Posts By / Julie Northam

EPSRC study days

EPSRC logoThe Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is holding Study Days on 17 May and 14 July at their offices in Swindon. Study Days are one-day events designed to give university researchers and administration staff an overview of the EPSRC and their peer review process.

A Study Day typically involves:

  • Presentations – Introductory presentations from experienced members of EPSRC staff;
  • Mock Panel – Attendees have the chance to participate in a mock prioritisation panel meeting, led by a real panel convenor;
  • Pathways to Impact – An interactive session offering advice on how to complete the Pathways to Impact question on the grant application form;
  • EPSRC activities and opportunities – introductory talks on Transformative Research, People Support and International Engagement
  • Tips on Proposal Writing – First steps in grantsmanship.

This is an excellent opportunity for any academic staff interested in applying to the EPSRC for funding.

Study Days are free to attend. If you are interested in attending please contact Julie Northam in the first instance as the Research Development Unit will administer your booking on your behalf.

For further information please see the EPSRC Study Days webpage.

Employee wellbeing consultancy package offered to health-conscious businesses

typical workplace

The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) awarded by HEFCE to English HEIs as an annual block grant to support the development of a pervasive enterpreneurial environment through sustained engagement in enterprise activities. Prof Steve Ersser and Dr Ann Hemingway (HSC) were internally awarded HEIF-4 funding to collaborate with academics across BU to develop a consultancy package to promote wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace, building on the success of the cross-School Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life (CeWQoL). We caught up with Project Manager Dr Ann Hemingway to find out how the project is going…

The funding is to enable BU to develop a multi-dimensional consultancy package to help businesses improve the wellbeing of their employees.

“Organisations are more dependent than ever before on well-trained, highly qualified and motivated staff,” said Dr Ann Hemingway. “60% of adult waking hours are spent at work, yet 175 million working days are lost to illness, so organisations need to tackle head-on issues around absenteeism but also sickness presenteeism – employees still turning up for work despite ill health and complaints that can so often result in future sickness absence.”

Dr Hemingway continued: “Our research on workforce health and wellbeing has enabled us to achieve a new understanding of health at work which encompasses physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing and the social determinants of health.”

CeWQol has received £250,000 from the University’s HEIF) grant to support commercial and public sector firms and charity organisations in their quest to be recognised as healthy workplaces – and achieve formal accreditation through external agencies such as Investors in People and the Royal Society for Public Health.

The package focuses on wellbeing and humanisation – a term being championed by the University (building on the work of Prof Kate Galvin and Prof Les Todres) around the importance of people-centred processes that support wellbeing and the concern with helping employees feel valued.

Organisations will have the unique opportunity to draw on the University’s wide-ranging research expertise from across all the schools in the university. This includes human resources management (recruitment and retention), occupational health and safety, healthier communities (nutrition, exercise and sport), and the design of working environments and stress alleviation.

As such the project involves five academic schools – Health and Social Care; Business School; Design, Engineering and Computing; Media School; and Applied Sciences – and the BU Wellbeing Enterprise Network in collaboration with the Centre for Practice Development and the Centre for Qualitative Research.

As part of the grant BU has developed a Collaborative Research Space at the Lansdowne campus in which staff can engage in collaborative activity and deliver consultancy training for external organisations.

“What we are offering organisations is our multi-disciplinary expertise to help them organise their work, their environment, and the communication and social opportunities for their staff.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace consultancy package should contact Dr Ann Hemingway at BU’s Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life on 01202 962796 or aheming@bournemouth.ac.uk.teamwork

Bournemouth University staff involved in the project are: Professor Steven Ersser; Dr Ann Hemingway; Dr Paul Stevens; Dr Fiona Cowdell; Professor Les Todres; Professor Kate Galvin; Mr Clive Andrewes; Professor Yannis Georgellis; Professor Thomas Lange; Dr Eloise Carr; Professor John Edwards; Mr Joe Flintham; Dr John Hallam; Associate Professor Heather Hartwell; Dr Sarah Hean; Dr Ian Jones; Dr Elizabeth Norton; Ms Julie Robson; and Colin Hewitt Bell. 

For further information please see project page on the CeWQoL website.

Making sense of IP

Researchers are increasingly being required to think about the commercial potential of their research. Geoff Bell and Philip Robinson in the Centre for Research and Enterprise have written a summary of the basics of Intellectual Property (IP) to help researchers make sense of it all.

