Posts By / Matthew Bennett

Developing Research Outputs

I have put together a seven week programme of seminars that deal with research practice drawing on my own experience.  The programme is independent of any official development programme, but forms a natural complement to other things running at BU, such as the Grants and Writing Academies.  The course caters for all types of research not just those based in the sciences and the weekly sessions will consist of a seminar with an opportunity for discussion, as well as time in which participants can discuss their current projects, papers and bids.

The programme is free and open to all members of academic and professional/support staff at BU.  A certificate of attendance and completion will be issued and registration is via Organisational Development: staffdevelopment@bournemouth.ac.uk

The only pre-requisite is that participant’s make a commitment via a ‘learning contract’ to attend each of the sessions, unless absent due to unforeseen circumstances outside work.  The programme will run on Tuesday lunchtimes (12.15 to 13.45) and starts on the 21nd October 2014.  Participants are welcome to bring their lunch if they wish.  The minimum cohort size is 8 and confirmation that the programme will run will be given by 1st October 2014.  If there is sufficient interest a second cohort may run in the spring term.  You will find further details at Staff Intranet including an outline programme.

Opportunity to become Involved in a Research Study on Institutional Life Cycles

We are seeking volunteers at BU to help with a piece of research looking at the evolution of HE institutions and the evolution of individuals in the context of institutional evolution.  Professor Matthew Bennett and Dr Colleen Harding are conducting a research project which examines the evolution of BU during the last 25 years from an organisational development perspective.  BU has been selected as a case study, as part of a broader piece of research which involves two other institutions.  Both of the Principal Investigators have been participant observers during much of the change that has taken place at BU during the last decade and are ideally placed to conduct this research.  Our study extends back to the early 1990s through to the launch of the current strategic plan in 2012.  The case study will be used to develop ideas and models of institutional change applicable to the Higher Education sector as a whole. 

We are keen to invite volunteers, both past and present members of staff, who joined (and left) BU at different stages along its development journey, to contribute their thoughts and reflections on different periods of the institution’s history.  We are seeking volunteers both through an open call and by targeting individuals with direct invitations who we feel may have lived through critical periods of the institution’s history.  It is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take part.  There is no limit to the number of participants that we are seeking.  In the first instance the research will take place between September and November 2014 and consists of a one hour interview with one of the Principal Investigators.  This will be organised at your convenience, just email either Matthew or Colleen to set up a time and place.  You will be asked to sign a consent form and given a participant information sheet for the study.  The research has been ethically approved by BU.  All the data will be held confidentially and will be used in such a way as to ensure that all participants cannot be identified from the research.  If you are interested in being involved in the research we would very much like to hear from you, so please contact Matthew or Colleen by email: mbennett@bournemouth.ac.uk or charding@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

On Academic Writing

Writing is not easy, yet academics must write.  Communicating your research and ideas to your peers through writing is an essential part of an academic career, you may be doing brilliant research, you may be a fantastic speaker or teacher, but if you can’t express your ideas through the written word your career may flounder.  Writing lies at the heart of research.  There are no quick solutions, fixes or dodges and I don’t profess to have any, but I am interested in the process of writing and seek your help in exploring this.

The importance of writing is no great news and if you are, like me, dyslexic and find the challenge of writing exactly that, a challenge, then what can you do?  We all have different approaches to writing – our own coping strategies if you like – that allow us to get the words on the page, the thoughts and ideas clarified and expressed.  It is an intensely personal process and what works for me is unlikely to work for you.

So what does works for you?  How do you go about writing that difficult piece of prose?

Have a think while I share what works for me.

 

How I write

Ideas often flow better for me from conversation, but as an introvert I don’t have much time for conversation!  So I talk to myself, mentally rehearsing what needs to be said, framing initial ideas and nebulous arguments.  I can be seen on the walk to work deep in thought, in fact deep in silent conversation, and not always silent to the amusement of those that walk their dogs in the park I cross each day!

These silent conversations shape my initial draft, since when I sit down to write I am simply noting down the conversation.  I then refine this early draft picking out and questioning the logic, developing the argument as I craft iteratively the text before me.  For me writing is therefore a process of constant refinement, iteration and clarification as my ideas and argument take shape in the words that I write.

 

It’s different for everyone

Others work differently I know, my mother for example who is a retired academic talked to me recently of how she used to coin a statement, or phrase, something elegant and clever that she then picked at to see if it was true, forming her argument in light of it.  For others it is all about the research question that is being posed and I know that some of my colleagues believe that all your ideas should be formed and in sharp focus before you start to write.  It is a bit like having a beautiful artefact that they can see in their mind’s eye, which simply needs to be described.  I cannot write like this and my approach is more akin to that of Stephen King who, in his wonderful book On Writing, describes the process of writing as the excavation of a fossil with the story slowly emerging from the ground with work and care.  No one way of writing is any better than any other and each may have their own particular style that may also vary across discipline boundaries which leads to my basic question how do you approach the process of writing?

It is this question that intrigues me, a question that I would like to explore for its own sake but also perhaps because it might amuse me in time to write about it in a book or paper.

So what do I need, to help me explore this idea?

 

Getting involved

Well I need the help from my fellow academics, not just geoscientists like myself but social scientists, chemists, historians and engineers.  I am interested to know what helps you to write – a short email with ‘a brain dump’, a couple of paragraphs or a list of bullet points is all I need with your own reflections on how you approach the task of writing.  If you are not an academic but write a lot as part of your profession then drop me a line as well.  In return I will reflect on how I can best summarise, or collate your collective ideas, to play them back to the academic community in ways that would be useful for them.

So going back to the questions posed earlier – how do you write?  In framing your response it might help to reflect on the following questions, whilst also adding anything else that you feel it would be relevant for me to know.

