Posts By / Lisa Andrews

Are you a peer reviewer or a funding panel member?

Research Development and Support (RDS) would like to understand more about BU academics’ expertise in reviewing external grant applications and funding panel experience. As part of this we are collecting information about the external funding panels that BU academics are members of.

We will use the information gathered through this survey to create a database of funding panel expertise, which may be used to approach relevant academics for their expertise in particular funding calls for internal initiatives.

If you are a reviewer or external funding panel member, we would be extremely grateful if you could please complete this brief survey by Friday 5th November:

Complete the survey here

Research Fundamentals: In conversation with…the BU Clinical Research Unit

This week on the BU Research Blog we are considering bid quality and how to make a bid as good as it can possibly be. I set off on a quest to speak to members of the BU Clinical Research Unit to understand how they contribute to improving bid quality.

How can the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) support researchers to enhance the quality of their external funding application?

BUCRU is here to support academics and clinicians to develop high quality health and social care research applications. BUCRU’s mission is to improve the quality, quantity, and efficiency of research across the university and National Health Service (NHS). We provide a research advice service to support funding applications and can continue providing support in funded research projects.

As a team, BUCRU has a range of expertise spanning intervention development, trial design, behaviour change, qualitative research, mixed methods, research governance, and patient and public involvement.   Our support is available to both BU staff and local clinicians in the NHS. There are no restrictions on project topic area or professional background of the researcher.

As we’re a hub of the National Institute for Health Research – Research Design Service South West (NIHR RDS SW)  (part of the national Research Design Service) we’re fortunate to have access to other methodological expertise (such as statistics and health economics) as well as popular NIHR SW events and services (for more detail about the NIHR RDS SW see below).

What type of support does BUCRU offer researchers?

We can provide advice on all aspects of preparing a grant application from the initial research idea, including:

  • identifying and refining the research question
  • designing a study
  • research methods (qualitative and quantitative)
  • identifying suitable sources of funding
  • involving patients and public in research design (the NIHR RDS SW has a public involvement fund to support public and patient involvement activities)
  • identifying potential academic, clinical, and public collaborators
  • medical statistics
  • health economics
  • impact and dissemination plans
  • grant writing skills
  • advice on common pitfalls
  • interpreting feedback from funding panels
  • support resubmissions

Which funders will BUCRU support applications to?

We’re keen to help researchers to develop applications for any national external funding bodies with an external peer review process. This includes many funders including NIHR funding schemes, research councils, charities, etc. If you’re applying for seed corn funding to do some initial work to help you to apply for larger scale funding then we can support you with this. If you’re unsure about whether we can help, please do get in touch with us.

If you’re interested in finding out more about NIHR funding and hearing top tips for getting funded, the NIHR RDS SW runs regular online Grant Applications Seminars. The next one of these popular events is on the 9th November 2021. You can find out about it here: http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/research-funding-seminar.htm  and book a place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rds-south-west-nihr-grant-applications-seminar-tickets-177003420997

Can BUCRU support researchers in designing and implementing public and patient involvement (PPI) in bids?

Absolutely, Helen Allen is our PPI lead for the unit, with Louise Ward supporting and they work closely alongside the PPI team within NIHR RDS SW as well as BU PIER.

The recent development of VOICE@BU (a BU PIER and BUCRU initiative) has helped us work closely together in supporting researchers at the university.  We can help with plain English summaries, advise on recruiting and managing patient advisory/consultation groups, assistance with public involvement funding for national peer reviewed applications and advice with involving the public in all stages of the research cycle.  We can provide advice on engaging marginalised groups in research, collaborating with community organisations, developing participatory and user-led research, and delivering user-led public involvement training.  With PPI now such a core part of funding bids we strongly recommend that you sign up as a member to VOICE and look at how the platform can help involve the public in your research.  We have a previous blog here: https://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2021/05/25/voicebu-2/ that explains VOICE including access to a recorded demonstration that we ran for researchers back in May.

How is the NIHR Research Design Service linked to BUCRU, and what advantages does this offer researchers?

The NIHR RDS-SW Research Design Service South West  is one of 10 regional services across England making up a national network of advisers. NIHR RDS advisers support health and social care professionals and academics in all aspects of developing a grant application (including research design, research methods, funding sources, involving patients and the public) to NIHR and other national peer-reviewed funding streams.

The Bournemouth hub of the NIHR Research Design Service South West sits within BUCRU and is one of four regional hubs (the others are Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth). Dr Sarah Thomas is lead for the Bournemouth hub and staff members include Helen Allen and Louise Ward.  We work regionally across the South West and this has the advantage that it gives us access to a wide variety of additional expertise (such as statistics, health economic, qualitative approaches etc.).  We work in accordance with the RDS charter.

