Posts By / Rachel Bowen

The fine art of healthcare: using art to think about people and practice

The first of this academic year’s inaugural lectures will take place on Tuesday 23 October in the Shelley Theatre.  Professor Sam Porter will be discussing the ways in which art can influence health practices.

For the American philosopher, John Dewey, the importance of works of art lies in the fact that they ‘are the most intimate and energetic means of aiding individuals to share in the arts of living’. They distil the meanings behind our experiences and provide us with the opportunity to consider them from a fresh perspective.The ‘arts of living’ that will be considered in this lecture are those related to health, illness and care.Through exploring artworks from many different genres, this inaugural lecture given by Professor Sam Porter, will encourage us to think about how art can help us to improve healthcare.

Professor Sam Porter is a nurse by profession and a sociologist by academic training. His research ventures into one of the most difficult and sensitive areas of human experience: caring for people who are reaching the end of their lives. In addition to his role as the Head of Department for Social Sciences and Social Work, Professor Porter is researching issues such as the use of music therapy in hospice care, how family members can best care for their dying loved ones, and how care homes can be supported to provide excellent end of life care.

Free tickets can be booked here.

Details about whole series can be found here.

Rohingya refugees remain a heavy burden on Bangladesh

The Rohingya people of Myanmar are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The Myanmar government doesn’t consider them as citizens and deprives them of basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

To avoid persecution, waves of Rohingya people have taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh in recent decades, with particular flash points in 1978, 1992 and 2012.

The latest and largest mass exodus to Bangladesh took place in late August 2017. Within a month, around half a million Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh. This influx gradually slowed down, but did not stop there. A year later, the total number of Rohingya in Bangladesh is estimated to be 918,000, with around 700,000 new arrivals since August 2017.

The Rohingya refugees are confined within several camps in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, which are managed jointly by the government and a coordinating body of international organisations called the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). The largest of these, which I visited in August 2018, is known as the Kutupalong camp and hosts more than a half a million people. The camp seems neverending, with shelters, shops and narrow paths leading to every corner.

The Kutupalong site covers about 6,000 acres and is densely populated with eight square metres per person. The sites are highly vulnerable to rain, floods, cyclones, fire and landslides. Access to basic services is still insufficient, and there are poor quality shelters, latrines and delivery clinics. According to the ISCG’s 2018 joint response plan, 12,200 metric tonnes of food per month and 16m litres of safe water per day are needed to sustain the refugee population.

Disappearing forests

From what I saw, the environmental impact of the crisis is clearly devastating. A local forest officer told me that, in the past, the site upon which the Kutupalong camp now stands was a protected forest. Now, not a single large tree can be seen.

Many local Bangladeshis around the camps previously depended on nearby forests – to collect honey, and use dead branches and leaves as firewood. These forests are now disappearing.

Near the camp, I saw many large holes, evidence of the complete uprooting of trees to meet the demands for firewood. Bangladesh’s forest department is relentlessly trying to protect the nearby forests, but doesn’t have enough manpower to maintain the vigil 24 hours a day.

There is no clear boundary to the camp, and nearby I saw some Bangladeshi settlements. The demarcation is obvious: if a group of houses is surrounded by large trees then it is a Bangladeshi settlement, if not, it’s a Rohingya settlement.

The area used to be a habitat for many forest animals including about 40 elephants. The animals are now all gone and the elephants are trapped in another small patch of forest nearby, a local forest officer told me. In the early part of 2018, some elephants attacked Rohingya settlements.

Impact on local economy

The local economy of the camps seem to be thriving and the Kutupalong site is full of small shops selling many kinds of goods. The shop sellers are largely Rohingya, though there is reportedly some Bangladeshi involvement, too.

The presence of the refugees has imposed a heavy financial burden on the Bangladeshi government. One government officer told me that about 2,000 government officials are involved in the management of the camps at various levels – at an annual cost of US$15.24m to the Bangladeshi government. This is a huge sum, considering the per capita annual GDP of Bangladesh is only about US$1,700.

It was the local community in the area that provided much needed early support to Rohingya refugees in August 2017, before aid arrived. Since then, research has begun to highlight the impact of the Rohingya refugees on the local communities, including on the price of local goods and on the local job market

In June 2018, the Bangladesh government signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of facilitating the voluntary repatriation of 700,000 Rohingya back to Myanmar, but the prospect of actual returns is in question because of the previous experience of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Meanwhile, they continue to see Bangladesh as a place of refuge, as they have for decades. To ensure voluntary repatriations happen, full assurance is required that they will not be persecuted upon their return.