How do you approach your academic writing?  Describe for me the process by which you shape your ideas and craft your prose from conception to completion of a piece, whether it is a journal article, a book or a chapter.

What is the most challenging part for you?  And how do you overcome this?

Where do you like to write?  Can you write anywhere – on the plane, train or in a stolen five minutes, or do you need a block of time and a quiet place, or a noisy coffee shop?

Do you write for a specific audience and journal or in a more generic form formatting once written for a particular journal?  Does this vary depending on the piece?  Do you always know where something is to be submitted before you start?  What in truth guides your choice – clinical analysis, convenience or simply the tradition in your discipline?

How do you write collaboratively?  Do you take the lead, or do you write truly by committee?

How much are you influenced by the norms of your discipline – and what is your discipline?

These are the types of thing I am interested in, I am trying not to be prescriptive and all I ask is that after some reflection you open up an email, insert my address – mbennett@bmth.ac.uk – and write to me something about how you write!  I will respond asking you to sign a consent form and with further details of the study and I promise to preserve your anonymity at all times, unless you specifically state that you are happy to be acknowledged.  Thank you.

Developing Research Outputs

Well the summer is drawing to a close and you may, or may not, have had done what you planned in way of research this summer, but if nothing else I hope you have had some fun and enjoyed your leave.  I have chosen not to post on our research blog since stepping down as PVC at Christmas, but am breaking my silence to draw your attention to a couple of things – this is the first of two posts.  The second will follow in due course and is a request for some help with a piece of research.

I have put together for the autumn a seven week programme of seminars that deal with research practice drawing on my own experience.  The programme is independent of any official development programme, but forms a natural complement to other things running at BU, such as the Grants and Writing Academies.  The course caters for all types of research not just those based in the sciences and the weekly sessions will consist of a seminar with an opportunity for discussion, as well as time in which participants can discuss their current projects, papers and bids.

The programme is free and open to all members of academic and professional/support staff at BU.  A certificate of attendance and completion will be issued and registration is via Organisational Development: staffdevelopment@bournemouth.ac.uk

The only pre-requisite is that participant’s make a commitment via a ‘learning contract’ to attend each of the sessions, unless absent due to unforeseen circumstances outside work.  The programme will run on Tuesday lunchtimes (12.15 to 13.45) and starts on the 21nd October 2014.  Participants are welcome to bring their lunch if they wish.  The minimum cohort size is 8 and confirmation that the programme will run will be given by 1st October 2014.  If there is sufficient interest a second cohort may run in the spring term.  You will find further details at Staff Intranet including an outline programme.

Congratulations and Good Luck

November saw a steady level of activity for bids being submitted and a number of awards were won with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses. 

The most notable success for this month was in the Media School and congratulations go to Jian Jun Zhang and the Centre for Digital Entertainment (a joint Centre for Doctoral Training run in collaboration with the University of Bath), which has received 8.5 years additional funding for 50 new doctoral students from the EPSRC.

For ApSci, congratulations are due to Richard Stillman for his contract with Natural England, to Adrian Pinder for his consultancy with Beacon Hill Touring Park, to Anita Diaz for her contract with the Higher Education Academy, and to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancies with SolarTech Ltd and Mark Sanderson.  Good luck to Richard Stillman for his consultancy to HR Wallingford, to Emma Jenkins for her short course on ‘Outreach Archaeology’, and to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy to T Ingram Building Contractors Ltd.

For the Business School, congratulations are due to Grants Academy member Dinusha Mendis and Davide Secchi for their contract with the Intellectual Property Office, and to Chris Chapleo for his consultancies with DevelopMyPlan Ltd and Nigel Reed Smith Ltd.  Good luck to George Filis for his ESRC application on ‘Modelling the efficient allocation of marketing and trade expenditure in the UK firms’, and to Lukman Aroean for his application to the British Council.

For DEC, congratulations to Grants Academy member Christopher Richardson and Hongnian Yu for their KTP with TDSi.  Good luck to Lai Xu, Paul de Vrieze and Keith Phalp for their application to the European Commission – ‘FITMAN – Business Process Servers in the Virtual Factory’.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Caroline Ellis-Hill for her research with The Stroke Association, to Ahmed Khattab for his award with Weill Medical College of Cornell University – Qatar, to Anthea Innes for her consultancy with Shelbourne Senior Living Ltd, and to Vanora Hundley, Zoe Sheppard and Edwin van Teijlingen for their conference on Midwifery and the post MDG agenda.  Congratulations are due for a number of short courses to Keith Brown with Cheshire West and Chester Council, to Luisa Cescutti-Butler with Great Western Hospital NHS Trust and with Eastbourne District General Hospital, to Grants Academy member Michele Board with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, to Clive Andrewes and Sarah Gallimore with the University of Iceland, and to Vanora Hundley, Grants Academy member Marilyn Cash and Edwin van Teijlingen for their Masterclass in Systematic Reviews.  Good luck to Lee-Ann Fenge for her application to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and to Anthea Innes and Clare Cutler for their application also to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, to Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor for her KTP to Five Rivers Child Care Trust, and to Maggie Hutchings for her contract to the Department of Health.

As mentioned above, congratulations to the Media School for Jian Jun Zhang’s continued funding for the Centre for Digital Entertainment from the EPSRC.  Congratulation are also due to Tom Watson for his contract with the British Council, to Melanie Gray for her consultancy with Captec Ltd, to Liam Toms for his consultancy with WISH (Women in Social Housing), to Stephanie Farmer for her consultancy with THAT Bournemouth Company Ltd, and to Anthony Minto for his consultancy with the iHeed Institute.  Good luck to Stephanie Farmer for her consultancy with 4com, to Anna Feigenbaum for her application to the Wellcome Trust, to Jian Chang and Jian Jun Zhang for their European Commission application on ‘Animated platform for closed-loop virtual experiments of neurobots’, to Liam Toms for his consultancy to Craft Realities Ltd and for his joint consultancy, together with Mike Molesworth, to Cammegh Davies Flemming.

