Posts By / Julie Northam

76,659 unique visitors in one year! A review of the readership of the BU Research Blog

We regularly monitor engagement with our award-winning BU Research Blog using the fabulous Google Analytics tool. Over the past year engagement has been incredible. The stats below are based on the period 11 September 2014 to 10 September 2015 (1 year).

On average during this period the blog received 76,659  unique visitors, each spending approximately 1.5 minutes on the site. The blog is generally much busier on weekdays attracting between 250 and 1,000 unique visitors each day. In total there have been almost 175,000 page views.

The majority of our visitors came, unsurprisingly, from the UK (64%) and over the past year we have received visits from people based in 192 different countries. After the UK, the next ten countries from which visitors most frequented the blog were:

  1. United States
  2. Philippines
  3. Germany
  4. India
  5. France
  6. Spain
  7. Australia
  8. Netherlands
  9. Canada
  10. Italy

Also unsurprisingly the majority of visitors came from Bournemouth and Poole (30.8%) indicating that the blog is alive and well among BU colleagues. The next ten UK cities from which visitors most frequented the blog were:

  1. London
  2. Southampton
  3. Birmingham
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Manchester
  6. Bristol
  7. Leeds
  8. Oxford
  9. Cambridge
  10. Sheffield

This map shows the locations of all the cities from where the blog has been accessed in the past year:

blog city map 14-15

 

Approximately 60% of visitors find us via internet search engines. The top search terms that led readers to our blog over the past year are:

  • sky
  • poverty
  • sport
  • good luck
  • research blog
  • bu research blog
  • environment
  • help
  • ref 2020
  • usa
  • transport
  • bournemouth university research blog
  • erasmus mundus fusion mobility
  • professor matt bentley

33% of visitors are direct traffic, i.e. via the web address, the BU Staff Intranet, or the Daily Digest email. This is excellent as it shows that you lovely people who work at Bournemouth University are using the blog – hooray!

Over the year 35% (25%) of visits to the blog were made by returning visitors and 65% (75%) were made by new visitors (last year’s figures shown in brackets).

Of those who access the blog direct (i.e. mainly BU staff) the 10 most accessed pages last year were:

This is all excellent news. We’re always open to receiving feedback about the blog – please email us at any time with any comments, suggestions, etc, or add a comment to this blog post.

If you would like access to add your own stories and posts to the blog then email Rhyannan Hurst (rhurst@bournemouth.ac.uk) and she’ll get you started!

 

RKEO faculty-facing staff – when and where?

RKEO has a number of posts that directly support colleagues in the Faculties with bid preparation and submission and the post-award management of grants and contracts. These staff members spend approximately 50% of their time based in the Faculty offices. Information on when and where you can expect to find them when they are working in your Faculty is available here on the Research Blog here: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/contact/faculty-facing-staff/.

Launch of BU’s new Bridging Fund Scheme for research staff

Golden gate Bridge wallpaperThis month sees the launch of the new BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who continue to rely heavily on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation sometimes impacts negatively on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The new Bridging Fund Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) aconcordat to support the career development of researchersvoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

This is a great step forward for BU and for BU’s researchers and is an action from our EC HR Excellence in Research Award which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (further information is available here: https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/research-environment/research-concordat/).

You can read the full guidelines here: BU bridging fund scheme guidelines v1 070815

Have you checked out the interactive Research Lifecycle diagram yet?

If you haven’t then you most definitely should! Our Research Lifecycle diagram is a jazzy new interactive part of the BU Research Blog that shows the support and initiatives that are available to staff and students at each stage of the research lifecycle. The information is general enough so as to apply to all disciplines and you can use it to organize and identify the many activities involved in your research. You can explore the Research Lifecycle to find information on how to get started with:

1. Developing your research strategy

2. Developing your proposal

3. The research process

4. Publication and dissemination

5. Impact

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

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

 

Come to the Impact by Design creative networking event, on 11th July

pecha-kucha-logo (2)Do you want to meet creative people, exchange ideas, create new ones, and find people to work with? Then come along to BU’s Impact by Design event! Presentations will be in a PechaKucha style which provides a conversation starter, a networking opportunity, and an informal night for people to come together, share and draw inspiration. And just as crucially, it’s a brilliant night out! The key to PechaKucha Night is its patented democratic system. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up.

Featured speakers:

Saturday 11th July, 6-8pm, Talbot Campus

To book a free place, visit: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/festival-of-learning/events/bournemouth-pechakucha-night/ 

Lightning Talks event – come and find out about the exciting research undertaken by BU staff and student researchers!

lightning talksLightning Talks: An adrenaline rush of research

Interested in finding out more about the research that takes place at BU? Then come to the Lightning Talks event on Monday 13th July. A group of BU researchers and postgraduate research students will each provide a short and snappy summary of their research and its significance. Each researcher has just five minutes to do this. The audience will vote for the best presentation at the end, followed by a drinks reception.

