Posts By / Rachel Bowen

Digital technologies are transforming African businesses, but obstacles remain

Digital technology is being used to improve rice processing in Nigeria.
Shutterstock

Elvira Bolat, Bournemouth University and Nasiru Taura, Bournemouth University

Digital technology has created new opportunities for businesses in sub-Saharan Africa to compete on a more equal footing. However, these businesses have yet to enjoy the full benefits because of a difficult operating environment.

Our recently published book, ‘Digital Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects’, details case studies of economic sectors where digital technologies are making a positive impact.

In Ghana, digital technologies have had an impact on the agriculture sector. Agri-tech firms like Farmable, Farmerline and Esoko have successfully pursued the creation of new business ventures and renewal of existing, matured corporate business models. These agri-tech firms support farmers with pricing data, crowdfunding and communication activities. They are also connecting farmers with buyers as well as helping them work out what differentiates them from competitors.

Digital technologies are playing a role in Nigeria’s agricultural sector too.
Prime Wave , an engineering company that supplies equipment to rice processing firms, and Al-Wabel Trading Company Ltd, a rice miller, have been working together to invent new technological solutions. These are aimed at improving the performance of rice processing. The innovative solutions the company came up with for rice processing can be applied more widely across the agricultural sector. However, these firms have had to overcome regulatory and institutional challenges in the sector.

Crossing boundaries

Digital technologies have also become a part of arts, media and entertainment, in particular in Kenya and Nigeria.

Case studies from Nigeria show how small and medium-sized new media players benefit from embracing a culture of experimentation, partnership and continuous learning. These businesses have adopted a “mobile first” mindset. They do this by using mobile technology as a resourceful, quick and flexible solution to do business, connect and promote their content.

The advertising, game development and media companies that took part in the research had all invested substantially in establishing their own systems for sharing data. These firms also embrace the Passion economy which centres around social causes and high access to mobile technology “as driving forces of the business”.

Nigeria’s movie industry, too, has benefited from digitisation. The technology has improved production time and quality. It has also helped extend the reach of movies to wider audiences. Foreign investors are taking greater interest in this fast growing business.

A potential drawback of digital technology in the arts is that cultural artefacts created digitally can also appear in many places at once. So, instead of gaining visibility it is actually lost in the digital crowd. But Kenyan artists have managed to use social media networks to build their own “cultural capital” and gain access to physical galleries.

Innovation hubs

There’s also been an increase in the number of digital hubs across the sub continent. But do they really help business to start up and survive?

The number of innovation hubs in Africa has grown sharply. There’s BusyInternet and SMSGH Solutions in Ghana; Erik Hersman’s iHub and Safaricom’s M-PESA in Kenya; and Nigeria’s Yaba, a suburb of Lagos labelled the country’s Silicon Valley.

A chapter in our book discusses the social complexity of engaging these hubs. In Accra, the Ghanaian capital, hubs could not provide support that is relevant to local digital entrepreneurs’ circumstances. Entrepreneurs in Harare thought that hubs “wasted precious resources”. Most hubs on the subcontinent also appear to make little contribution to the creation of new businesses.

Perhaps “impact-oriented” investors who are passionate about the region should assist digital hubs to make the necessary changes to how they operate.

Local conditions and culture can shape the “ecosystems” in which businesses operate. Some of these conditions, such as corruption, are hostile to business efficiency. The challenges are most pronounced in the communications, transport, and energy networks. Much of the region’s infrastructure is inefficient, and more than three-quarters of the population remains offline.

Take Nigeria’s movie industry. It needs more than investment. It also needs government to make regulatory changes to protect the creative sector. Government should also prioritise the development of movie industry skills. The same can be said about the music industry.

Afrocentric digital solutions

Overall, the book highlights that in a region with multiple social, environmental, economic and political challenges there is a need for more interrogation into how both incumbent and new players in sub-Saharan Africa are shaping the landscape with a view to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Digital technologies, as some of our case studies show, can play an important role in transforming African economies. However, digital technology solutions must not just be mere adaptations of dominant Western services and products. They must be aimed at meeting the sub-continent’s needs. In this regard, there’s a lot to learn from Japan.