Research, inventions and business ideas can be protected with one or more intellectual property rights:

  • registered IPPatents – These are perhaps the best known and most obvious form of protection, although the process of obtaining a granted patent is typically expensive and complicated. Patents protect the technical elements, the workings and the functionality. So provided your proposal does something that hasn’t been done before, a patent could be the most effective option. It is important to file a patent application before publication, because once research is publicly disclosed, a UK / European patent cannot be applied for retrospectively. A competitive advantage might therefore be lost, should you wish to commercialise the output. Public disclosure includes grant applications, journals, presentations, abstracts, theses, emails, poster displays, exhibitions and any other non-confidential verbal disclosure.
  • Designs – Design rights give protection to the physical appearance of a product. This includes the component parts, surface decoration, contours, colours, shapes, textures and materials. Registered designs can be applied for up to 1 year from first public disclosure in the EU and 6 months from disclosure in the US. Other countries may vary.
  • Trade marks – A trade mark protects the goodwill and reputation of a company and or its products. Trade marks are a registerable right and potentially perpetual providing the renewal fees are paid
  • Copyright – Copyright gives the creator exclusive rights to copy their original piece of work for a period of time. Copyright applies to the following works: literary, dramatic, artistic, musical, audio, video, broadcasts, cable and some software (which may possibly be patented under the right circumstances)
  • Know-how and Confidential Information – Know-how is knowledge which may not be protectable through formal registration, but which has commercial value. Confidential information may also be referred to as a ‘trade secret’. Whilst the law provides certain protections, both are best protected through the signing of an appropriate non-disclosure agreement with those whom such know-how and information is shared.

top secretWho owns the intellectual property?
Before embarking on a research or enterprise project, it is important to clarify the ownership of any subsequent intellectual property output. Failure to do so can lead to longer-term complications and sometimes even termination of the project or legal action. Check out the BU Intellectual Property Policy for more information.

More information
If you have any general questions regarding intellectual property and the ownership of your work please contact Geoff Bell and Philip Robinson in the Innovation & Commercialisation Team.

The Commercialisation and Product Licensing pages on the BU Intranet are also a valuable source of information.

BU’s Open Access Publishing Fund to go live!

open access logo, Public Library of ScienceThe Senate R&E Committee has approved plans for a BU Open Access Publishing Fund. The fund is due to be launched in August 2011 and will be managed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation) and the Research Development Unit. But what is the BU Open Access Publishing Fund and why is this such a big dea for Research at BU?

What is open access publishing? Open access publishing turns the traditional publishing route (readers paying subscriptions to publishers) on its head as researchers pay a fee to the publisher to publish their research and in turn the publisher makes the article available free of charge to readers immediately on publication.

Why is this beneficial? Open access publishing enables research findings to be disseminated to a wider public audience, typically with significantly faster publication times, than traditional journal publishing. The European Commission’s policy on open access publishing notes that the broad dissemination of research findings can accelerate scientific progress and has significant benefits to both the scientific community and to society.

What is the view of research funding bodies? Many funders require the research they fund to be made freely available, free of charge to any readers upon completion of the project. A full list of funders with open access requirements can be found on the Sherpa Juliet website, and includes all seven Research Councils, the European Commission, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). These requirements have been put in place by funders to maximise the public dissemination of research findings. However, despite these open access mandates funders are reporting that researchers and therefore HEIs are not compliant; recent research undertaken by the Wellcome Trust indicates a compliance rate of less than 50%. An institutional open access publishing fund can increase compliance rates with funding body open access requirements.

How will this help our submission to the REF? Open access publishing has three potentially significant benefits for BU’s submission to the Research Excellence Framework in 2013:

  • Publication times – Papers can be published significantly faster than traditional journal publishing methods and therefore BU would not be as constrained by traditional publishing deadlines; more articles could therefore be published prior to the REF publication deadline and be eligible for submission.
  • Citations – Open access publications are more widely available and are therefore more likely to be cited.
  • Research impact – Open access publication is a way of enhancing the visibility and increasing the impact of research findings. Research findings made freely available to society at large are likely to have wider societal impact.

Do other institutions have open access funds? A number of international research institutions have already established institutional budgets and processes for open access publishing, such as the Max Planck Society’s Central Open Access Fund and the University of California Berkeley’s Research Impact Initiative. In the UK the University of Nottingham has led the way by establishing an institutional open access publishing fund.