This is a great opportunity to network with colleagues and find out more about the excellent and exciting research that takes place at BU.

 Featured speakers:
• Mastoureh Fathi
• Melanie Grey – brand co-creation: the experience effect
• Marcellus Mbah – the idea of the interconnected university
• Ana Ruiz-Navarro – predicting responses to climate warming of freshwater fish
• Carole Pound – exploring the human dimensions of stroke care
• Simon Hanney
• Michelle Heward – fire safety and dementia
• Adil Saeed – rust in steel
• Kevin Moloney – Media Wars: public relations versus journalism

Monday 13th July, 6-8pm, Talbot Campus.

Book you free place at: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/festival-of-learning/events/lightning-talks-an-adrenaline-rush-of-research/ 

Lightning Talks event – come and find out about the exciting research undertaken by BU staff and student researchers!

lightning talksLightning Talks: An adrenaline rush of research

On Monday 13 July, between 6-8pm, a group of BU staff and student researchers will present lightning talks of their research and its significance. They each have just five minutes to do this. The audience will vote for the best presentation at the end, followed by a drinks reception.

Come along and find out more about the research undertaken by BU researchers! Talks cover a whole range of topics, from dementia to climate change to PR.

To book a place, visit: https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/festival-of-learning/events/lightning-talks-an-adrenaline-rush-of-research/.  This event is part of BU’s Festival of Learning.

Have you checked out the interactive Research Lifecycle diagram yet?

If you haven’t then you most definitely should! Our Research Lifecycle diagram is a jazzy new interactive part of the BU Research Blog that shows the support and initiatives that are available to staff and students at each stage of the research lifecycle. The information is general enough so as to apply to all disciplines and you can use it to organize and identify the many activities involved in your research. You can explore the Research Lifecycle to find information on how to get started with:

1. Developing your research strategy

2. Developing your proposal

3. The research process

4. Publication and dissemination

5. Impact

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

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

 

A de facto Conservative majority – what next for universities?

The following highlights are taken from a WonkHE article by Mark Leach, Martin McQuillan and Graeme Wise. Read it in full here: http://www.wonkhe.com/blogs/general-election-what-next-for-universities/

EU referendum in 2017 – this would have real implications for universities given their reliance on international student numbers and European Union research funding.

Whitehall – there will be a new Business Secretary, and possibly a new HE minister. Where HE sits is uncertain – there could be a BIS and DCMS merger or HE might be moved into the Department for Education. If it remains, BIS may need to find £4-5bn in savings which could affect funding for initiatives such as widening participation. There’s also a potential for tuition fees to increase further to offset departmental cuts.

Immigration – the government stance on immigration is likely to tighten. The Conservative manifesto outlines plans for immigration that would affect universities, such as reforming the student visa system (including a review of the sponsor system for visas), the clamping down on the number of so-called ‘satellite campuses’ opened in London by universities located elsewhere in the UK and including students in the net migration calculation.

Is interdisciplinarity the future?

There is a lot of talk in the sector at present about the benefits of interdisciplinary research. But what exactly does this mean? The best definition I have found is from a report by The National Academies (2004) – “Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice.” (download the full report for free here).

At the HEFCE REFlections event last month there was a lot of talk about interdisciplinary research. Apparently most of the high-scoring impact case studies and outputs submitted to REF 2014 featured interdisciplinary research, and HEFCE are considering making interdisciplinary research a feature of the next REF assessment in which it could carry additional marks. They have commissioned Elsevier to conduct a review of interdisciplinary research with a view to the data feeding into the review of the REF and informing future exercises (read the sides here).

This seems a surprising turn of events, considering REF 2014 took so much flack in the months and years leading up to submission from academics who feared it would disadvantage interdisciplinary research. Ismael Rafols (University of Sussex), for example, claimed there is a systematic bias against interdisciplinarity in journal rankings, with the top-ranking journals covering a few specialist disciplines (read the full article here). In the run up to the REF submission there was concern that it wasn’t REF that was disadvantaging interdisciplinary research but institutions that were choosing not to submit it due to it being ‘too risky’ (see this article in The Guardian). But later articles started to look at how the REF actually benefited interdisciplinary researchers (for example, see this article in The Guardian).