Demand for technology after the Second World War resulted in the development of a plethora of advanced solutions which secured Japan’s status as an innovator.
There are promising new ventures such as Google’s Artificial Intelligence lab in Ghana – the company’s first in Africa. This is a centre of research into digital solutions to Africa’s problems.The Conversation

Elvira Bolat, Principal Academic in Marketing, Bournemouth University and Nasiru Taura, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Opportunity to share your research at the Bournemouth Air Festival

As part of BU’s public engagement activity BU’s Marketing and Communications (M&C) Team will again have a presence at the Bournemouth Air Festival, which sees tens of thousands of visitors each year. For BU, the purpose will be to raise our profile and showcase the activity we do as part of our outreach activity in schools and colleges.  As part of this, M&C will be running activities which are accessible, participative and relevant to the audience, but we also want to showcase BU’s research to demonstrate the impact we have on our community locally, regionally or internationally – again, all relevant to the audience and a chance to position BU’s research specialisms, breadth and impact.

Members of BU’s outreach and corporate communications team will be on the stand each day of the festival and there is an opportunity to join us for a couple of hours to talk about your research with the public. The event runs from Thursday 29 August to Sunday 1 September .  If you are free to join us at some point over these 4 days, M&C can arrange the necessary pass, help in transporting any display materials you may wish to have on the stand during your visit and promote through our social media channels before and during the festival. There will also be a couple of tables under a covered stand on the main promenade.

It would be great to engage with the public on a range of areas of BU research and if you are interested in joining us please contact Ella Thompson athompson3@bournemouth.ac.uk in M&C and she will be able to plan your visit into our timetable.

The Research Impact Fund is open for applications for 2019/20 – strand 3

Demonstrating impact is becoming an increasingly normal part of academic life, with changes in the external environment underpinning the need to show how research is making a difference beyond academia. As well as forming a significant part of a university’s REF submission, impact pathways are often included as a routine part of funding applications.

In order to support impact development at Bournemouth University, an impact fund was established in spring 2019, overseen by the Research Impact Funding Panel. The first call for applications was launched in March 2019 for the remainder of the 2018/19 academic year. This call is now closed.

For 2019/20, the Research Impact Fund has been split into three strands:

  1. To support the development of new research partnerships and networks, to lay the groundwork for future research projects (£17,500) – now closed.
  2. To provide support for emerging impact from existing underpinning research (£17,500) – now closed.
  3. For the development of impact case studies for REF2021 (£15,000) – open.

We are pleased to announce that the fund is now open for applications for strand 3.

Eligibility

 This strand is open only to those developing an impact case study for REF2021. It is expected that those who are applying for the fund will have previously submitted a draft case study for review through mock REF exercise. If you are yet to submit a draft case study, but believe you have a potential impact case study for REF2021, please speak to your Faculty Impact Officer in the first instance:

 Application process

To apply, please read the application form and policy document. To apply, please read the application form and guidance. Applications must be submitted by your Impact Champion or UoA Lead to researchimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk by Friday 20 September.

 If you have any questions about your application please email either Rachel Bowen (for HSS or FM queries) or Genna del Rosa (for FMC or SciTech queries).

You can also seek advice from the following RDS colleagues when developing your application:

BU’s Research Principles

Putting the Research Impact Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles.  Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the Research Impact Funding Panel, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels,
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinarity and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH).

 

Research Impact Funding Panel closes soon

Demonstrating impact is becoming an increasingly normal part of academic life, with changes in the external environment underpinning the need to show how research is making a difference beyond academia. As well as forming a significant part of a university’s REF submission, impact pathways are often included as a routine part of funding applications.

In order to support impact development at Bournemouth University, an impact fund was established in spring 2019, overseen by the Research Impact Funding Panel. The first call for applications was launched in March 2019 for the remainder of the 2018/19 academic year. This call is now closed.