We also offer a monthly NIHR RDS SW Project Review Committee. This offers researchers a fantastic opportunity to have their draft applications critically reviewed by a mock funding panel and detailed feedback provided. This brings the benefit of having an application looked at with ‘fresh eyes’ – the panel includes senior NIHR RDS advisers and public contributors. The committee replicates as far as possible the way a real funding committee will consider a funding application. The panel will also provide helpful feedback on an application that was submitted but not funded, to help you revise the application for a future submission. You can find out more about this service and the submission deadline dates here: http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/project_review_committee.htm

How far in advance of a deadline should researchers make contact with BUCRU?

As early as you can!  It’s never too soon, even if you only have a vague idea of a research question. We suggest you contact us ideally at least 4-6 months ahead of a submission deadline. We generally need a minimum of 2-3 months to provide good input. Obviously, it depends on the stage of your application. If it is well-developed and you just require advice on a particular aspect then likely it would need less time. Please see our charter and get in touch with us if you are unsure or have any questions.

What is the best way to make contact with BUCRU?

 You can email us at bucru@bournemouth.ac.uk or wardl@bournemouth.ac.uk or call on 01202 961939.  We are based in BG117 (gradually returning).

Website: https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/centres-institutes/bournemouth-university-clinical-research-unit

Our Twitter is: @BU_CRU

An enormous thank you to Louise Ward and Dr Samuel Nyman from BUCRU for their time to answer my questions. 

What makes a good grant application?

It’s the age old question, ‘what makes a good grant application?’ Wellcome Trust have recently issued guidance on how to write a good Wellcome grant application, and the good news is that their guidance is useful for almost all grant applications regardless of the funder.

The guidance is summarised below, but you can find the full guidance on the Wellcome Trust website here: https://wellcome.org/grant-funding/guidance/how-to-write-wellcome-grant-application 

Before you start to write

  • Check you are eligible – Read all guidance, considering information about eligibility and suitability, what is being offered, how to apply and deadlines.
  • Gather all the information you need – Get as much advice as you can, ask other people if they are willing to share their successful and unsuccessful applications with you, contact Research Development and Support early in the process so we can guide you through the application and internal approval processes.
  • Make sure your proposal is competitive – Discuss your ideas with your sponsor, mentor, and/or senior colleagues. Get input from colleagues who are inside and outside your research field. You should think about the following, and take it into account when you write your application:
    • Your research proposal including the importance of the research question(s), the quality and feasibility of your proposal, how creative your idea is, your knowledge of the research area, teamwork and why a collaborative approach is the best one.
    • You as an applicant including the timing of your application for the stage of your career, your track record and experience, your contributions to the research area, your career development, your autonomy and ownership of the project.
    • Your research environment including how the research environment will support you to do the research, any opportunities for development the host will provide, how you will contribute to a positive and inclusive research culture.

Writing your application

  • Give yourself plenty of time – It’s really important that you avoid rushing your application. Allow plenty of time ahead of the deadline.
  • Other timings that matter – Allow enough time for your application to be approved and submitted by the ‘authorised organisational approver’ at the host organisation. Make sure you’re aware of any deadlines at your organisation that could delay this.
  • Make your application easy to read and understand:
    • Aim your proposal at people who have specific expertise in your field as well as those who have broader research experience.
    • Provide a balanced overview of the background, rationale and supporting evidence. Refer to appropriate studies by others and use preliminary data, pilot studies and/or scoping research to support your research question(s).
    • Give enough detail that reviewers can understand what you’re proposing, how it will be carried out and whether it’s feasible.
    • Request research costs that are necessary for your project. Make sure you’re aware of what you can and cannot ask for.
    • Use a title that is specific and reflects the importance of your proposal. Structure your writing with clear headings and subheadings.
    • Write in clear English and avoid technical jargon where possible. Keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum – define them when they’re first used.
    • List all references consistently, using the format requested.
    • Use diagrams and figures where appropriate.
    • Check your spelling and grammar

The above has been amended from guidance originally published on the Wellcome Trust website 

NERC standard grants NEW internal competition launched

NERC introduced demand management measures in 2012. These were revised in 2015 to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme. Full details can be found in the BU policy document for NERC demand management measures available here: I:\RDS\Public\NERC Demand Management.

As at January 2021, BU has been capped at one application per standard grant round. The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators). An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the Principal Investigator of the lead or component grant.

BU process

BU has a new and improved process for determining which application will be submitted to each NERC Standard Grant round. This takes the form of an internal competition, which will include peer review. The next available standard grant round is January 2022. The deadline for internal Expressions of Interest (EoI) which will be used to determine which application will be submitted is 24 September 2021.  The EoI form, BU policy for NERC Demand Management Measures and process for selecting an application can be found here: I:\RDS\Public\NERC Demand Management.