The ConversationMeanwhile, a longer term, sustainable solution is required for the area, one which secures the safety and livelihoods of both those Rohingya people in fear for their lives, and the hosts who have given them sanctuary.

Mehdi Chowdhury, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Brexit: champagne, parmesan, prosecco and feta could soon be at the centre of negotiations

As Brexit day creeps closer, one issue that remains unresolved is the way that food names will be protected in Britain and the EU. From parmesan and feta to cornish pasties and Bavarian beer, the EU is fiercely protective over protected designations of origin (PDOs) or protected geographical indications (PGIs).

A number of highly popular products are protected under this legal framework that dictates certain products can only be produced in certain regions. So champagne must be produced in the Champagne region of France and prosecco in a small pocket of north-eastern Italy. These are products with big market shares in the UK, with consumer loyalty being built up and consolidated through the use of these reputable geographical names.

The issue is also important to the UK. Many British products are also protected under the EU regime. It helps protect both their quality and value.

Accept no imitations.

But when the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be under the laws that govern the protective status of these products. The government’s recently launched white paper, which outlined the UK’s plans for Brexit, declares that Britain will set up its own protection of geographical names to provide for continuous protection of UK products within the UK. But it doesn’t mention any continuation of the EU’s protection scheme.

Some in Brussels have expressed fear that British producers will start exploiting previously protected European names. Yet, rather ironically, British products would not lose their status in the EU (and could still seek new EU registrations in the future), since the EU allows for the protection of geographical names from non-EU countries. It’s an imbalance which seems to please British negotiators.

So, the European Commission fears that after Brexit the high level of protection that European products currently enjoy in the UK under EU law may evaporate. The white paper proposal rather contrasts with the commission’s proposal, which suggests that the UK continue protecting geographical indications, as it does under the EU.

US interference

But the EU’s desire that post-Brexit Britain keep its protection of geographical indications is bound to collide with US strategic interests. The US position is an important factor to take into account in the Brexit negotiations. If the UK signs a trade deal with the US, it will likely clash with a lot of EU regulations – including provisions governing the use of geographical names for food and beverages.

The US plays by different rules when it comes to the protection of these names. There are numerous US food companies that freely use European geographical expressions (including parmesan and feta for cheese) to identify products that have not been produced in the relevant European locations. In the US, these are considered to be generic names that describe the products and cannot be monopolised by anyone, not even by the producers coming from the relevant European geographical area.

Is it feta or ‘Greek-style cheese’?

That is why the US is lobbying the UK to abandon the EU’s protection of geographical indications, namely to allow US food and beverage companies to enter the British market by freely using European names. A US-UK trade deal would likely be contingent on the UK dropping the EU-level protection of geographical indications. But this, in turn, would scupper the prospects of a trade deal with the EU – an even bigger trading partner for the UK.

Sticking point

The EU has continuously placed great emphasis on the protection of its geographical names during trade negotiations. It proved to be a big sticking point in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. France and Greece, for example, threatened to veto a deal with the US unless it upheld their geographical indications. More recently, Italy’s minister for agriculture noted that Italy may not ratify the EU’s trade deal with Canada because, in his view, it does not adequately protect Italian geographical names.

The ConversationIt is therefore not a stretch to say that the entire Brexit deal could hinge on the issue of geographical indications. There is no doubt that providing a level of protection in the UK which is comparable to the current EU scheme – for example, via a mutual EU/UK recognition scheme – would facilitate an agreement not only on the specific issue of geographical names, but also of the entire Brexit deal. This would, however, make favourable trade agreements between the UK and the US less likely. The battle over geographical indications will surely go on.

Enrico Bonadio, Senior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London and Marc Mimler, Lecturer in Law, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Plastic pollution: could we clean up the ocean with technology?

File 20180720 142405 1lpfc4u.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Rick Stafford, Bournemouth University

Our oceans are threatened by three major challenges: climate change, overfishing and pollution. Plastic pollution is of growing concern, and has gained international attention from governments, media and large sections of the public, partly fuelled by last year’s BBC documentary Blue Planet II and its images of sperm whales and seabirds entangled or ingesting plastic debris.

Despite the attention plastic pollution has received, some scientists think this is the least important of the major marine threats, and that climate change and fisheries need more urgent attention.

This is not to say that plastic is not a major issue – it is, especially in some parts of the developing world, and in large open ocean gyre systems where ocean currents meet and all that they carry accumulates. Research has also found that microplastics (small fragments which form as larger plastic pieces are broken down in the sea) are found in seafood, and plastic may even accumulate as it passes up the foodchain.