For 2019/20, the Research Impact Fund has been split into three strands:

  1. To support the development of new research partnerships and networks, to lay the groundwork for future research projects (£17,500)
  2. To provide support for emerging impact from existing underpinning research (£17,500)
  3. For the development of impact case studies for REF2021 (£15,000)

We are pleased to announce that the fund is now open for applications for strands 1 and 2. A separate call for strand 3 will be announced in the summer following feedback from the current mock REF exercise.

Eligibility

1. To support the development of new research partnerships and networks, to lay the groundwork for future research projects (£17,500)

This strand is aimed at Early Career Researchers (those who are within 7 years of completing their doctorate, or equivalent experience, and are not Associate Professors / Professors) and/or staff who are new to research (academic staff who have not published an academic output, or received internal or external funding for research).  The funding aims to support colleagues to engage with key stakeholders at the very beginning of the research process, to establish partnerships and networks to support the co-creation of research questions.

2. To provide support for emerging impact from existing underpinning research (£17,500)

This strand is aimed at academic staff who have evidence of existing underpinning research which has the potential for impact, or is starting to result in impact.  The funding aims to support the development of research impact across BU and begin to identify potential case studies for post-REF2021 exercises.

3. For the development of impact case studies for REF2021 (£15,000)

This strand is for academic staff already developing case studies for REF2021.  One funding call for this strand will be launched in August 2019, following feedback from the current mock REF exercise.

Application process

To apply, please read the application form and guidance. Applications must be submitted to researchimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk by Friday 2 August.

 If you have any questions about your application please email either Rachel Bowen (for HSS or FM queries) or Genna del Rosa (for FMC or SciTech queries).

You can also seek advice from the following RDS colleagues when developing your application:

  • Adam Morris – Engagement Officer
  • Amanda Edwards – Impact Officer for SciTech
  • Amanda Lazar – Impact Officer for HSS
  • Brian McNulty – Impact Officer for FMC
  • Matt Fancy – Impact Officer for FM

BU’s Research Principles

Putting the Research Impact Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles.  Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the Research Impact Funding Panel, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels,
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinarity and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH).

The multiple benefits of dark night skies

When did you last look up at the stars?

The Cranborne Chase has the most amazing, clear night skies because of low light pollution. Dark night skies have multiple benefits. There is a growing body of evidence which shows that avoiding light pollution increases the health and well-being of humans, as well as the natural world that surrounds them.

Cutting down on light pollution helps to decrease carbon emissions. It has been estimated that poor design and use of the 7.5 million streetlights in the UK, results in a total of 830,000 tonnes of unnecessary carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution each year.

Our skyscape represents part of our cultural heritage and potentially also allows us to gain a greater understanding of our own existence; after all, this is where we live. It also allows us to time travel. If we look up at the constellation Orion and focus on the star Betelgeuse we are seeing light that left that constellation 640 years ago; in effect we are looking back at things that happened in the 14th century. The carbon, of which you were made, was formed in the heart of a dying star.

Using Charity Impact Funding we are working on holding a one-day event with the Cranborne Chase Landscape Trust to explore some of these benefits with a wide range of organisations and individuals.

There is significant potential for colleagues within the University to develop long-term relationships and research projects based in a very special area and working with communities that are in effect, just up the road.

Of particular interest is the potential longitudinal nature of such studies, as currently Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CCAONB) is bidding for International Dark Skies Reserve Status. What is the current situation? How will they get Reserve Status? How will this affect the area and its communities, now and in the future?

Don’t be afraid of the dark!

If any colleagues are interested in this work and making connections with the Landscape Trust and the AONB please feel free to contact Dr Sean Beer (sbeer@bournemouth.ac.uk). For more information on the Dark Night Skies of the Cranborne Chase go to http://www.chasingstars.org.uk/ .

Charity Impact Funding Panel closes for applications soon

BU has a small amount of funding available to facilitate engagement and research with charitable organisations. The purpose of the funding is to:

  • Increase engagement with charities in order to further the impact of BU’s research
  • To increase the amount of research undertaken collaboratively with charities
  • Encourage future funding bids with charitable partners.

The fund can be used flexibly, providing a strong case can be made and the assessment criteria are met. Funding could be used to fund travel, equipment, merchandise or event costs etc., but all funding will need to be spent by 31 July 2020 

You can read about an example of a funded project from 2019/20 here.