How can open access costs be met? A number of funding bodies (such as the Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust) allow researchers to include open access publication costs as a directly incurred cost providing that the costs are included in the original costing and are incurred prior to the end of the grant. For all other open access publishing costs, researchers will be able to apply to the new BU Open Access Publishing Fund. Requests to the fund will need to be made to the Research Development Unit and will then need to be approved by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation) and the relevant REF UOA Leader.

When will further details be announced? We are currently working on a policy, process and communication plan and further announcements will be made via the blog before August 2011.

What about any open access requests between now and the end of July 2011? If you have any open access publishing requests before the BU Open Access Publishing Fund is launched in August 2011, please discuss these with your Deputy Dean (R&E) / equivalent and Julie Northam. Where requests are justifiable (i.e. high quality open access outlet, likely to be submitted to the REF, likely to increase the impact of the research findings, etc) then we will endeavour to accommodate these within the CRE budget where possible.RIN logo

For further information on open access publishing the Research Information Network published a guide to Paying for Open Access Publication Charges in February 2011.

Also see the Public Library of Science (PLoS) website.

ESRC Demand Management consultation

ESRC logoThe Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has today published plans for how it will manage the increasing demand for its research funding. Their aim is to have fewer, high-quality applications so the best social science is funded in the most effective way.

They will be introducing an initial programme of measures of improved self-regulation and a change to their existing peer review practices and submission policies.

These measures include:

  • the introduction of an invited-only resubmission policy as of June 2011
  • revised sifting mechanisms (greater use of outline applications and earlier sifting for standard grants)
  • issue more tightly specified calls on managed mode schemes which address the ESRC strategic priorities

After 12 months of these initial measures the ESRC will review their effectiveness, to establish whether further steps need to be taken to manage demand. In case further steps are required the ESRC welcome your views on the potential options, particularly in relation to the following questions:

  • Which main demand management options are worthy of further development and why?
  • How might those options be further developed and refined?
  • Which, if any of the main demand management options, would you not consider for further development and why?
  • Overall, which of the options offers the best opportunities to effectively manage demand whilst ensuring the flow of high-quality research applications? Are there any further options which are not included in this paper whcich should be considered by us as part of our demand management strategy?

The deadline for the submission of responses is 16 June 2011. These should be completed using the form on ‘SurveyMonkey’ at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/demand_management.

We would encourage all academic staff researching in the social sciences to respond to the consultation.

To ensure your research proposal stands the best chance of success use BU’s internal peer review scheme – the Research Proposal Review Service.

Search the Blog!

All blog posts are achived meaning the blog has a wealth of information about research!

You can search for old posts in a number of ways:

…From the main homepage there is a search function on the top right of the page, just beneath the subscribe field. This is a free text box which will search all of the previous blog posts for the search term entered. e.g. if you search for REF then a number of posts are found.

…The second way is via the tag cloud (Popular Post Topics), also on the homepage. All posts are tagged with a selection of keywords based on the content. The larger the keyword appears in the tag cloud, the more posts there are about it. Simply click on a word and you will see all of the posts that have been tagged.

…The third way is via the Archive. At the top of the blog there are five tabs. Click on the Archive tab to see the Archive. You can then see a list of previous posts and search the archive in a number of ways, including by month and by category.

🙂 Happy blog searching! 🙂

Join the BU Research Group on Facebook!

facebookAs well as the recently launched BU Research Blog, BU Research has established a Facebook group to allow those of you on Facebook to have a private shared area to discuss research!

The BU Research group is a closed Facebook group which only BU members of staff can join.

The purpose of the BU Research group is to provide a collaborative working environment for BU staff to:

  • discuss research ideas safe in the knowledge that all discussions will only be visible by other group members, i.e. BU staff only
  • make contact with one another, to search for one another, to identify colleagues with particular skill sets, etc.

To get started, join the group and post a message to the wall!

We aim to use the BU Research group on Facebook to promote research opportunities for multidisciplinary calls, such as joint Research Council calls.

Enjoy making use of the site and please encourage your BU colleagues to join!

Let us know what you think about the group by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

“Blogging is using a new medium for what it is good for – connecting and interacting” (George Siemens)

“Facebook is a social networking website — a gathering spot, to connect with your friends and with your friends friends. Facebook allows you to make new connections who share a common interest, expanding your personal network” (Anon)

Prof Colin Pritchard elected as an Academician of the AcSS

Colin PritchardThe Centre for Social Work and Social Policy is proud to announce that Professor Colin Pritchard has been elected as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS), one of only two in the history of BU, both of whom are in the Centre (the other being Professor Jonathan Parker).