The Ocean Cleanup

One reason why plastic pollution seems to get more attention than other threats to the ocean is that the issue may have a technological “fix”. The Ocean Cleanup is the flagship tech solution to marine plastic and proposes using several 600-metre long barriers to float in the ocean current and catch plastic drifting in the surface waters of the gyres.

Invented by a then 19-year-old student, the idea has come in for criticism in recent years with concerns ranging from the project’s ability to reach microplastics to it causing harm to wildlife.

Nevertheless, the Ocean Cleanup has captured imaginations by trying to reverse the problem of ocean plastic on a large scale.

We’re familiar with the idea that we can all do something to prevent plastic ending up in the sea, such as refusing plastic straws and carrying a refillable water bottle. However, while we need to use less, we also need to produce less, and throw away less of it. This means not only individual behaviour change, but changes in industrial processes, and government policies worldwide.

The visual impact of plastic pollution and high levels of public interest might be fundamental to some solutions. In many countries, local beach cleans are a regular occurrence, and are rapidly gaining in popularity. It has also been suggested that despite plastic hotspots in ocean gyres, eventually, many large plastic items will wash up on beaches, and that a significant proportion of plastic waste ending up in the sea comes from coastal or riverside communities.

Most plastic enters the ocean from the shore and accumulates in ocean ‘gyres’, where different currents meet.

Think global, act local

This provides hope for community networks to be formed that can combat plastic pollution at a local level. These networks need to expand beyond beach or river clean-ups to involve and engage multiple groups and individuals in society.

These stakeholders, who have a shared interest in healthy oceans, should include local retailers who can provide deposit return schemes on bottles and other recyclable materials and even reduce or eliminate the sale of products such as plastic straws, disposable coffee cups, plastic bags and takeaway containers.

Local councils could set up rubbish and recycling facilities for beach goers and enforce penalties for littering and fly tipping near beaches and rivers.

Communities in charge of managing their local environment have been shown to be effective in coastal areas, but issues always arise with the scaling-up of these approaches to national or international levels.

There is clearly a need for policies which support local initiatives, rather than combat them. For example, government policies should immediately call for bans on non-essential plastic packaging rather than “working to a target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042” as the UK’s 25 year environmental plan currently indicates.

Beach cleanup events can engage communities in halting the flow of plastic into the ocean.

Remaining non-essential packaging should urgently be made recyclable, and recycling incentive schemes, such as payment for recycling, need to be introduced quickly, beyond the approaches used by local retailers.

Technological solutions can and should form part of our approach to environmental problems, whether plastic pollution or climate change. However, they can only be part of a solution.

Schemes which change attitudes and empower communities at a local level can be effective worldwide, but they need support from national and international policies to bring about real change. At present, pollution and natural resources are dismissed as necessary casualties in the pursuit of economic growth.

The ConversationSupport for seaside communities in policy is missing, and until it is in place, no high tech miracle will step in to save us.

Rick Stafford, Professor of Marine Biology and Conservation, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Can a scientific name save one of Earth’s most iconic freshwater fish from extinction?

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The iconic hump-backed mahseer.
J. Bailey, Author provided

The mahseers are an iconic group of fish found throughout the fast-flowing rivers of South and South-East Asia. Characterised by their large scales, attractive appearance and potentially vast size, the mahseers have long been afforded saintly status as “God’s fishes”. They are also known to anglers as some of the world’s hardest fighting freshwater game fish, earning them the reputation of “tigers of the water”.

But despite lots of interest in mahseers, their future is under serious threat as their rivers become polluted and blocked by hydropower dams in order to support a rapidly growing human population. Those fish that do survive are vulnerable to illegal “dynamite fishing” in which a blast kills or injures all aquatic life, allowing poachers to harvest anything that floats to the surface.

Of the 18 currently valid species of mahseer, the official IUCN Red List of Threatened Species currently lists four as endangered, one as vulnerable, and one as near threatened. The rest either lack enough data to reach a conclusion or haven’t been evaluated.

Recent research published by colleagues and I in PLOS ONE focused on the hump-backed mahseer, the largest and most endangered of all mahseers. The fish was once common throughout the Cauvery river and its various tributaries in southern India, but it is now limited to just a handful of small isolated populations. Weighing as much as a small adult human (55kg), this freshwater giant qualifies as megafauna, yet bizarrely it has remained a taxonomic enigma without a valid scientific name.

