on engaging effectively with Parliament:

Webpage on researcher engagement with Parliament around COVID-19 and its impacts

If you want to know where the opportunities to engage with policymakers lie, go to: Engaging with Parliament as a researcher around COVID-19 and its impacts. It contains details of the Expert Database, which some of you have signed up to, and up-to-date details of all select committee inquiries relating to COVID-19. If any new opportunities come up, this page is where to find them.

A short guide to producing research to support the work of UK Parliament

Some of you may already be drafting project proposals for research relating to COVID-19 and its impacts. If you want help and guidance on how this can translate to policy impact, POST has also produced this guide. It gives an overview on what Parliament is and does, how it uses research, KE mechanisms, and a page of tips on shaping proposals and what to do when conducting research and disseminating findings.

 

 

Opportunities to engage with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

COVID-19 Outbreak Expert database

A number of you have already signed up to POST’s database. It aims to provide policymakers and civil servants with information on researchers’ specialisms to help them identify experts across the UK whose work might inform responses to the pandemic. It is also a fantastic opportunity to obtain greater reach with your research and connect with networks that may not have been as accessible previously. The database is live and still accepting entries, so do take a look and see if there is an area you can contribute to. POST has outlined a number of topics but it is not exhaustive – if you think you can provide useful input in a relevant area not listed, you can still sign up. Please remember to notify the policy office and your faculty impact officer if you do so.

Survey on impacts, concerns and issues around COVID-19

If you sign up to the database, you will also have the opportunity to fill in a 15-minute survey sharing expert insights  into the short, medium and long-term concerns and issues you perceive relating to COVID-19 and its impacts. The results will be shared within Parliament and used to help inform POST’s work. POST will publish anonymised responses and/or a public synthesis of these insights with a list of acknowledgements to contributors (not directly attributed to individuals). The first set of responses is due to be analysed Tuesday 14th April and there may be a further round of analysis after this deadline if required.

Learn more about engaging with Parliament to achieve policy impact

POST aims to maximise Parliamentary engagement with academic research and has produced a useful video describing how Parliament uses expert research in its work, whether it’s scrutinising Government, debating important issues, or passing legislation. You can also access general resources, advice and information on how you can work with Parliament as a researcher here.

Free training webinars 

POST will soon be running a series of free 90-minute webinars, Parliament for COVID-19 outbreak experts. They will:

  • provide a brief overview of what Parliament is, does and how it uses research;
  • explore the different ways you might engage with Parliament through your research over the coning months – both in the context of COVID-19 and its impacts, as well as other areas; and
  • share tips about communicating with Parliamentarians and those who support them.

Most of this content is usually only available via paid-for training courses in London, and won’t only be relevant to COVID-19. Please share this opportunity with colleagues and we will let you know when registration is open.

Coming soon – POST’s Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme – Open Call

 

Advance notice that the Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme Open Call will be launching in June 2020, when expressions of interest will be sought.

Securing a prestigious fellowship with POST provides researchers with unique access to Parliament as well as direct potential for impact. It’s open to all employed academics with a PhD, and applicants propose their own project for Parliament to conduct. Click here for the complete timeline for applications, full details and testimonials from previous fellows.

If you’re interested,  you will need to inform your Faculty Dean/Deputy Dean, to discuss potential sources of funding, and also let the policy team and your faculty impact officer know, so applications can be tracked, and support and guidance provided.

Look out for a post next week on this blog, with details of specific points to consider if you would like to take up this opportunity.

COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database – update

According to Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit (KEU), more than 3,500 researchers from across the UK have signed up to its  COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database, which includes a number of BU academics across all faculties.  

The KEU reports that it is already making use of the database and, later this week, will be directly contacting experts to ask them to share their insights into the COVID-19 pandemic and its short, medium and long-term impacts. Where possible, the KEU aims to acknowledge researchers’ contributions publicly.

If you haven’t already signed up, it’s not too late, as it is a live database. Follow the link and please email your faculty impact officer to let them know, so we can track BU involvement.

Signing up does not commit you to contributing in any way, it’s simply so that Parliament has your details to hand and can contact you very rapidly; if they contact you and you aren’t able to respond, they will fully understand.

The topic areas where Parliament may need to be able to access research expertise are listed below, and found on the sign up page. If you identify an area that has not been listed, please do feel free to give details on the sign-up form in ‘other’:

Agriculture and farming, Airlines/airports, Arts, Behavioural science, Burial and cremation, Brexit, Business, Charities, Children and families, Civil contingency planning and management, Climate change, Communicating uncertainty, , Consumer protection, Coronavirus, Coroners, Countryside, Courts, Criminal justice, Criminal law, Crisis communications, Critical national infrastructure, Data protection, Death, Defence, Economics, Education – higher and further, Education – schools, Elections, Emergency planning, Emergency services, Employment, Employment law, Energy, Environment, European Union, Financial services, Financial systems and institutions, Foreign policy, Government, Health economics, Health services, Housing, Human rights, Immigration, Immunology / vaccinology, Industry, Infection control, Inflation, Insolvency, International law, IT, Law, Legal aid, Leisure and tourism, Local government, Medicine, National security, Package holidays, Pandemics, Pensions, Police powers, Ports and maritime, Prisons, Public expenditure, Public finance, Public health, Public order, Railways, Registration of deaths, Religion, Social security and tax credits, Social services, Sports, Surveillance , Taxation, Trade, Transport, Unemployment, Virology, Waste, Water, Welfare, Welfare benefits.