Eligibility

The fund is open to all researchers across Bournemouth University, including those who are already working with charitable organisations and those who would like to build up new networks.  In particular, the panel would welcome the following types of applications:

  • Small travel grants of up to £200 to help facilitate new relationships with charitable organisations,
  • Projects of up to £2,500 which will either facilitate new relationships with charities or build on existing research collaborations. Applicants will require a supporting statement from the charity they intend to work with.

Application process
To apply, please read the application form and guidance. Applications must be submitted to charityimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 31 July.

If you have any questions about your application please email charityimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk. 

BU’s Research Principles
Putting the Research Impact Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative over the coming weeks.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles. Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the Charity Impact Funding Panel, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels,
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinary and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH).

Fit for the Future – Leadership and Social Sciences: call for evidence

Overview

The ESRC has launched its national consultation as part of the ‘Fit for the Future’ project and seeks your input. Led by Professor Matt Flinders from the University of Sheffield, this consultation focuses on the need to promote researcher and leadership development within the social sciences and aims to drive forward a more ambitious and collaborative national strategy.

The UK is home to a world-class social science research community which forms a vital element of the wider national science base. In order to nurture and develop this community it is critical to recognise both how the social context within which research takes place, and the research funding landscape are changing in ways that create new challenges and – more importantly – new opportunities.

The ESRC has published the evidence review completed by the project team. The ESRC wants to work collaboratively to respond to this and seeks input from researchers at all career stages, staff working in ROs to develop research capability, senior university leadership teams together with other organisations interested in building leadership capacity to inform the next stages in development. They particularly welcome responses to questions raised within the consultation paper which accompanies the review.

BU is preparing an institutional response to this call and welcomes your contribution to a topic that is critical to the future health and vitality of the social sciences.

How to contribute

If you’d like to contribute to our response, please could you complete this survey by Wednesday 31 July.

Charity Impact Fund open for applications

BU has a small amount of funding available to facilitate engagement and research with charitable organisations. The purpose of the funding is to:

  • Increase engagement with charities in order to further the impact of BU’s research
  • To increase the amount of research undertaken collaboratively with charities
  • Encourage future funding bids with charitable partners.

The fund can be used flexibly, providing a strong case can be made and the assessment criteria are met. Funding could be used to fund travel, equipment, merchandise or event costs etc., but all funding will need to be spent by 31 July 2020.  

Eligibility

The fund is open to all researchers across Bournemouth University, including those who are already working with charitable organisations and those who would like to build up new networks.  In particular, the panel would welcome the following types of applications:

  • Small travel grants of up to £200 to help facilitate new relationships with charitable organisations,
  • Projects of up to £2,500 which will either facilitate new relationships with charities or build on existing research collaborations. Applicants will require a supporting statement from the charity they intend to work with.

Application process
To apply, please read the application form and guidance. Applications must be submitted to charityimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 31 July.

If you have any questions about your application please email charityimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk. 

BU’s Research Principles
Putting the Research Impact Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative over the coming weeks.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles. Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the Charity Impact Funding Panel, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels,
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinary and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH).

New research website launched

The new research section of the BU website is now live, following the conclusion of a project between Marketing & Communications (M&C) and Research Development & Support (RDS) to redevelop and migrate the previous research website.

The aim of the project was to increase the profile of our research activities and strengths, leading to better outcomes around our research from website visitors, which could include:

  • Additional research funding,
  • Collaboration and partnership,
  • Expanding international reputation,
  • Consultancy,
  • Expanding publishing and media coverage.

The new pages prominently profile our research projects, research centres and institutes, as well as ways for members of the public to get involved in or find out more about our research events.  These pages will be added to over time, as new research projects and areas of impact emerge.

The old research microsite will be retired over the next couple of weeks, with page redirects in place to enable people to find the new content.

Training

If you would like to learn how to update the new website, then please do sign up for one of the upcoming training sessions:

  • 10:30am – 12:30pm, Friday 7 June,
  • 10:30am – 12:30pm, Monday 10 June.