The Cauvery and its tributaries flow through the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Central Ground Water Board, India

Until now. Colleagues and I discovered that the hump-backed mahseer is actually the same species as Tor remadevii: a mahseer that previously lacked a common name. Scientists first described Tor remadevii as a new species in 2007, based on a small sample of juvenile fish from the most southerly tributary of the Cauvery catchment in the state of Kerala. Little did they realise that the small fish they had discovered from this remote sub-catchment was the same as the monster mahseer found in the upper and middle reaches of the main river Cauvery.

The rise and fall of a freshwater icon

The hump-backed mahseer was first brought to the attention of the world’s anglers in Henry Sullivan Thomas’s 1873 classic, The Rod in India. During British rule, several huge specimens were recorded, including the still-standing world rod-caught record, a 120lb (54kg) monster captured in 1946 by a taxidermist from Mysore known as de Wet Van Ingen. Indian independence followed soon after, and the mahseer was largely forgotten by the outside world, with many believing the fish had been dynamited to extinction.

Although larger fish have been reported, this catch by de Wet Van Ingen still stands as the official world record.

That was until 1977, when the Trans World Fishing Team – comprised of three Englishmen –travelled to India and spent several months exploring the country’s rivers before reaching the Cauvery. There they found the hump-backed mahseer very much alive, and realised their sporting dreams by recording individual catches up to 92lbs (42kg).

This reignited global interest, and catch-and-release anglers from around the world flocked to the River Cauvery in search of the legendary fish. Local villagers found employment as angling guides, cooks or drivers, some of them rehabilitated poachers who realised that a live mahseer had renewable value, unlike the single value of a dead one at market. Patrols were set up to protect the species 24/7, allowing the ecology of the river to flourish.

Martin Clark of the Trans World Fishing Team with one of the fish caught in 1978.
Trans World Fishing Team, Author provided

But all was not what it seemed. Since their establishment in the 1970s, the angling camps had been collecting invaluable data which shed new light on the situation. When colleagues and I analysed these detailed catch records, we realised the hump-backed mahseer had almost disappeared. Although overall mahseer stocks were rising, the humpback itself was being rapidly replaced by a non-native and highly invasive species of mahseer, which had been deliberately introduced to the River Cauvery to boost stocks in the late 1970s. This led us to publish a paper in 2015, outlining the threat of imminent extinction facing the hump-backed mahseer.

So, what’s in a name?

The hump-backed mahseer has been known around the world by its common name, but confusion over its scientific name has prevented its inclusion in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Given the fish is on the edge of extinction, it proved a significant challenge finding wild specimens from which to collect the DNA and associated evidence required to support a formal taxonomic clarification. Only after three years of expeditions was our team finally successful in finding a small population of humpbacks in a remote jungle section of the River Moyar, a tributary of the Cauvery.

The paper we recently published fixes the scientific name as Tor remadevii and should see the iconic species assessed as “critically endangered” in the next update of the Red List. The significance of the research published will afford this iconic fish the recognition and legislative protection it so urgently requires to develop robust conservation planning.

The ConversationHowever, in the long term, the fish’s future rests in the hands of the three Indian states with stakes in the highly-contested Cauvery river system – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. One hope is that the humpback mahseer will become a unifying force and bring these states together to protect the rich biodiversity and natural function of the Cauvery from further decay, allowing the river to continue to support the many millions of people who depend on it.

Adrian Pinder, Associate Director, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

ResNET Research Network Project

My name is Natalia Lavrushkina and I am a member of staff in the Faculty of Management at Bournemouth University and a postgraduate research student at the University of Southampton and before sending you invitations to take part in a short online survey, as a part of this research, I would like to introduce the ResNET Research Network Project to the BU research community.

ResNET is a Doctoral Research project undertaken in collaboration with the Doctoral College and it is being mentored by Dr John Beavis.

The aim of this research project is to investigate and understand the development and operation of social networks amongst the internal research community within Bournemouth University. Its objectives are:

  1. to explore the concept of ‘institutional collegiality’ as a measure of the degree of cooperativeness and collaborative interaction within the organisation;
  2. to map expertise distribution within BU.

Once data has been collected, I will make social network charts like this one below.

The chart shows the organisation with the squares representing individuals in different subject areas.

I will be using specialist Social Network Analysis software for my data analysis which graphically shows communications points through our community. It links people working together and demonstrating density of the communication. It also shows the difference between external and internal communication flow. Additionally the longitudinal data analysis allows reflection on the dynamics of the research network’s development.