For School of Tourism, congratulations to Richard Gordon for his consultancy with the British High Commission, to Ehren Milner for his contract with Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS) and his consultancy with Bath Museum Partnership, and to Heather Hartwell, Katherine Appleton (DEC), Ann Hemingway (HSC) and Ann Bevan (HSC) for their European Commission project ‘VeggieEAT’.  Good luck to Janet Dickinson for her application to the AHRC and her contract to Dorset County Council, and to Richard Gordon for his consultancy to the Royal Office of Oman.

Best wishes

Matthew

The Big Red Button

Actually it was yellow and there were several!  And yes we submitted our REF submission this morning; something of an anti-climax to be honest after three years of preparation and a huge amount of work by a large number of people especially over the last few weeks.  In terms of statistics we have:

  • submitted in eight units, notably for the first time in Psychology as well as in Leisure and Tourism;
  • 33% of eligible academic staff have been returned, up by 10% on RAE-2008 with a growth of 15% in eligible staff over the same period;
  • just over 40% of eligible staff were considered for selection;
  • our biggest submission, just short of 30 FTE, and is Geography/Archaeology;
  • we have submitted 22 Impact Case Studies and prepared many more. 

These numbers and statistics do not reflect the huge amount of work done by our UoA Leaders and their advisors, or the academics who have contributed the outputs to be returned and we salute you all for your work.  But in truth this is not the work of a few but a collective endeavour – academic and non-academic colleagues – a tribute to us all.  Without the selfless work of academics covering teaching while others have focused on research, without others generating RKE income, or supervising PGR students our collective success would not have been possible.  As such it is something that we should all feel proud of since we have all contributed whether returned with outputs or not.  As such we should be proud, whatever the outcome next December, of what we have achieved together.  The blood, sweat and toil is still written large in a few peoples’ mind at the moment; but boy will it be worth it and thank you!

Congratulations and Good Luck

October saw an increase in activity for bids being submitted and a number of awards were won with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses.

For ApSci, congratulations are due to Adrian Pinder for his consultancies with Natural England, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Aluna Foundation, to Paola Palma for her contract with English Heritage, and to Jonny Monteith for his consultancies with Churchfield Farm, Roofing Cladding & Building Ltd, Sembcorp Bournemouth Water Ltd, Anesco, and Sherborne Castle Estates.  Good luck to Adrian Pinder, Roger Herbert and Adrian Newton for their consultancy to New Forest National Park Authority, and to Grants Academy member Amanda Korstjens for her application to AHRC investigating the feedback loops between our diets, societies and bodies.

For the Business School, good luck to Tim Ford, Mark Painter and Dean Patton for their consultancy to RBS Group, to Grants Academy member Max Lowenstein for his application to Socio-Legal Studies Association, to George Filis and Hossein Hassani who have submitted individual applications to the British Academy, to Aroean Lukman for his contract to the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science, to Juliet Memery and Dawn Birch for their application to British Academy of Management, and to Huiping Xian and Julie Robson who have submitted individual applications to the British Academy of Management.

For DEC, congratulations to Hongnian Yu and Shuang Cang (ST) for their Erasmus Mundus award with the European Commission, to Bob Eves and Siamak Noroozi for their Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Consolor, to Biao Zeng and Jian Jun Zhang (MS) for their contract with Hunan Tianpei IT Ltd for a match funded student, and to Zulfiqar Khan and Mark Hadfield for their contract with Future Energy Source.  Good luck to Katherine Appleton for separate applications to the MRC and ESRC, to Sarah Williams for her application to NIHR, to Simon Thompson and Jian Jun Zhang (MS) for their application to the British Academy identifying yawning in neurological disorders by facial capture techniques, to Jan Weiner, Samuel Nyman and Anthea Innes (HSC) for their application to Alzheimer’s Research UK, to Jianbing Ma who has applied to the Royal Society, and to Tania Humphries-Smith, Nigel Garland, Mark Hadfield, Clive Hunt and Philip Sewell for their EPDE conference with the Institute of Engineering Designers.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Anthea Innes and Michele Board for their successful Erasmus LLP with the European Commission, to Anthea Innes, Michele Board, Sarah Hambidge, Samuel Nyman and Jan Weiner for their ESRC Festival of Social Science application ‘Dementia in Dorset – what does this mean for you?’, and to Lee-Ann Fenge, Maggie Hutchings, Jen Leamon and Anne Quinney for their ESRC Festival of Social Science application ‘Promoting dignity through understanding narratives of care’, and to Anthea Innes for her contract with Quantum LifeCare.  Good luck to Sara Crabtree and Gail Thomas for their application to Wellcome Trust, to Jonathan Parker and Sara Crabtree for their application to the British Academy, to Luisa Cescutti-Butler for her short courses to Great Western Hospital NHS Trust and to Eastbourne District General Hospital, to Vanora Hundley, Edwin Van Teijlingen and Ann Luce for their application to the British Academy, and to Anthea Innes for her Wellcome Trust application.