Following the internal competition, the Principal Investigator will have access to support from RDS, and will work closely with Research Facilitators and Funding Development Officers to develop the application. Access to external bid writers will also be available.

RDS Contacts

Please contact Ehren Milner, RDS Research Facilitator – emilner@bournemouth.ac.uk if you wish to submit an expression of interest.

Funding Development Briefings – back in September

The RDS Funding Development Briefings have occurred weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon since January 2021.

Thank you to those of you who have joined us to discuss the latest funding opportunities, ask questions, and share your research ideas. We will be taking a break over August, with the briefings returning in September.

Over August, we will still update the Major Opportunities pipeline on a weekly basis so you have access to the latest funding opportunities. The pipeline is available on the I Drive here: I:\RDS\Public\Funding Pipeline. The Research Facilitators will still be available over the summer to discuss your research bidding plans, so please do get in touch when required.

Details of the Funding Development Briefings for 2021/22 will be available shortly. Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

We hope you have a restful summer, and look forward to seeing you in September!

Medical Science Virtual STEAMLab LAST CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

This is a reminder that on Thursday 22nd July 2021 from 2-4pm, RDS will be hosting a virtual STEAMLab event under the strategic investment area (SIA) of Medical Science.

As there are a limited number of spaces remaining, we have extended the timeline for applications. Therefore please apply for a space by 5pm Monday 28th June.

We ask all participants to download and complete the Application Form and return this to Lisa Andrews. 

For more information, please see our previous blog post.

If you have any queries prior to submitting your application, please contact RDS Research Facilitators Lisa Andrews or Ehren Milner.

Reminder: Medical Science Virtual STEAMLab APPLY NOW

This is a reminder that on Thursday 22nd July 2021 from 2-4pm, RDS will be hosting a virtual STEAMLab event under the strategic investment area (SIA) of Medical Science.

Please apply for a space by 5pm Monday 14th June.

We ask all participants to download and complete the Application Form and return this to Lisa Andrews. 

For more information, please see our previous blog post.

If you have any queries prior to submitting your application, please contact RDS Research Facilitators Lisa Andrews or Ehren Milner.

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 9th June, there will be a spotlight on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

We will cover:

  • Overview of KTPs
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

Invitation to the Medical Science Virtual STEAMLab 2021

On Thursday 22nd July 2021 from 2-4pm, RDS will be hosting a virtual STEAMLab event under the strategic investment area (SIA) of Medical Science. It will be the third of a series to 2-hour long virtual STEAMLabs to be held in the course of 2021.

The ideas generated at this event may also be used to help select colleagues for further Scramble events at short notice.

Booking onto this event

To take part in this exciting opportunity, we ask all participants to download and complete the Application Form and return this to Lisa Andrews by Monday 14th June.

By applying, you agree to attend for the full duration of the event on 22nd July from 2pm – 4pm. Places at the event are limited and you will be contacted to confirm your “virtual space” by 21st June 2021

If you have any queries prior to submitting your application, please contact RDS Research Facilitators Lisa Andrews or Ehren Milner.

The Brief

We’re seeking to come up with highly innovative and urgently required research which is ambitious in scope and will require a high level of expertise, commitment and funding. The research must address challenges in the field of Medical Science.

In short, we anticipate the development of innovative, ground-breaking cross-disciplinary and ambitious projects which have the capacity to attract significant, high value external funding from the public and private sectors in the future.

We would also like to use this opportunity to further collaborations with our local clinical colleagues, and are delighted to be welcoming a number of attendees from local NHS Trusts to join us at this event.

Who should attend?

We welcome those who wish to contribute to having a positive impact through addressing scientific challenges, but in particular, we are specifically targeting the following:

  1. Those academics whose research aligns with one or more of the BU’s core research areas, or whose research would benefit from the multidisciplinary, collaborative engagement supported by the Medical Science SIA;
  2. Those who have experience of involvement in medium to large scale research projects.

Some Answers to your FAQs:

Do I need to do anything in advance?

During the STEAMLab, you’ll be guided through a process which results in the development of collaborative research ideas. To aid us in this process, we will be using the platform Padlet to discuss and share ideas on a number of research themes ahead of the event. This will enable us to identify the themes of the day by asking you as the attendees to contribute your thoughts and ideas ahead of the STEAMLab.

What is the immediate objective?

The objective by the end of the STEAMLab is to have scoped some leading and grand ideas around which a working group or cluster can be formed to take forward towards the development of a large grant application. This event is run to facilitate new interdisciplinary research collaborations.

What do I need to do afterwards?

Your project idea may be “oven-ready”, but it is more likely that you/your group’s project idea/s will require some time to crystallise fully, and for the optimum partners to be found for the building a winning consortium. To this end, it is envisaged that you and your potential collaborators will be committed to meeting on a regular basis, with a firm timetable.