I will send individual survey links via BU emails to ask BU researchers and related staff to complete a short online survey through three rounds of data collection approximately 3 months apart. The questions seek to identify levels of communication flows, the presence of communication hubs and brokers, the closeness and strengths of ties and levels of network’s cohesiveness.

As you can see from my diagram it isn’t about looking at individuals per se – I am not concerned with who particular people are or what their job titles are. It is the network composition and the nature of communication flows that are being analysed not the communications of any named individual(s) within the network.

All data will be analysed and reported anonymously using the specialist SNA software.

I anticipate that the research findings will benefit Bournemouth University by informing strategies and innovative practice related to the improvement of collaboration in knowledge creation and transfer.

It will benefit Faculty research activity and research support through a deeper understanding of institutional research network dynamics and through a greater understanding of communication flows and research process and expertise mapping.

This study has been approved by the University of Southampton Ethics Committee (ERGO number: 31376) with Bournemouth University support and agreement. BU Academic and Research Staff are the population of this study.

I am hoping that my peers and colleagues at BU will support me on my doctoral journey by investing some of your very precious time and effort in participation in ResNET project’s survey.

I know that completing surveys can be time and effort-consuming, so I would like to say thank you by offering to provide you and the whole BU Research Community a summary of the research findings through this research blog.

I am happy to answer any query regarding this project and can be contacted via my university email address:

How breathing slowly can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of serious health conditions

Performing slow and deep breathing is frequently used to aid in relaxation, but recent research has suggested that it can also lower blood pressure. Researchers within HSS have created an App, called Brythm, that guides breathing to a lower, personalised optimal frequency.

Brythm guides breathing using visual biofeedback, via a graphic, which was created by a BU Student Research Assistant. Optimisation of breathing frequency is achieved using real time monitoring of the cardiovascular responses via a finger sensor, which plugs into the headphone socket of [almost] any smartphone or tablet.

The finger sensor uses the same technology as oxygen saturation monitors in hospitals and monitors the blood flow in your finger. Using a patent-pending algorithm, Brythm aims to maximise the cardiovascular responses to breathing.

The research team is being led by Professor Alison McConnell, a physiologist who has previously undertaken research showing the positive effects of breathing muscle strength training on exercise tolerance for athletes as well as people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease. The product she created ( was approved for NHS prescription in 2006, and she has similar aspirations for Brythm.

“Our new anti-hypertension App has been developed to provide people with a personalised training programme that adapts their breathing rate according to their individual physiology,” explains Professor McConnell, “It’s designed to be used for just ten minutes per day using a smartphone or tablet, which fits easily into most people’s busy lives. If Brythm training is found to be effective, it could provide a game-changing addition to the fight against hypertension, which afflicts around 30% of the UK population.”

The Brythm research team is currently carrying out research to find out more about the effects of the Brythm app for different groups of people. Professor Alison McConnell secured funding for a PhD student to work with pregnant women who have pregnancy-induced hypertension; this project started in September 2017, and is being led by Malika Felton. The team has partnered with the National Childbirth Trust, which helped to refine the Brythm and will assist in making contact with pregnant women who can help with the research.

Malika’s first study is investigating the immediate effect of using Brythm with healthy women of reproductive age, before examining these immediate effects in healthy pregnant women. The project will culminate in a study investigating both the immediate, and long-term, effects of slow and deep breathing with women who have pregnancy-induced hypertension. The hope is to be able to provide preliminary evidence of an alternative to pharmacological treatments for women who develop hypertension during pregnancy. It is hoped that this preliminary evidence might support bids for further funding to undertake a larger, randomised control clinical trial using Brythm.

As part of the process of preparing for NHS trials in people with primary hypertension, Professor McConnell was recently awarded internal funding for two pump-priming projects using Brythm. Both projects will provide the preliminary evidence of the feasibility of using the Brythm App, as well as the proof of concept evidence needed to secure external funding for larger studies.

The first pump-priming project is investigating the feasibility of using Brythm under ‘real world’ conditions. Stephanie Grigsby, a research midwife from Poole Hospital, is on secondment to the Brythm team for 1 day a week as Project Manager. Participants are being drawn from BU staff, who are asked to download Brythm onto their own device and to use it for 10-minutes daily for 8-weeks. The aim is to understand the use of the App itself, rather than its physiological effects, so there are no health-related exclusion criteria, but participants must be aged 40 or over. The results of this project will help with the design and running of future trials, providing evidence of the usability of Brythm.