Congratulations to the MS for Jian Jun Zhang, Jian Chang and Lihua You for their successful European Commission application for user centred computer animation techniques, they also, together with Xiaosong Yang, successfully secured a second European Commission application for ‘Dr Inventor’, to Stephanie Farmer for her consultancies with Borough of Poole and also Tribal Education Ltd, which the latter was joint with Anthony Minto, to Liam Toms for his consultancy with Doppelganger Productions, and to Rebecca Jenkins and Grants Academy member Mike Molesworth for their consultancy with Work Research Ltd.  Good luck to Barry Richards and Roman Gerodimos for their application to AHRC, to Chris Pullen for his application to the British Academy, to Roman Geromidos for his submission to The Spencer Foundation, to Jian Chang, Hongchuan Yu and Jian Jun Zhang for their Royal Society of Medicine application researching smart mobile production of computer animation, to Jamie Matthews for his application to the Japan Foundation Endowment Committee, to Lihua You and Jian Jun Zhang for their Royal Society application, and to Julian McDougall and Ashley Woodfall for their application to NESTA.

For ST, congratulations to Lisa Stuchberry and Jon Hibbert for their contract with Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS), to Richard Gordon and Mike Evans (ApSci) for their consultancies with the British High Commission Nigeria and also with the British Embassy, and to Ehren Milner for his consultancy with Dorset County Council.  Good luck to Grants Academy member Alessandro Inversini for his ESRC application on strategic and tactical use of tourism technologies in developing countries, to Andrew Adams for his British Academy application, to Grants Academy member Debbie Sadd for her Leverhulme Trust application, to Charles McIntyre for his consultancy to Winchester Council, and to Ehren Milner for his consultancy to Bath Museum Partnership.

Congratulations and Good Luck

September saw a slight reduction of activity for bids being submitted and a number of awards were won with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses.

For ApSci, congratulations are due to Adrian Newton, Ralph Clarke and Judith DeGroot (DEC) for their NERC grant, which is part of the Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) project, to Fiona Coward and Bronwen Russell for their short course on an introduction to world prehistory, to Richard Stillman for his award from Scottish Natural Heritage, to Rick Stafford, Genoveva Esteban, Duncan Golicher and Roger Herbert for their NERC award, to Jonathan Monteith for his two consultancies with Anesco, as well as consultancies with Sherborne Castle Estates and Distributed Generation Ltd, and to Adrian Pinder for his consultancy with the Environment Agency.  Good luck to Paola Palma for her application to English Heritage, to John Gale for his short course on Guided walk – aspects of prehistoric West Dorset, to Adrian Pinder for his consultancies to Natural England and to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, to Rick Stafford and Chris Shiel for their application to Higher Education Academy, to Sulaf Assi for her consultancy to Royal Society of Chemistry, and to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy to Roofing Cladding & Building Ltd.

For the Business School, good luck to Melanie Klinkner, Sascha Dominik Bachmann and Howard Davis for their application to United States Institute of Peace, to Thanh Cong Huynh for his European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship, to Gbola Gbadamosi and Lois Farquharson for their application to the Higher Education Academy to investigate the contribution of aspirations in shaping personal trajectories and outcomes, and to Hiroko Oe for her application to the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

For DEC, congratulations to Simon Thompson and Biao Zeng for their pilot study on Auditory Selective Attention and Lexical Tone Perception under a Whisper Condition for Chongqing University.  Good luck to Andrew Johnson for his application to Wellcome Trust, to Martin Teal and Glyn Hadley for their application to Royal Academy of Engineering to research Virtual Reality Simulation of WW1 Tank Battles, to Jacqui Taylor, Raian Ali and Keith Phalp for their match funded studentships to Higher Education Academy, to Marcin Budka for his EPSRC application, and to Sarah Bate for her application to the British Psychological Society.

For HSC, a number of short courses were awarded and so congratulations are due to Anthea Innes working with Bournemouth Borough Council, to Clive Andrewes with Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS, and to grants academy member Jane Murphy, Joanne Holmes and Sophie Smith with Abbeyfield Solent Society Ltd.  Good luck to Fotini Tsofliou for his pilot study to Rank Prize Funds, to Maggie Hutchings, Caroline Ellis-Hill and Janet Scammell for their application to the Higher Education Academy to explore the education strategies to empower students in humanising care, to Jen Leamon, Marilyn Cash and Vanora Hundley for their Higher Education Academy application to promote employability of dyslexic student midwives whilst protecting the public, to Tim Etheridge for his bid to Rank Prize Funds, to Peter Thomas for his application to Cancer Research UK, and to Anthea Innes and Sarah Hambidge for their application to Alzheimer’s Society.

Congratulations to the MS for An Nguyen for his contract with World Federation of Science Journalists, to grants academy members Dan Jackson and Shelly Thompson for their consultancy with Work Research Ltd, and to Zhidong Xiao for his short course with Wuhan Vocational College of Software and Engineering.  Good luck to Trevor Hearing who has submitted a HEFCE bid for postgraduate support in creative and digital economies, to Stephanie Farmer for her consultancy to 4com, to Alexander Pasko and Peter Comninos for their application to Interreg, to Melanie Gray and Pawel  Surowiec for their separate consultancies to Captec Ltd, and to Liam Toms for his consultancy to WISH.

For ST, congratulations to Ehren Milner for his consultancy with West Dorset District Council.  Good luck to Heather Hartwell, Adele Ladkin, Stephen Page and Ann Hemingway (HSC) for their ESRC application for ‘Promotion of wellbeing as a destination resource’, to Lisa Stuchberry and Jon Hibbert for their consultancy to Bournemouth Borough Council, to Richard Gordon and Mike Evans (ApSci) for their consultancy for British High Commission Nigeria, and to Ehren Milner for his contract to Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS).

Best wishes

Matthew

Where Has the Fun Gone?