You can book on to these sessions by emailing Dan Ford (dford@bournemouth.ac.uk) in M&C.

Further training sessions will be announced in due course.  Please contact Rachel Bowen (rbowen@bournemouth.ac.uk) if you would like to attend one.

BU research website – new site coming this month

Over the last few months, M&C and RDS (formerly RKEO) have been working on a project to redevelop the research website and migrate its content into the main BU website.

The aims of the project are to revitalise some of our existing content, better profile our current research strengths and further support beneficial outcomes around our research from website visitors, including:

  • Additional research funding,
  • Collaboration and partnership,
  • Expanding international reputation,
  • Consultancy,
  • Expanding publishing and media coverage.

Members of the project team have visited Faculty Research & Professional Practice Committees / Faculty Research & Knowledge Exchange Committees across all faculties to share information and also gather feedback from academic staff.

The project began with a survey with over 90 academics to find out what they value about the existing research website, what they’d change and how we could better profile their research. We followed this up by working with each Deputy Dean for Research & Professional Practice to fully understand the requirements of all our faculties.

In addition to this, we explored examples of best web practice from around the world to identify the most effective ways of presenting complicated research-based information, such as universities and commercial technological research organisations.

We also broke down our overall research audience to identify the many objectives different classifications of people have in visiting our research content, and identifying how best to create a beneficial user experience for them.

Throughout the autumn and winter, the cross-departmental team have been creating, editing and migrating new and old content. This is being carried out in collaboration with our academic staff, who will have the opportunity to both advise on and sign off any content referencing their work. Once complete, the existing site will be archived so as not to lose any existing content.

The new web content is going live on Thursday 25 April, from which point, we’ll offer full support to any academic needing to update different parts of the research content, specifically Centre, Institute and project content. The existing Research Blog will not be affected by this project at this stage

If anyone has any questions about the project, please contact Dan Ford, M&C or Rachel Bowen, RDS.

Charity Impact Fund open for applications

BU has a small amount of funding available to facilitate engagement and research with charitable organisations. The purpose of the funding is to:

  • Increase engagement with charities in order to further the impact of BU’s research
  • To increase the amount of research undertaken collaboratively with charities
  • Encourage future funding bids with charitable partners.

The fund can be used flexibly, providing a strong case can be made and the assessment criteria are met. Funding could be used to fund travel, equipment, merchandise or event costs etc., but all funding will need to be spent by 31 July 2019.  

Eligibility
The fund is open to all researchers across BU, including those who are already working with charitable organisations and those who would like to build up new networks. In particular, the panel would welcome the following types of applications:

  • Small travel grants of up to £200 to help facilitate relationship development with charitable organisations
  • Projects of up to £1,500 which will either facilitate new relationships with charities or build on existing research collaborations.

A further call will be opened in the summer for applications for the 2019/20 financial year. 

Application process
To apply, please read the application form and guidance. Applications must be submitted to charityimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk by 5pm on Friday 12 April.

If you have any questions about your application please email charityimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk. 

BU’s Research Principles
Putting the Research Impact Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative over the coming weeks.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles. Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the Charity Impact Funding Panel, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels,
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinary and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH).

Limits of space and time: predicting how environmental change affects coastal birds

Our next inaugural lecture will take place on Wednesday 1 May at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Sandbanks.  Professor Richard Stillman will be sharing his research into the effects of environmental change on coastal birds.

Ecological systems throughout the world are increasingly coming under threat from environmental changes, primarily caused by human actions. Understanding and predicting the effects of future change has proved a long-running problem for ecologists.

Coastal habitats, such as Poole Harbour, provide a vital habitat for many bird species but are particularly vulnerable to environmental change such as rising sea levels, habitat loss and disturbance from human activities. However, predicting the effect of such changes on these birds has proved difficult and has led to long-running conflicts between conservationists and other coastal groups.

Research by Professor Richard Stillman aims to reduce these conflicts by providing tools which enable the consequences of change to be accurately predicted. It does this by understanding the ways in which individual animals behave, the types of food they consume, how much they need to eat each day, and the ways in which human activities affect them.