The second pump-priming project that is currently underway compares the immediate effects of using Brythm with those created by a breathing biofeedback device already approved by the NHS and US Food & Drug Administration. RESPeRATE delivers the paced breathing using auditory tones and lowers breathing frequency to 6 breaths per minute. The short-term effects of the two methods will be compared, with the aim of demonstrating that Brythm is at least as good as the NHS-approved RESPeRATE device. This project is being undertaken by Dr Pedro Vargas, a co-inventor of the Brythm App, and a previous Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Bournemouth University, who is now based in his home country of Portugal. The study takes place from 29th May – 8th June.

The Brythm team is also delighted to have secured a new SRA who will assist with data collection for all current studies, as well as with data collation and analysis. They will have a fantastic opportunity to be part of the Brythm team and get involved in all aspects of the project, from testing in the HSS Cardiorespiratory Research Laboratory, to analysing the data, as well as taking part in preparing the published research papers that will follow these projects. A second SRA from the Faculty of Media and Communication, has also come on board to produce instructional videos to assist participants with using Brythm and with troubleshooting. These videos will be important tools for supporting participants in future trials, as well as for promoting the research at BU, and the videos will be an integral part of the new BU Brythm website ( [awaiting publication]).

If you are interested in the Brythm research and would like to try the App, the Brythm team is running a drop-in activity session at the Festival of Learning in the Fusion Building on Saturday 16th June.

There are also opportunities to participate in one of our current or future research studies, and if you are interested in this, please read on for more information.


Would you like to help test Brythm?

Brythm is currently in the testing phase and the Brythm team are recruiting for 3 separate projects investigating different aspects of the Brythm App.


Malika Felton’s study on the immediate cardiovascular effects of Brythm

Who? Healthy women of reproductive age (18-49 years).

Requirements? One 2-hour session in the Cardiorespiratory Research Laboratory in Bournemouth House, Lansdowne campus.


Feasibility of using Brythm in the ‘real world’

Who? Anyone aged 40 years or over. Must have a device capable of downloading and using the Brythm App. We can provide guidance on this on request.

Requirements? 10-minute daily breathing sessions for 8 weeks. Recorded daily blood pressure readings, using an automated monitor we provide. An initial meeting is required to demonstrate Brythm and provide the required equipment, which lasts 30 minutes.


Brythm vs. RESPeRATE

Who? Non-smokers who have no history of cardiovascular or respiratory disease.

Requirements? One 1 ½ to 2-hour session in the Cardiorespiratory Research Laboratory in Bournemouth House, Lansdowne campus.


If you would like more information on any of the projects described above, and/or to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Malika Felton at or on 01202 961845. Alternatively, drop in to her office in R305 to find out more about the Brythm project, or about participating in one of the research projects.

Research communication training day

Are you interested in finding out how BU can help you communicate your research more widely?  Join the Corporate Communications Team and Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team at our Research Communication Day on 23 May for sessions such as:

  • Creating & marketing your Festival of Learning event,
  • Sharing your research via social media,
  • Developing the impact of your research,
  • Pitching to the Conversation,
  • Developing your digital profile,
  • Broadcast training,
  • Influencing policy makers.

More information about the day and a booking link can be found here.

Are you interested in testing an App developed at BU and designed to lower blood pressure?

We are continuing to recruit for 2 studies involving our Brythm App, designed at BU. Brythm is based on the principles of slow and deep breathing that have been found to lower blood pressure. Our previous research supports the idea that changing the way you breathe has an impact upon your heart rate and blood pressure. We have developed an App (called Brythm) to exploit the beneficial influence of breathing, which guides users to a personalised, optimal breathing frequency.

We are currently conducting one study on healthy women in a laboratory setting to test the cardiovascular responses to slow and deep breathing, which would require approx 2 hours of your time. The other study involves using the App daily at home for 8 weeks to test the feasibility of using the App. For both studies participants will receive information about their current blood pressure.

Lab Based Cardiovascular Responses Study

Participants must be female non-smokers of reproductive age (18-49 years) who are not currently pregnant. They must also have no prior medical diagnosis of cardiovascular or respiratory disease (including asthma). The entire study requires a single visit to the Cardiorespiratory Research Laboratory in Bournemouth House (3rd floor) lasting approximately 2 hours. During this visit you will be asked to undertake a number of 5-minute sets of slow and deep breathing, guided by our App, while a series of non-invasive and painless cardiovascular measurements are made. The App will be installed on our iPad in the lab and you will not be required to use your own device.