Research is fun; fun is research!  Appraisal targets, REF, RKE income targets, online journal submission systems, conferences – just to name a few of my personal bête noirs – all squeeze the fun out of research for me.  They all matter, no doubt about it, but they are all terribly serious!  Give me a pair of boots, a spade and a note book in some distant field and the stress of the world disappears to be replaced by the intellectual puzzle before me, the banter of my colleagues and a story to tell of past events!  Now that is fun and that is what research means to me.  That is when research is at its most fun, an experience immortalised and crowned by a published paper with illustrations crafted by my own hand.  I would love to know when research is most fun for you?  In fact I am committing myself this autumn to the leading the research is fun campaign!  So why not join me and share your experiences?

Congratulation and Good Luck

August saw a busy period of activity for bids being submitted and a number of awards were won with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses.

There were a significant number of European Commission Marie Curie Fellowships submitted in August and so good luck goes to EUADS member Anita Diaz, and to Robert Britton for his three applications, both from ApSci, to Mark Hadfield, and also to Feng Tian and Chang Liu for their applications, all from DEC, to Vanora Hundley from HSC, to Jian Chang, Darren Lilleker (both EUADS members), Hammadi Nait-Charif, Lihua You, An Duc Nguyen for their individual applications, along with EUADS member Barry Richards for his two applications and a joint submission from Alexander Pasko, Valery Adzhiev and Oleg Fryazinov, all from the Media School, and to Ana Adi (MS) and Debbie Sadd (ST) for their joint application, and finally to Heather Hartwell from the School of Tourism, who is also a member of EUADS.

For ApSci, congratulations are due to Mark Maltby for his AHRC Large Grant to research Chickens and People: Past, Present and Future.  Mark will lead on this collaborative project for over £1.5M, working with several University partners.  Congratulations are also due to Adrian Pinder for two consultancies with the Forestry Commission and Natural England, the latter also involving Grants Academy member Pippa Gillingham, Roger Herbert and Richard Stillman, and to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy with WPA Consultants.  Good luck to Richard Stillman for his contract to Natural England, and to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancies to Anesco and to Churchfield Farm. 

For the Business School, congratulations to Grants Academy member Dinusha Mendis for her contract with the University of Glasgow.  Good luck to Lois Farquharson for her consultancy to CAFCASS, and to Yasmin Sekhon and Elvira Bolat for their application to Academy of Marketing.

For DEC, congratulations to Sarah Bate for her award from the British Psychological Society to launch the Face Blindness awareness campaign, and to Chris Benjamin for his Sonar short Course to be held in September.  Good luck to Christos Gatzidis for his application to Leverhulme, to Grants Academy member Raian Ali for his application to EPSRC for Software Engineering Framework for Systematic Social Sensing, to Christopher Richardson and Hongnian Yu for their KTP to TDSi, to Shamal Faily and Cornelius Ncube for their application to Centre for Defence Enterprise, and to Venky Dubey for his application to UK Science and Innovation Network.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Jane Murphy and Joanne Holmes for their Burdett Trust for Nursing project to research ‘Empowering nurses and care home staff to lead excellence in nutrition and dignity in dementia care’, to Clive Andrewes for his short course with Poole Hospital NHS Trust, and to Keith Brown for his two short courses with Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust and Worcestershire County Council.  Good luck to Jonathan Williams for his application to the Private Physiotherapy Educational Fund, and to Keith Brown for his short course to Cheshire West and Chester Council, and his contract to Croydon Council.

Congratulations to the Media School for Liam Toms two consultancies with Swann Recruitment Ltd and Doppelganger Productions.  Good luck to Julian McDougall for his application to AHRC, to An Duc Nguyen for his contract to the World Federation of Science Journalists, and to Richard Scullion, Rebecca Jenkins, Iain MacRury and Mike Molesworth for their application to the Society for Research into Higher Education to map out best practice in factors influencing recruitment, retention and the student experience in a marketised Higher Education.

For the School of Tourism T, congratulations to John Fletcher, Adam Blake and Yeganeh Morakabati for their contract with Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce, to Lisa Stuchberry, Jon Hibbert and Nicky Pretty for their contract with Bournemouth Borough Council, to Richard Gordon for his short course in International Disaster Management to run in September, to Lisa Stuchberry, Jon Hibbert and Lauren Thom for their contract with Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and for their consultancy with West Dorset District Council, and to Crispin Farbrother for his short course with Wuhan City Vocational College.

New Term, New Research Themes!

I posted earlier in the summer to let you know of the changes to the research themes (Looking to the Horizons).  We are about to launch them on the world so I thought it would be worth saying a few more words about them.  The themes were used to categorise events that ran as part of the Festival of Learning in June and the themes icons also formed part of the design and branding of the Festival.  You may also have noticed that the themes have been used in the new Postgraduate Prospectus and they will be used to structure the revised research pages on the web; yes, finally we are getting some revised pages after several false starts!  The revised pages are due to be launched in the autumn to tidy things up in time for our REF submission which is submitted in November.  We are also deep in planning for next year’s Festival of Learning and hope that each theme will showcase their work through a series of engaging events.

On Tuesday to Friday this week there will be an update each day from two of the Research Themes detailing activities that have taken place within the themes over the past twelve months and what the theme aims to do in future.

The Research Themes part of the Blog has now been redesigned with the new themes (http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/research-themes/) and I encourage you to take a look.  If you’re not already a member of one or more of the themes then you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this post.

It would be a great help if you could let me know of a few choice examples of projects under each theme; things that you would like me to use while promoting the themes in the coming weeks.  Just drop me a line with the project and a short paragraph, it would be a great help!

 

Sign up to the BU Research Themes here!

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Staff or PGR student? (required)
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Please select the themes that you are interested in (required)

Being Creative?