Free interactive training on impact and UKRI/Horizon 2020 funding bids

If you would like to take the opportunity of online impact training as it relates to the UKRI Case for Support or writing the impact sections of Horizon 2020 proposals, Professor Mark Reed of Fast Track Impact is offering free, interactive webinars, giving you access to his most popular training sessions. Due to a high level of interest, there are now a further 100 tickets available for each of the two courses below:

How to integrate impact into your UKRI Case for Support
A highly interactive opportunity to learn about research impact and discuss example proposals integrating impact into their Case for Support
14.00-15.00, UK time (BST), Wednesday 15th April 2020

  • Learn exactly what impact is (and is not) based on evidence from The Research Impact Handbook
  • Discuss two contrasting examples of applied research proposals that have integrated impact into their case for support, identifying which of the two is best and why (using the break-out room function in Zoom), and report back key features of good practice to the wider group
  • Get a masterclass in integrating impact to bids from Professor Reed
  • Get the option to join free follow-up training to learn more about impact via email over the next 5 weeks
  • Get a free PDF copy of Prof Mark Reed’s book, The Research Impact Handbook (second edition), and access to a video recording of the whole session (exclusive to those attending the webinar)
  • Access is on a first-come-first served basis, with up to 100 spaces available. Book now to avoid disappointment.

How to write the impact sections of a Horizon 2020 proposal
A highly interactive opportunity to learn about research impact and discuss impact sections of funded and rejected Horizon 2020 proposals
15.00-16.00, Central European Time (CET), Friday 3rd April 2020

  • Learn exactly what impact is (and is not) based on evidence from The Research Impact Handbook
  • Discuss two Horizon 2020 proposals (impact sections only) in small groups (using the break-out room function in Zoom), identifying key features of good practice to work out which one was funded
  • Get a masterclass in writing the impact sections of a Horizon 2020 bid by Professor Reed
  • Get the option to join free follow-up training to help you embed what you’ve learned via email over the next 5 weeks
  • Get a free PDF copy of Prof Mark Reed’s book, The Research Impact Handbook (second edition), and access to a video recording of the whole session (exclusive to those attending the webinar)
  • Access is on a first-come-first served basis, with up to 100 spaces available.  to avoid disappointment.

Improving the impact section of your funding bids

Writing the impact section in a grant application can be challenging but a strong impact summary and description of the impact pathway/s can make all the difference between getting your research funded or not.

The RKEDF training session, Impact and Funding Bids, on Tuesday 1st October, 13:00-15:00, at Talbot Campus will help you understand exactly what you need to write for the best chance of success.

Facilitated by Impact Officers Matt Fancy and Amanda Edwards and Funding Development Officer Eva Papadopoulou, the session will give practical advice on completing the impact summary and pathway to impact sections of funding applications as well as best practice examples.

The session is aimed at academics at all stages of their careers, but it likely to be especially useful for ECRs preparing their first funding bids.

For further details and to register, follow the link to the OD booking page: Impact and Funding Bids.

Get an insider’s view on how to influence policymakers in Parliament

If you would like your research to have a real impact on policy decisions at a national level, you may want to book onto Achieving Policy Impact in the UK Parliament – a special workshop run by Sarah Foxen of the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), the UK parliament’s knowledge exchange unit.

This event takes place on Wednesday March 6 on the Talbot campus and there are only a few remaining places left. You’re advised to book promptly, using this link here, as the room capacity is only 30. We are delighted Sarah is able to come to Bournemouth for this one-off training event – her role as POST’s Knowledge Exchange Manager means she is perfectly placed to offer an insider’s view on how to get your research taken up by policymakers in Parliament. The workshop aims to:

  • demystify the process by which academic research can influence public policy
  • explain how policy impacts can be evidenced
  • examine what it is that policymakers are looking for in terms of academic research.

There will also be an opportunity in the afternoon session for participants to prepare and deliver a pitch to Parliament and gain invaluable advice on what policymakers are looking for and what is the most effective way of achieving policy impact for your research.

You can read a recent article Sarah wrote for the Wonkhe blog here:  (How to have REF-able policy impact). In it, she outlines a joint initiative between Parliament and Research England which aims to ensure a shared understanding of what parliamentary impact is, and how it can be evidenced in REF 2021.

For any further information on the workshop and details of the programme, please contact Amanda Edwards, Impact Officer, RDS on x61308 or by email: aedwards@bournemouth.ac.uk.