At Home 8-week Feasibility Study

Participants must be aged 40 or over and you must have access to an iOS or Android device capable of downloading and running the Brythm App. More details on device specifications available on request. You will be expected to complete daily 10-minute sessions using the Brythm App for 8 weeks and will have an initial meeting with our Project Manager prior to commencing the study, where you will be given a demonstration of the Brythm App and be given an opportunity to try it for a few minutes. You will also receive an automated blood pressure monitor to take home with you for the duration of the study; you will be asked to use it to make two measurements each day, which will be recorded via the Brythm App. Following the intervention we will ask you to attend a focus group where you will be invited to share your experiences of using the App.

For more information, and to receive a participant information sheet outlining either study in more detail, please contact Malika Felton at or 01202 961845.

Combating economic crime

We report here on a successful programme of research, involving engagement with public policy, aimed at reducing the scourge of economic crime. If accepted the proposals made would have a substantial impact on frauds involving major companies, especially those in the financial services sector.

 Economic crime takes many forms: from traditional manifestations of fraud, bribery, money-laundering and tax evasion to modern slavery and human-trafficking offences providing forced labour. Striking at the heart of global security, funding terrorism and political espionage, it also inflicts direct costs to businesses and economies, nationally and world-wide. Fraud alone is calculated to have cost the UK economy c. £190 billion (2017) while global estimates reveal a loss of £2.75 trillion (2013).

Focusing on corporate criminality, in March 2017, we responded to the Ministry of Justice Call for Evidence on Corporate Liability for Economic Crime. We argued that the current preference for corporate liability premised on the company’s failure to prevent criminal misconduct, as exemplified in the Bribery Act 2010, has little application in the context of widespread frauds emanating from “criminogenic” corporate cultures. Central to our proposals were a unique approach to attributing corporate dishonesty, through the adoption of a Criminal Practice Direction, and a shift of resources from regulation and compliance to investigation and prosecution of serious fraud.

In March and April 2018, we went on to publish our full results in a series of two articles in the Company Lawyer: New models of corporate criminality: the development and relative effectiveness of “failure to prevent” offences; and New models of corporate criminality: the problem of corporate fraud – prevention or cure? The General Editor of The Company Lawyer is Professor Barry Rider, Cambridge University, who was honoured in 2014 with the award of an OBE for services to the prevention of economic crime.

The research for these articles was wide-ranging with many questions that needed to be asked, from the definition of fraud itself and the scale of economic crime to the relative effectiveness of models that could be employed to tackle corporate fraud. Traditional “black letter” law research was useful for some aspects, for example, the analysis of the Bribery Act 2010 and its extension in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 in relation to offshore tax evasion. Other questions required substantial historical research, such as the law’s response to the particular problem of bribery and the precedents for the successful use of a “failure to prevent” model of criminality. The impact of reforms and potential reforms required a detailed analysis of recent prosecutions and the use of deferred prosecution agreements.

On Sunday 18th March 2018, the Independent reported Solicitor-General Robert Buckland MP as saying there is a “strong case” for a new corporate economic crime offence. We anticipate that our timely research will prove valuable in shaping the debate as to what the law should be and how it can be made to work.

Dr Stephen F Copp, Associate Professor, Law Department

Dr Alison Cronin, Senior Lecturer, Law Department

RKEDF – last chance to give your feedback & influence next year’s academic training opportunities

The Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework has been running for over 18 months, and we will soon start planning in events and activities for the next academic year.  The aim of the RKEDF is to provide training and development for academics at all levels of their career, supporting them to improve their skills, knowledge and capabilities in relation to research.

To help us make the RKEDF as relevant and helpful to you as possible, we want your views and opinions about what works and what doesn’t.   If you have five minutes to spare, please fill out our short survey by 5pm on Wednesday 28 March.  By telling us what you think, you’ll be helping to shape the training opportunities we offer and you’ll also have the chance to win a £30 Amazon voucher.  Thank you to everyone who has already taken the time to respond!  We really appreciate your feedback.

Archive warriors: How radio historians research our audio past – new inaugural lecture

The next in our series of inaugural lectures will take place next week and will see Professor Hugh Chignell share his research the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe.  Free tickets can be booked here.

Listening to the past can be a confusing experience. The voices of previous generations, sometimes captured on low quality recording machines, speak of different ages; pre-war, post-war, cold war, the sixties and beyond. The digital revolution has made that listening increasingly possible and we can now hear stories told by Virginia Woolf, J. B. Priestley, Samuel Beckett and others which require us to makes sense of historic radio and its treasures.