Some would say, me included, that BU has until recently been rather insular and not very well embedded within its region.  We have often viewed with suspicion requests to collaborate and seen our region simply as a source of enterprise income rather than a source of fruitful collaboration.  During the last year we have spent a huge amount of time and effort in changing this and embracing the true concept of knowledge exchange as a real, meaningful and two-way exchange of information.  As a result our influence within the region is growing and we are seen by many key stakeholders as crucial to generating regional economic growth, something which is a mirror of current government policy.  As a Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), where I represent both our region’s Universities, I have used my position to promote a more open and accessible HE sector willing to engage and invest in our region’s growth.  The LEP is currently working on its Local Growth Strategy, along with a regional Skills Plan and a strategy to underpin its future management of EU Structural Investment Funds (EUSIF).  Graduate retention and the creation of high skills jobs are keys to continued economic growth within Dorset.  BU believes that the Creative and Digital, along with the Health and Social Care sectors are crucial to achieving this and we are actively promoting these areas along with more traditional ones like advanced manufacturing and big data. 

By way of illustration, in June this year we helped to orchestrate the signing of a regional Manifesto for the Creative and Digital Economy which brought together private and public bodies, as well as the regions’ politicians, in a commitment to support and grow the creative and digital sector.  The long-term vision is to establish Dorset as an international hub for creative and digital businesses.

 A key outcome from the manifesto was the creation of a working group tasked with turning the manifesto’s vision into a reality.   The working group, chaired by David Ford, Chief Executive of Bright Blue Day, is made up of senior representatives from business, the public sector and education.   BU is wholly committed to driving delivery of the manifesto’s vision and we have made a number of commitments (both financial and in-kind) to support the work.  One of these was a commitment of staff time from BU and Samantha Leahy-Harland from OVC is spending half her working week supporting David Ford on taking forward the manifesto.  Currently the team are finalising the brand for the initiative which I hopefully will be able to share very soon.  Another commitment made by BU and Bournemouth Borough Council was to support Matt Desmier, a creative consultant, in the creation of Think Create Do, an online portal to support the creative and digital media economy locally.  Think Create Do will include a jobs board with opportunities for students, a news feed, events diary and a directory of local businesses.  The site goes live in the autumn and I’ll post with more details in due course.  Matt Desmier is of course also behind the annual Silicon Beach Conference [http://www.siliconbeach.eu/index.html], now in its third year, and of which BU is proud to again be a sponsor.  Longer term we hope to support the creation of Dorset’s own creative and digital village.  I will keep you posted and would be happy to discuss our regional agenda with groups of interested staff over the next few months.

Money, Money …. Money Makes the World go Around?

Now even I know that this is a line from a song – we have established previously my lack of musical education I think?  According to Google it is a song in the musical Cabaret and perhaps made famous by Liza Minnelli?  Who knows, but the line chimes (forgive the pun) with a point raised by a colleague in a recent promotion forum I was chairing; why does everything revolve around money? 

I have been reflecting on this, as I do about most things, and think it deserves a fuller answer.  The context was that in any senior promotion discussion the amount of money one brings in becomes relevant whether it’s through educational innovation or research and why should this be true?  Why should it be up there with for example producing written output or delivering top quality education?  We have Performance Indicators within BU2018 that focus on money.  For example, we aspire that by 2018: every academic should generate at least £18k of Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) income; every Professor should be associated with at least one and half post-docs; and that every academic should supervise at least one PGR student.  As a community we dedicated ourselves as part of BU2018 to maintaining a similar sized student body and to increasing the proportion of postgraduate students to around 40%, something that will require a lot of portfolio innovation.  Let us be honest, all these PI’s revolve around generating income and we all need to play a role in bringing the cash in, so in this context cash does matter and yes it does make our University World spin.

However there is a huge but here; it is not about the income itself but about what it allows you to do that matters.  Some of you will have heard me use the line about ‘being a time lord’ before but, however corny it might be, it is the real justification for why academics need to work together to generate RKE income.  As academics we are limited by time, it is the elephant in the room whenever we talk about work load planning, it stalks us daily in our working lives.  But the way to cheat the clock is to build a team; a team of research students, of post-doc’s or visiting academics.  If you build a team then you cease to be limited by the clock but by inspiration and imagination!  That is why RKE income matters, because it allows you to build that team, to live beyond the clock!  That is why we have income targets around RKE not for the sake of the cash itself.

It is the same with education.  Innovation around new courses, units and delivery models ultimately brings in more students especially in the deregulated parts of the market (e.g. ABB+, international, postgraduate and CPD).  That income allows us to recruit more academics, to invest in better estate and, therefore, a better experience for our staff and students.  So yes income does matter, but not for the sake of cash itself, but what that cash allows us to do. 

By way of example, a few years back I ran a small consultancy operation out of BU in the field of contaminated land.  Not an area that particularly interests me but one in which I could generate income for BU, part of which was invested back into my research.  In fact that income helped finance my work in East Africa, leading to my footprint paper in Science, and ultimately to my current NERC grant which finishes this September.  The income I generated helped me to get promotion and more importantly fulfil one of my most cherished research ambitions.  So yes income does make our University World spin and we all have a role to play.  The Grants Academy is there to help you get started and the staff of the Research Development Unit are there to help, so why not help to make our World spin this coming year?

First Impressions

Let’s face it when BRIAN was launched last year the staff profile pages, which drew information from it and were written in something called VIVO, were less than satisfactory!  Lots of technical problems with the input data from BRIAN and its presentation was not up to BU’s normal standard.  You expressed your concerns in no uncertain terms and we have now put it right.  Working with academic colleagues IT and M&C have worked hard over the summer to construct a completely new interface, not in an obscure computer code but in something we can maintain and evolve easily ourselves.  They have done a brilliant piece of work, so BRIAN has a new set of external clothes and they rock!