During this inaugural lecture, Professor Stillman will explain how his research in this area has helped to predict the effects of changes in the UK and internationally and what it has meant for wildlife populations.

You can book your free tickets here.

BU’s research tackles global challenges

Funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund has enabled Bournemouth University academics to work in partnership with organisations in India, Indonesia and Myanmar to tackle key challenges in each country.

Over £1.5 billion has been allocated by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.  The Fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance commitment, which is its pledge to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income to fight poverty and promote development.

Bournemouth University receives annual funding from Research England to undertake research to support the GCRF.  This allocation is used to support projects that help to build collaborations with researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in developing countries, ensuring that the outcomes of this research has a tangible outcome for people in those countries.

In India, Dr Einar Thorsen and Dr Chindu Sreedharan are leading a project which is looking at the way in which sexual violence is reported in the media.  By working with journalists and reviewing existing journalistic guidelines, the team aims to better understand the complexities of reporting in this area and inform the ways in which reporting should change.

Meanwhile, in Myanmar Professor Jonathan Parker and Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree are using their expertise to inform the re-development of social work education in the country.  Social workers in Myanmar face some unique social justice challenges, which could be in part addressed by the profession.  By working with the University of Yangon and current student social workers, the team aim to create a curriculum that will help to equip the social workers of the future.

Finally in Indonesia, Professor Amanda Korstjens and Professor Ross Hill are working with BU students and local conservation organisations to tackle the issue of human wildlife conflict.  As rainforests diminish, elephants are increasingly coming into contact with human settlements and agricultural land.  This can lead to conflict as elephants can cause huge amounts of damage to homes and crops.  By working with different groups of stakeholders, the team are aiming to develop and early warning system for villagers.

For more information about BU’s global challenges research, visit this page.

If you’re interested in applying for funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund, a call for applications is currently open.

Research Impact Fund open for applications

Demonstrating impact is becoming an increasingly normal part of academic life, with changes in the external environment underpinning the need to show how research is making a difference beyond academia. As well as forming a significant part of a university’s REF submission, impact pathways are often included as a routine part of funding applications.

In order to support impact development at Bournemouth University, an impact fund has been established, which will be overseen by the Research Impact Funding Panel.  The fund is now open for applications for this financial year.

Eligibility
The first call for applications is open to impact case study teams who submitted an impact case study to the 2019 REF Mock Exercise.  The aim of the call is to support those who are developing case studies for REF2021, in recognition of the impact period for this REF cycle coming to an end in July 2020.

Small travel funding requests to support impact development can be submitted to the Panel on a rolling basis throughout the 2018/19 financial year.  These will be capped at a maximum of £200.  For this financial year travel grants will only be open to those developing case studies for REF2021.  This will be opened up to all researchers in the 2019/20 financial year.

A further call will be announced in spring 2019 which will be open to those working on embryonic or developing areas of impact, as well as researchers developing impact case studies for REF2021.  These funds will be available to spend from September 2019 – July 2020.

Application process
To apply, please read the application form and guidance.  Applications must be submitted to researchimpact@bournemouth.ac.uk by Friday 12 April.

If you have any questions about your application please email either Rachel Bowen (for HSS or FM queries) or Genna del Rosa (for FMC or SciTech queries).

BU’s Research Principles
Putting the Research Impact Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, the following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative over the coming weeks.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles.  Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the Research Impact Funding Panel, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels,
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinarity and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH).

Research Photography Competition: prize giving

Thank you to everyone who entered or voted for an image in this year’s Research Photography Competition.  Hundreds of staff, students and members of the public have helped to select this year’s winner, which we will be announcing in the Poole House Art Gallery on Thursday 14 March at 10am.

Please do join us if you can.  You can book your free tickets here.

All images will be on display in the Art Gallery until the end of March.

SURE: book your free ticket

The SURE (Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence) conference is returning for its fourth year, taking place on 20 March.

Over 90 submissions have been received on a wide range of subjects, including discrimination and minority groups, business management and diabetes in public health, so there is something to cover all interests.