In this lecture, Professor Hugh Chignell will draw on twenty years of listening to the past, including radio talks, news and features but especially radio dramas. The lecture will be presented as a journey into the radio archive and into a different culture where telling stories in sound was a far more experimental and adventurous activity. The lecture will be a combination of words from your guide and extracts from archived radio which inevitably will be both challenging and beguiling.

Hugh Chignell is Professor of Media History and Director of the Centre for Media History at Bournemouth University. His research has focused on historic radio including both factual content and radio drama. He has published books and articles on the history of radio news and current affairs as well as on British radio drama and is currently writing a history of post-war British radio drama which will be published in early 2019. Professor Chignell chairs the UK Radio Archives Advisory Committee and sits on other advisory boards at the British Library concerned with our audio heritage.

You can book your free ticket here.

Bournemouth University students present their research in Parliament

Two Bournemouth University students, Grace Connors and Emily Rogers, have presented their undergraduate research to MPs and policy makers at the annual ‘Posters in Parliament’ event.

Around 40 students from across the UK are given the opportunity to share their research in Parliament each spring.  The exhibition allows MPs and policy makers to learn more about the innovative undergraduate research taking place across the country.  It’s also an excellent opportunity for current undergraduates and recent graduates to hone their presentation skills as they share their work with lay audiences.

Grace Connors, a BA English student from the Faculty of Media & Communication, presented her research into BBC drama The Fall which explored the representation of women in crime dramas.

“I looked at the way female characters were treated in The Fall¸ and whether or not it impacts on the way that real women are treated,” explains Grace, “I’ve always been interested female characters and the way they’re portrayed.”

The Fall is often described as being a feminist or woman-led show, despite the fact it has numerous poorly treated female characters.  I wanted to see if there was a link between poor treatment of women in a ‘feminist’ programme and how women are treated in reality.  Through my research, I found that the prevalence of negative treatment towards women often leads to people no longer finding this kind of behaviour taboo.”

Emily Rogers, a BSc Nutrition student from the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, shared her research into boosting fruit and vegetable consumption of school-aged children and their parents.  Previous research has suggested that family meals can help to improve dietary intake, so Emily decided to see if meal time frequency could help to boost a family’s fruit and vegetable consumption.

“I chose to work with children aged 9 – 11 years old and their parents, as statistics showed that by the time children reach 10 – 11 years old one third are overweight or obese.  63% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese too, so I wanted to see if good eating habits were being shared throughout families,” says Emily.

“I sent out over 200 questionnaires to parents of year 5 and 6 children at Christchurch Junior School.  To encourage a high response rate, I gave children the opportunity to win a couple of hampers filled with prizes designed to help them get more involved in food production and preparation: gardening tools, seeds and cooking utensils, as examples.”

“My research showed that there was a positive link between family meal times and an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption for both children and adults,” continues Emily, “Children had more opportunities to eat healthily and adults, perhaps because they were modelling good eating practices for their children, also improved their diets.”

“I was inspired to submit my research to SURE, BU’s undergraduate research conference, and Posters in Parliament by my lecturer, Dr Fotini Tsofliou.  She has always been extremely supportive, and I can’t wait to use both opportunities to inspire others and help to create healthier communities.”

More information about BU’s undergraduate research conference can be found on the SURE website.  Staff and students are welcome to attend the conference on 7 March and can book free tickets via Eventbrite.

Implementing service development in healthcare – an introduction to Normalization Process Theory (NPT) (video now available)

On 7th February 2018, BU’s Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) hosted a half-day seminar exploring the principles and applications of NPT in healthcare implementation. The seminar was delivered by Dr. Mike Bracher (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, ADRC).

Video lectures from the seminar are now available.


Successful implementation of new processes, technologies, and service developments in healthcare depends not only on their effectiveness, but also how well they become a normalized as a routine part of practice. Understanding factors that may help or hinder implementation of service development is an important topic for practitioners and researchers working in healthcare. This seminar introduces Normalization Process Theory (NPT) – an approach to understanding implementation that has been used across a wide variety of areas in primary and secondary care, involving both mental and physical health services.

Session 1 video can be seen here.

Session 1: What is NPT? – this session introduces the constructs and components of the NPT framework, and explores their relationships.

Session 2 video can be seen here.

Session 2: Applications of NPT – in this session, we explore how NPT has been used in health services research, through general overview followed by more detailed discussion of three case examples.

The PowerPoint slides can be downloaded here.