The word from the HEFCE camp is that interdisciplinary research contributes to more world-leading research, as evidenced by it featuring in the highest scoring case studies and outputs, and that further interdisciplinarity is therefore beneficial and to be encouraged. Interdisciplinary research is one of the government’s research priorities and was listed, for example, as one of the UK research landscape’s strengths in the BIS science and innovation strategy.

Major funding initiatives are now more frequently interdisciplinary in nature, guided by the strategic priorities of major research funders, for example the Research Councils UK cross-council themes and the Horizon 2020 societal challenges.

There are inherent advantages to interdisciplinary research that are well known. Findings indicate that it is often in the spaces between disciplines from where innovative perspectives, collaborations and solutions emerge. Interdisciplinary researchers frequently speak of being more interested, engaged and stimulated by their work.

In support of interdisciplinarity, BU’s inaugural Interdisciplinary Research Week is taking place from 11-15 May. It includes a programme of lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and a film, all aimed at showcasing examples of the fantastic interdisciplinary research being undertaken at the University. It is open to staff, students and members of the public so please do come along.

REF update: HEFCE’s REFlections event, 25 March 2015

I went to HEFCE’s (rather cleverly named) REFlections event on Wednesday to hear about the review of REF 2014 and plans for the future of research assessment.

The key points were:

  • Collaboration and multi-/interdisciplinary research are likely to be important for the next REF
  • HEFCE have commissioned Elsevier to undertake a project on measuring multidisciplinary research to inform the next REF
  • The REF impact case studies database went live yesterday and is an excellent resource
  • Dual support system is likely to stay
  • Impact case studies are likely to stay, however, the impact template may change/become obsolete
  • Peer review will stay, informed by metrics in some disciplines (akin to REF 2014)
  • Metrics are not yet robust enough to have a metrics-driven REF. In particular, this is not yet possible for the assessment of outputs or impact. It is possible, however, to rely more heavily on metrics for the environment assessment and there could be changes to this part for the next REF.

 

HEFCE plan to consult with the sector on future plans for the REF this coming autumn.

 

Further information:

BU successful in retaining EC HR Excellence in Research Award!

Good news – BU has been successful in retaining the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award and is now one of 72 universities in the UK who have successfully passed their two-year review.

The Award demonstrates BU’s commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and therefore improving the working conditions and career development for research staff. In turn this will improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. The two year review required BU to highlight the key achievements and progress we have made since we gained the Award in January 2013 and to outline the focus of our strategy, success measures and next steps for the following two years.

Key achievements made at BU since 2013 in support of this agenda include:

You can read our progress review and future action plan (2015-17) in full here: https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/research-environment/research-concordat/

Since 2012 the EC have been exploring a ‘stronger’ implementation approach, including the potential for using quality standards and/or a more formal certification/accreditation process for HR management of researchers across Europe. Recently a new expert group has been appointed to further discussions and Vitae’s recent event, on 23 January, enabled Award holders to provide input into the current five-step process and moving towards a ‘quality assessment’. Detail and outcomes from the event can be found here.

Read the full announcement on the Vitae website here: https://www.vitae.ac.uk/news/72-uk-institutions-have-the-european-commission2019s-hr-excellence-in-research-award

RKEO faculty-facing staff – when and where?

RKEO has a number of posts that directly support colleagues in the Faculties with bid preparation and submission and the post-award management of grants and contracts. These staff members spend approximately 50% of their time based in the Faculty offices. Information on when and where you can expect to find them when they are working in your Faculty is available here on the Research Blog here: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/contact/faculty-facing-staff/.

Apply for the Undergraduate Research Assistantship programme now!

On 1st March we announced the launch of the next round of the Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) programme and opened the call for applications for positions to run in summer 2015 (see Launch of the summer round of the BU URA programme). The deadline is fast approaching (20th March) so you will need to get your applications in soon (apply here).

Having a URA working with you has many benefits to both you and the student. These include:

  • Increased opportunity for co-creation between you and the student
  • Increased satisfaction for you and the student
  • Promotion of careers in academia and research to the student
  • Promotion of opportunities for postgraduate study to the student
  • The student will support you with your research

Picking up on this last point, this could include supporting you with undertaking a pilot study which could then be used to strengthen your application for external research funding. Typical duties of a URA include (but are not restricted to):

  • performing experiments and analysing the results
  • disseminating new knowledge orally or in written outputs
  • literature searches
  • presenting results at conferences
  • providing general research support to academics

You can apply for a URA position to run in summer 2015 by competing this short application form and submitting it by 20th March.

HR Wallingford – Careers open day

Are you a postgraduate or graduate student in a relevant engineering or scientific discipline? HR Wallingford (http://www.hrwallingford.com/)would like to invite you to come to an Open Day at their Howbery Park campus to find out more about what they do.