What if my topic area is very specialised, within fields such as medical diagnostics or environmental science?

Your contribution will be very welcome! One of the main benefits of a STEAMLab event is to bring together individuals with a range of backgrounds and specialisms who are able to see things just that bit differently to one another.

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on Horizon Europe – open calls

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 26th May, there will be a spotlight on Horizon Europe – open calls

We will cover:

  • HE Open calls
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

 

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on Innovate UK Smart Grants

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 19th May, there will be a spotlight on Innovate UK Smart Grants.

We will cover:

  • Overview of the scheme
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 5th May, there will be a spotlight on British Academy Mid-Career Fellowships.

We will cover:

  • Overview of the programme
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

 

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on Horizon Europe – Digital, Climate and Food Work Programmes

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 28th April, there will be a spotlight on Horizon Europe Work Programmes – Digital, Climate and Food (EU).

We will cover:

  • Overview of the programme
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

 

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on the new Wellcome Trust funding programmes

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 21st April, there will be a spotlight on Wellcome Trust’s new funding schemes.

We will cover:

  • Overview of the new schemes
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

What’s your idea of a research game changer?

When I was asked to think about what signifies a ‘game changer’ in terms of research, it didn’t take me long to think about the huge effort and scientific endeavour that has led to the development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, in a step that will hopefully lead to a more ‘normal’ way of life over the coming months.

As the government announces plans to approve the fourth coronavirus vaccine, what seemed like an impossible feat a year ago was achieved in a matter of months. Twelve months ago, few of us would have imagined we’d have developed, trialled, and approved four vaccines for use in the time we have. What we have seen over the last year is nothing short of game changing research in its highest form.

I’m not a scientist nor an academic, but I have worked in health research for over 10 years and the collective effort that has gone into all COVID-19 research is clear. Over 1 million participants have now taken part in COVID-19 research, across over 180 studies in the UK. This has been achieved through doctors, nurses, members of the public, academics, scientists, researchers, research managers and administrators, regulators, life science companies, funders and policy makers all working together to a timeline considered unusual for clinical research. This monumental effort has led to world-leading research into therapeutics, as well as delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which saw 10,000 UK patients recruited over 20 sites.

Game changing research – what is it?

When I looked up the definition of a ‘game changer’, the Oxford English Dictionary tells me it’s “an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something.” Not all of us are going to have the opportunity to develop a new vaccine, but we can all think of a new way of doing something, and that’s the beauty of research.

At BU we are keen to foster amazing, game changing, transformative research ideas, so if you have one we would love to hear from you. You are invited to put forward your ideas through the current Strategic Investment Areas (SIA) EoI call for transformative research concepts, aimed at providing the dedicated, tailored support to make your research ideas a reality.

To learn more about the call, sign-up now for one of our open briefing sessions or learn more on the staff intranet.

Funding Development Briefings – Here’s what you might have missed…

The RDS Funding Development Briefings have been occurring weekly, on a Wednesday since January. Thank you to all of you who have engaged in the sessions, it’s been a pleasure to see so many faces joining us.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU. Sessions including funding spotlights, will be recorded and made available on Brightspace after the session.

Sessions held to date include;

  • Newton International Fellowship
  • Philip Leverhulme Prizes
  • EU MSCA Fellowships
  • EPSRC Overview
  • Horizon Europe 2nd pillar
  • British Academy Post Doc Fellowship
  • NIHR Overview
  • Horizon Europe Work Programmes Health, Culture and Security
  • AHRC Research Development & Engagement Fellowship

All slides and recordings of these sessions can be found on Brighstpace here.

For the next three sessions, there will be no spotlight funding opportunity as we appreciate many will be on leave due to school holidays. The briefing of the latest funding opportunities will still occur at 12pm, and the Research Facilitators will be available to answer your questions.

The next spotlight will be on Wednesday 21st April and will feature an overview of the Wellcome Trust’s new funding programmes.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on: AHRC Research Development and Engagement Fellowships

The RDS Funding Development Briefings now occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 24th March, there will be a spotlight on AHRC Research Development and Engagement Fellowships

We will cover:

  • Overview
  • Aims and scope
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on the Teams site under the ‘Files’ section, and also saved on the I Drive at I:\RDS\Public\Funding Pipeline\Funding Development Briefings.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.

 

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on: Horizon Europe Work Programmes

The RDS Funding Development Briefings now occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 17th March, there will be a spotlight on Horizon Europe – work programmes Health, Culture and Security

We will cover:

  • Overview of Horizon Europe Work Programmes for Heath, Culture and Security
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on the Teams site under the ‘Files’ section, and also saved on the I Drive at I:\RDS\Public\Funding Pipeline\Funding Development Briefings.

Please email RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the Teams invite for these sessions.