Colin was nominated for this by two Academicians and academics Professor Lord Raymond Plant (King’s College London) and Professor Peter Coleman (University of Southampton).Academy of Social Sciences logo

The AcSS is the prestigious learned society for the social sciences, the president being Sir Howard Newby. The AcSS are currently campaigning within both Houses for social science and demonstrating its importance to society and the economy.

This achievement acknowledges a lifetime’s high profile achievement within academic social work.

Congratulations Colin!

Big Ideas for the Future

Universities Week 2011 is taking place between 13-19 June.Universities Week 2011 logo

The campaign aims to highlight the essential role of UK universities and their impact on the economy, culture, society, the environment and much more.

As part of Universities Week 2011RCUK and Universities UK are seeking submissions for Big Ideas for the Future. The project is exploring research currently taking place in universities that is likely to have a major impact on the UK and the world in the future.

All research organisations are invited to submit ideas and suggestions can be from any academic discipline. The only rule is that the research must be happening now or imminently and it must be something that will result in a real impact on people’s lives.

The proposed categories for entries are below, but suggestions for others are welcome:

  • Delivering a healthy future.
  • People and environment: sustainability for the next century and beyond.
  • The creation of recreation; how we’ll use our leisure time in fifty years.
  • The future of humanity and society.
  • Getting around: our planet, and beyond.
  • Capital ideas: the future of commerce and business.

The Research Development Unit will be liaising with Marketing & Communications to submit a selection of the excellent research undertaken at BU to Universities Week. If you would like to nominate your research or a colleague’s research then please contact Julie Northam by Friday 8 April.

A selection of the submissions will appear in a report ‘Big Ideas for the Future’ that will be launched during Universities Week on Thursday 16 June.

A selection of Big Idea impact case studies can be read here.facebook

You can follow Universities Week on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/UKUniversities

Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement explained

You may hear the terms Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement banded about quite a lot but what do they actually mean? Jo Stark, BU’s Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship Manager, provides some further clarification.

Enterprise Education

The term “Enterprise Education” at BU draws together existing pockets of best practice into a coherent whole that will provide a focus for further development across the institution and beyond institutional boundaries.

For an example of this see the Dynamo Enterprise Boot Camp Video which provides a bite size overview of the 2010 enterprise boot camp for students that BU facilitated with four other regional universities in collaboration with local businesses.

By embedding opportunities for our students to engage in external activity within the curriculum, academics can not only enhance our students’ employability, but also develop their profile with employers. This can be embedded through live consultancy projects, business simulation challenges and involvement in the entrepreneurship society – Business Mania.Business Mania logo

Although activity such as student placement and graduate recruitment does not create direct enterprise income, it offers BU and its academics a significant platform for employer engagement. As an example, by helping our graduates to gain employment not only develops relationships with employers, but enables the academic to maintain the relationship with the graduate, who, in a few years could become a client for BU.

By demonstrating “enterprising” attributes through their approach to teaching and research, academics will not only encourage their students to think this way, but will also develop opportunities for income-generating activity.

The team in the Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE) have recently supported academics in DEC to develop a dedicated enterprise module in the Software Systems degree framework. The team not only helped with the development of curriculum, but also provide external speakers for guest lectures to help enhance the learning experience for the students and develop wider opportunities.

Employer Engagement

At BU ‘Employer Engagement’ is defined as any form of contact between BU and an employer that attempts to effect a change in the intellectual capital, understanding or behaviour of an employer, for specific purpose of commercial gain on BU’s part or to benefit the economy of region and wider public.

BU takes its interpretation of Employer Engagement therefore as Enterprise in its widest sense. BU includes activity focussed at both business and community:

1.    Demand led learning and teaching provision (Short courses)

2.    Workforce Development (CPD)

3.    An active stakeholder in the economic prosperity of the conurbation and wider region

4.    Employer focussed curriculum development

5.    Employability (student and graduate placements)

In order to do this, it is vital that, as part of this activity an in-depth understanding of HE and economic policy is maintained, not only enabling BU to remain reactive to external drivers, but also remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic market place.

Through this activity CRE is able to generate opportunities for the institution, academic staff and students. In recent months CRE has established a strategic relationship with a blue chip multi-national and brokered the opportunity across to a leading Prof. Numerous placement and graduate recruitment opportunities are captured and disseminated to the appropriate schools. This activity also enables CRE to identify employer demand for specific short course development.