Both students and staff are encouraged to attend, whether it’s to support your friends, your students, or just hear more about the research being carried out by students at BU.

The SURE conference is an annual event which gives undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase the work they are carrying out throughout their studies at BU, whether it’s their dissertation, coursework or research carried out during their placement year. They share this either in the form of a poster, 10 minute speech or an installation. It’s a great opportunity for them to be involved in as it allows them to develop their public speaking as well as their general approach to research.

Register for your free tickets via Eventbrite. 

As if 15 years of oil price volatility was not enough… energy markets now need to deal with Brexit

The next in our series of Fusion inaugural lectures will take place on Tuesday 26 March in the Executive Business Centre on Lansdowne campus.  Professor George Filis from the Faculty of Management will be speaking.

During the course of this inaugural lecture, Professor George Filis will present recent developments relating to energy markets (with particular focus on the oil market). This will include some of the potential drivers behind the increase in oil price volatility over the last 15 years. Professor Filis will also look at the political economy of the oil market, with particular emphasis on the current status of the “petrodollar system”, the developments in Venezuela and whether Brexit could signal the onset of another turbulent period for the oil market.

Professor George Filis is a specialist in energy and financial economics. Currently, he is working towards the development of new modelling frameworks for forecasting energy prices. In particular, he looks at the predictive information of different asset classes on oil prices and oil price volatility. Professor Filis has also served as a consultant for the US Energy Information Administration and the Bank of Greece.

You can book your free tickets here.

Call for EoIs: Unit of Assessment (UOA) Impact Champion for UOA 24 to drive REF 2021 preparations

BU is preparing submissions for units of assessment (UOAs) for REF 2021. Each UoA has a UoA Leader, supported by an Impact Champion and Outputs Champion.  The roles are recruited through an open and transparent process, which gives all academic staff the opportunity to put themselves forward for UOA roles.

We are currently seeking an expression of interest (EoI) from academic staff interested in supporting impact development for UoA24 (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism).

Impact Champions play a key role in shaping the impact element of their UoA’s submission.  They work closely with their Faculty’s Impact Officer and Impact Post-Doctoral Researcher, where relevant.

Key responsibilities of the Impact Champion role include:

  • Review the development of impact case studies being prepared within the UOA
  • Provide guidance on how impact case studies can be accelerated and evidenced
  • Advise colleagues on the REF impact guidelines
  • Review impact strategies related to the UOA and assess progress made against them
  • Review and implement recommendations from external research users to strengthen research impact
  • Ensure that colleagues are updating institutional systems for impact tracking
  • Promote relevant training and development opportunities
  • Review impact arising from major programmes of research and knowledge exchange to make recommendations as to how these can contribute to impact case studies
  • Advise on the use of appropriate metrics specific to the subject area
  • To undertake any other duties as requested by the relevant Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice (DDRPP) and/or Unit of Assessment leader.

The full role description can be found here.

Application process:

To apply for the role, please submit a short statement (suggested length 300 words) explaining your interest in the role and what you could bring to it. This should be sent by email to Professor Tim Rees by Friday 15 March.  The EoIs will be reviewed by the UoA Leader and current Impact Champion.

The selection criteria used at EoI are outlined below. Each criterion carries a total possible score of 5. The role will be offered to the highest scoring applicant. The UoA Leader or current Impact Champion will provide feedback to all applicants.

  • Knowledge of the REF and research impact (scored out of 5): Applicants should have the appropriate level of skill and knowledge to help them support the development of impact in their UoA. It is expected that Impact Champions will predominantly be practising researchers and will have a breadth of understanding of research across their Faculty.  They are also expected to have an understanding of the REF assessment process and of research impact.
  • Experience of external engagement and / or impact development (scored out of 5): Impact Champions are expected to be able to provide advice and direction to colleagues who want to develop their research impact. Experience of engaging with external organisations or developing your own research impact would be of benefit in this role.
  • Commitment, motivation and enthusiasm (scored out of 5): Being an Impact Champion is a big commitment and the role has the scope to help shape impact development at BU. Applicants need to be committed to the role, as well as showing the enthusiasm and motivation needed to support their UoA.