After all, first impressions count and the staff pages are a crucial portal through which we present our academic achievements and expertise; and in reverse it is a lens for the world to view and search the wonderful talent that exists here at BU.  The new pages go live at the start of October 2013; they are finished and ready but there is an upgrade to BRIAN due in September which needs to be installed first.

 The improvements include:

 –       A more professional look and feel

–       The opportunity to showcase selected publications

–       Users can upload their own photo (via BRIAN)

–       Improved searching by name, keyword

–       Closer integration with the research themes

–       Fixing the technical problems we have experienced

Since we have developed this interface ourselves here at BU we can develop it further and continue to respond to your feedback.  The BRIAN team are managing the development of the replacement.  If you would like to know more about the project, please email BRIAN@bournemouth.ac.uk.

 The staff profile pages will continue to use data drawn from BRIAN so please keep updating your content in BRIAN since a profile is only as good as the input!  There should be no impact on staff during the switch to the new pages, although there may be minor disruption to the availability of the profile pages during the transition.  Let me know what you think of the new pages?

Congratulations and Good Luck

July saw a low level of activity for bids being submitted but we did have more awarded with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses.

For Applied Science, congratulations are due to Jonathan Monteith for his four consultancies with North Mead Farm, Merryfield Park Partnership, New Forest National Park Authority and Balfour Beatty Construction, to Kathy Hodder for her consultancy with Fieldwork Ecological Services Ltd, and to Holger Schutkowski for his consultancy with Cellmark Forensic Services.  Good luck to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy with WPA Consultants, to Adrian Pinder for his consultancy with the Forestry Commission, to Richard Stafford and Roger Herbert for their application to NERC in connection with marine ecosystems, and to Adrian Newton for his application to DfID regarding livelihood and biodiversity benefits from forest transitions in Mesoamerica.

For the Business School, congratulations to Jens Holscher for his ESRC Festival of Social Science project for ‘Finance for Small Firms’.

Good luck to DEC, for Venky Dubey’s application to NIHR researching patient specific advanced epidural simulator to improve patient safety, to Katherine Appleton for her application to NIHR for a pilot study to test implementation of a food-based rewards intervention in secondary schools, and to Sarah Bate for her application to the British Psychology Society to launch the Face Blindness awareness campaign.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Les Todres and Caroline Ellis-Hill for their contract with the Burdett Trust for Nursing, to Keith Brown for his consultancy with Skills for Care, to Grants Academy member Vanora Hundley for her two matched funded PhD contracts and her contract ‘Every reason to SMiLE’ all with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, to Anthea Innes for her two matched funded PhD contracts with Hamble Heights and Guild Care, and to Sarah Hean, also a Grants Academy member, for her matched funded PhD contract with Legal and General.  Good luck to Sarah Hean for her contract to the British Council, and to Keith Brown for his contract to Mouchel Management Consulting Ltd.

Congratulations to the Media School for Rebecca Jenkins and Mike Molesworth for their consultancy with Work Research Ltd, to Anthony Minto and Peter Truckel for their consultancy with iHeed Institute, and to Grants Academy member Carrie Hodges for her ESRC project ‘Seen but seldom heard, which is together with Wendy Cutts and Lee-Ann Fenge from HSC.  Good luck to Chris Pullen for his Leverhulme application for an interactive Ebook on diversity and family, and to Tom Watson for his contract to the British Council.

For School of Tourism, congratulations to Lisa Stuchberry, Stephen Calver, Anya Chapman, Nicky Pretty and Lauren Thom for their consultancy with Marketing Blackpool, to Dimitrios Buhalis, Philip alford and Alessandro Inversini for their ESRC Festival of Social Science project, Richard Gordon for his short course with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and to Lisa Stuchberry, Jon Hibbert and Lauren Thom for their contract with Christchurch Borough Council to carry out a residents survey.  Good luck to Dimitrios Buhalis and Alessandro Inversini, who is a Grants Academy member, for their application to European Commission.

Best wishes

Matthew

On My To Do List

Do you have an ever growing list of things that you need to do?  Do you keep it written down or like me swirling in your head?  In truth, I have in recent years had to resort to using a list of actions that sits alongside my email and have various jotted notes as well.  Anyway my point is?

 My point is that sitting at the top of my ‘to do’ list this week is to complete the mandatory ethics module for all researchers at BU [Research Ethics].  The clock is ticking and this needs to be completed by the end of September by all academic staff.  This includes all BU employees who supervise students on dissertations/thesis, part-time hourly lecturers who supervise students, academic staff who are not research active and demonstrators/technical staff who assist with dissertation supervision; everyone in fact!  It is also mandatory for all new starters and PGR students.  So why, I hear you ask?

 We all face ethical questions within our research, even those like me that like to work on inanimate rocks!  Should one collect a rock sample, pocket that fossil and what are the implications of doing so?  Ethics impacts on all research and understanding the basic issues and when formal approval is needed and when it is not, is vital for all researchers.  Our Ethics Policy and procedures are still relatively new which reflects our institutional history and the fact that we don’t have a large medical faculty.  However, most of our research does involve people and ethics can’t be ignored.  A year ago we tightened up our procedures around ethics, introducing the online ethics checklist, and are currently revising our ethics codes with the intention of making further changes to procedures this autumn.  This reflects a growing institutional maturity and also, disturbingly for me, a growing body of case law. 

Raising institutional awareness of ethics is therefore both timely and, in my experience over this last year, much needed.  Completing the course ‘Ethics 1: Good Research Practice’ and passing the online test is mandatory for all staff including myself!  There is also a second module ‘Ethics 2: Working with Human Subjects’ that is recommended for those working with human participants (directly or indirectly) in research projects.  You gain access to the modules by logging in to myBU and clicking on ‘Research Ethics’ under the ‘My Communities’ tab. 