For further information contact Jo Stark who will be happy to help. Otherwise check out the BU Enterprise Intranet pages on Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement.

Thoughts on writing recommendations for a research thesis

Prof Edwin van Teijlingen (HSC) examined a PhD candidate last year whose recommendations were only Prof Edwin van Teijlingenvaguely related to the work presented in the thesis. Since then he has examined several PhD theses which had an interesting range of recommendations not directly related to the student’s study findings. Listed below are his ideas about ‘appropriate’ recommendations:

Many postgraduate students make recommendations that are too broad, too generic, or not directly related to the exact topic of their research. These recommendations are not wrong; they are simply not specific / relevant enough. Examiners like to see some more mundane recommendations that come specifically from the thesis / research work.

First, you should not really recommend anything that you have not previously discussed in the Discussion. The rule ‘no new material’ in your Conclusion is also applicable to your ‘Recommendations’.University of Olomouc thesis from 1713 with motif of Ottoman Wars

Secondly, recommendations are not the same as conclusions. Consider recommendations go one step further than conculsions as (a) ‘something’; (b) ‘someone’; and (c) ‘needs to do’.

Furthermore, there may be different levels within your set of Recommendations, with recommendations for (a) academic (i.e. more research is needed into…), (b) for policy-makers (e.g. data protection act needs to change to accommodate…); for (c) practitioners (e.e. managers in local government need to consider the mental well-bing of their staff); or recommendation for (d) training / education (e.g. health promotion officers employed in inner-city Birmingham need to be trained in being culturally sensitive to several large ethnic minority communities to help them fulfil their role better in the community).

We’re interested to know your thoughts on this and to hear your experiences of advising postgraduate students when writing their recommendations. Let us know what you think by adding a comment.

Interact with the Blog!

We’d love you to interact with the Blog!BU Research Blog

Commenting on a post is really easy:

1) Choose a post you’d like to comment on

2) Click on the blue post title

3) This will open the post page

4) Scroll to the bottom

5) Add your comments in the box title ‘leave a reply’

Your comments will then be appended to the end of the post 😀

This is a great way to express your views, collaborate with one another, and improve research at BU!

What is a KTP?

KTPHave you ever wondered what a KTP is, how it works and how you could get involved? Then wonder no more! Dr Martyn Polkinghorne demystifies the elusive KTPs!

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are partly Government funded and aim to help businesses absorb and benefit from the knowledge/expertise residing within UK Universities and Colleges. The rationale behind each KTP is the formation of a 3-way partnership between a ‘Business’ partner, a ‘Knowledge’ partner and a ‘Graduate’ partner that leads to genuine and sustainable benefits for all involved.

BU has undertaken Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (including the previous Teaching Company Scheme) for 22 years during which time we have run approximately 90 projects that have brought in over £9 million of enterprise income.

When funding is agreed, a Graduate is employed by the University, but based full-time at the organisation to deliver the project. Approx. 1/2 day of specialist academic effort is provided to support the project and drive it forward. Although normally with a business partner, KTPs can sometimes also be run with social enterprises and public sector bodies.

The project budget pays for the Graduate, the Academic support and related training, travel and equipment. Even with the Government’s funding KTP is not a cheap solution, but for the right project it can provide the external partner with excellent value for money.KTP diagram

The major sponsor of KTP remains the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which funds approx 50% of all projects. Both the TSB, and the other minor sponsors (Research Councils, Regional Development Agencies, Government Departments, ERDF etc) have strict priorities for the project sectors and organisational types that they wish to support.

Potential projects must address the funding criteria of one of the sponsors and be able to demonstrate high levels of innovation, impact and challenge.

Recently completed KTPs include a fantastic project with Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm Park in which Steven Richards from the School of Tourism helped the company to develop and implement a new marketing strategy which increased visitor numbers to the tourist attraction, and helped to safeguard the future of the organisation. Further examples of KTP case studies can be accessed here.

If you want to find out more about KTPs or discuss an idea for a potential KTP then contact Martyn Polkinghorne.

Further information can be found on the BU KTP webpages or the national KTP website.

Subscribe to the Blog!

Keep up to date with Research at BU by subscribing to the BU Research Blog. By subscribing you will receive one email per day detailing all of the blog posts from the last 24 hours. To subscribe simply follow the steps below:

1) From the BU Research Blog homepage enter your email address in the space at the top right side of the page.BU Research Blog

2) Click on ‘Subscribe’.

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It’s that easy 🙂

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