As well as hearing about what they do, you’ll find out about some of their recent research and consultancy projects, and they’ll show you around their unique facilities. You will also get to meet some of their most recent recruits and learn about their experiences since joining HR Wallingford. It’s taking place on Thursday 23 April from 09.30 to 16.00 (refreshments and lunch provided).

There are a limited number of places available. Please contact Sarah Moxon at HR Wallingford (training@hrwallingford.com, tel 01491 822364) by Wednesday 15 April 2015 to secure your place.

Launch of the summer round of the BU Undergraduate Research Assistantship programme

I am delighted to announce today the launch of summer round of BU’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) programme. Funded by the Fusion Investment Fund, this programme offers paid employment opportunities for approximately 40 BU undergraduate students per year to work in clusters, centres and institutes, under the guidance of experienced academics, in a research position that is directly related to their career path and/or academic discipline. This enables the students to assist academic staff with their research whilst also gaining valuable research experience themselves.

Research shows there is a direct link between student satisfaction and research-based learning, particularly when the opportunity is in their field of study[1], and that the undergraduate student experience is improved by engaging them with research early and often.[2] URA programmes are common in North America and are offered in a significant number of universities, for example Harvard University, Northern Illinois University, Kent State University and Cornell University.

In 2015 BU is offering two modes of the URA programme:

  1. semester-based programme (c. 20 part-time positions running for eight weeks in semester 2)
  2. summer programme (c. 20 full-time positions running for six weeks in June/July 2015)

There are two stages to the application process: 1) Faculty application stage whereby BU academic staff can apply for URA positions, and 2) student selection stage whereby Faculty staff recruit to the positions.

We are now accepting applications from academic staff for URA positions for the summer-based programme. The deadline for applications is Friday 20th March 2015. All applications received will be reviewed by a panel comprising two Deputy Deans (Research and Professional Practice) and the Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange. Decisions on which positions to fund will be announced at the start of April.
.
Further details, including the application form, are available here: Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) programme

[1] For example: Healey and Jenkins (2011) Linking discipline-based research with teaching to benefit student learning, available from: http://www.mickhealey.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Linking-RT-Handout-Website1.doc

[2] For example: Madan, C R & Braden, D T (2013) The Benefits of Undergraduate Research: The Student’s Perspective, available from: http://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/05/undergraduate-research-students-perspective/

Social science research at BU

During the consultation on Faculty structures it became evident that there is an interest across the University in closer cross-Faculty collaboration amongst those whose work is based in or influenced by the social sciences. To this end, Prof. Barry Richards of FMC and Prof. Jonathan Parker of HSS are convening a meeting at 2.30 (note start time) on Tuesday 17th March (in PG11, Talbot Campus) to discuss cross-Faculty collaborations in social science-based research. There are already a number of such collaborative projects underway, and the aim of this meeting would be to explore the prospects for developing existing links and shared activities in a more strategic way. This could create new synergies, raise BU’s profile as a place where ‘4*’ social research and thought leadership can be found, and strengthen our hand in funding bids. It could also have implications for research organization and REF planning.

So if you are engaged in or planning some research which you think might benefit from an environment with stronger inter-Faculty links and a richer interdisciplinary context, or would just like to know more about SS research across BU, do put this meeting in your calendar.

Welcoming our newest Erasmus Mundus TECHNO II post-doc

I am Dr Helmi Norman, an Erasmus Mundus post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University (BU). I arrived here late December 2014 and will be attached here until the end of June 2015. My research interest is in the area of emerging learning technologies, where I am particularly interested in the mobile, online and ubiquitous technologies that can applied for 21st century learning.

Currently, at BU, I am working with Dr Huseyin Dogan on three main research initiatives. First, we are working with the Technology-Enhanced Learning Division under the Centre for Excellence in Learning at BU on creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for education technology. The MOOC created could serve as platform for educators in exploring potential teaching and learning technologies for promoting learner-driven innovations. I have been previously involved with a national MOOC initiative in Malaysia and the BU MOOC initiative can further spark new cross-regional research between Europe and Asia in this field.

Second, we are currently studying on social media addiction which is currently becoming a serious issue and we are investigating effective approaches and techniques of intervening with the addiction. Third, we are also currently working on a research about peer assessment using online learning technologies.

Feel free to contact me on future collaborations at mnorman@bournemouth.ac.uk or helmi.norman@gmail.com.  

 

BU has two Erasmus Mundus Academic Partnerships TECHNO and TECHNO II partnerships. Please contact Dr Demetra Andreou if you would like more information: dandreou@bournemouth.ac.uk