I would encourage you all to complete the module, since the draconian bit – yes sorry – is that staff who don’t complete the training will be excluded from applying for BU funding (e.g., Fusion Investment Funding and BU Studentships) and participating on BU development schemes.  So I had better stop writing and get on with doing the module!

 

Congratulations and Good Luck

June saw a slight increase in activity for bids being submitted and awarded with congratulations due to Schools for winning research grants, consultancy contracts and organising Short Courses.

For ApSci, congratulations are due to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy with Distributed General Ltd, and to John Gale for his contract with Heritage Lottery Fund.  Good luck to Jonathan Monteith for his consultancy with Merryfield Park Partnership, and to Kathy Hodder for her consultancy with Fieldwork Ecological Service Ltd.

For the Business School, congratulations to Ruth Towse and Maurizio Borghi for their AHRC research project in Music Publishing.  Good luck to Tim Ford and Mark Painter for their consultancy to RBS Group, to Lois Farquharson, Fabian Homberg, Roger Palmer and Dean Patton for their consultancy to Wiltshire Probation Trust.

Good luck to DEC, for Bob Eves KTP project with Consoler, to Sarah Williams for her application to MQ: Transforming Mental Health, to Christos Gatzidis for his application to Leverhulme, to Bogdan Gabrys and Marcin Budka for their submission to ITaaU Network, to Chang Liu, Sarah Bate, Angela Gosling and Nicola Gregory for their application to the Royal Society to research the cultural influence on typical and atypical development of face perception.

For HSC, congratulations are due to Keith Brown for his short courses with Powys County Council, to Lee-Ann Fenge, Keith Brown and Lynne Rutter for their contract with Hampshire County Council.  Good luck to Peter Thomas and Zoe Sheppard for their application to the National Institute for Health Research, to Anthea Innes, Michele Board and Sarah Hambridge from HSC, together with Sam Nyman and Jan Wiener from DEC, for their application to the ESRC Festival of Social Science, to Jonathan Parker and Sara Crabtree for their contract to IASSW, to Andrew Harding, Sue Baron, Di Galpin, Edwin van Teijlingen and Cate Wood for their contract to the Royal College of General Practitioners, to Lee-Ann Fenge, Maggie Hutchings, Jen Leamon and Anne Quinney who have also applied to the ESRC Festival of Social Science, to Keith Brown for his short course for Worcestershire County Council.

Congratulations to the Media School for Bronwen Thomas and Julia Round’s AHRC project for Research Networking Researching Readers Online, to Zhidong Xiao for his consultancy with the University of Bedfordshire, and to Stephanie Farmer for her consultancy to Nuffield Health, Chichester.  Good luck to Liam Toms for his consultancy to Doppelganger Productions, to Zhidong Xiao for his short course with Wuhan Vocational College of Software and Engineering, to Carrie Hodges of the Media School, Lee-Ann Fenge and Wendy Cutts from HSC for their application to ESRC, and to Julian McDougall of the Media School and Dinusha Mendes of the Business School for their application to the European Commission.

For School of Tourism, good luck to Heather Hartwell for her European application to COST on shaping consumer behaviour and food choice, and her application, together with Sean Beer and Jeff Bray, to the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and to Katherine King and Alessandro Inversini for their application to European Commission.

Looking to the Horizons

One of the fundamental foundations of BU2018 is that we should take an outward looking perspective, a look beyond the campus boundary.  It is a significant feature within our commitment to societally led research and our commitment to Professional Practice as a core component of Fusion.  This practice is about engagement with external stake holders contributing via thought leadership and research but above all else listening and channelling that information inward to ensure that the research we do is relevant to the big issues our society faces and that the education we deliver also meets society’s needs.  It is the difference between a self-determined research and educational agenda – ‘we know best’ – to one that places listening and responding to societal need at its core.  It is this idea that lies behind our eight societal research themes which have been live now for over 18 months.  They act as shop windows for our research, as vehicles for inter-disciplinary and cross-university collaboration and as a rallying point for our different research communities. 

They were informed at inception by the key themes identified by funding councils and government strategy, filtered through our bespoke academic footprint.  It was always intended that there would be an element of Darwinian competition between them and that they would change over time to reflect emerging strengths within the organisation and changing external agenda. 

I launched a quick review of the research themes at the start of 2013 and after some discussion within the University Research and Knowledge Exchange (URKE) Committee some changes were recommended to strengthen our proposition and to ensure visibility of some of our core strengths.  The explicit recognition (and also control) of subthemes was one outcome, as was the recognition of Aging and Dementia as a separate theme in light of the fantastic work of BU Dementia Institute.  The total number of themes remains at eight and the list below provides confirmation of the changes agreed by the URKE Committee and will come into enforce from the September. 

1. Creative, Digital and Cognitive Science

  • NCCA
  • Big Data Centre
  • Creative Design
  • Software systems and security
  • Cognition in Action

2. Communities, Cultures and Conflicts NCPQSW

  • Crisis and conflict
  • Diversity and difference
  • Past peoples and societies

 3. Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth

  • Centre for Entrepreneurship

4. Biodiversity, Environmental Change and Green Economy

  • Biodiversity
  • Green economy and sustainability

5. Lifelong Health and wellbeing

  • Psychology, health and human fulfilment
  • Health and practice development

6. Leisure, Recreation and Tourism  

7. Ageing, Society and Dementia      

8. Technology and Design

  • Medical and robotic engineering
  • Renewable technology
  • SMART technology