Category / BU research

Last Chance to … Apply to the Research Council Development Scheme

Submit your expression of interest by 15th November!

This is the third round of the Research Council Development Scheme which is a coordinated, targeted set of activities designed to inspire and equip BU researchers to achieve greater success with Research Council funding.

The aim is to:

  • Increase awareness of the Research Councils opportunities
  • Equip researchers with the confidence and skills to apply for the Research Councils funding in line with their career stage
  • Fast-track the development of a portfolio of proposals by facilitating proposal writing, setting next steps and allocating support

Due to the wide range of opportunities offered by Research Councils, the RCDS will feature a range of activities which may be generic in scope or targeted to a cohort as follows.

  • E cohort – early career researchers and those new to Research Councils (learning aims: first grants, fellowships, general mind-set and approach)
  • M cohort – mid-career researchers and those with some Research Councils experience (learning aims: project leadership and moving up to larger grants/collaborations)
  • P cohort – professorial level and those with significant Research Council experience (learning aims: high value, strategic and longer-larger funding)

Members of the RCDS will have access to a mix of development activities:

  • As a group and within targeted cohorts: training, workshops, structured proposal writing sessions and opportunities to build peer-to-peer support.
  • 1:1 support for scoping/identifying funding streams and planning/starting proposals.
  • Hands-on work to develop proposals through the scheme, including bid surgeries.

The criteria for membership, expectations of membership, and the training and development timetable for the RCDS can be found in the scheme document : BU-RC-Dev.-Scheme-communications-19-20-1

Those wanting to participate in this great opportunity will need to submit an expression of interest to: stating:

  • Why they are applying to the RCDS
  • What (if any) Research Council Bidding experience they have to date
  • Which targeted cohort they consider themselves to be in: E, M or P
  • Do they have a funding proposal in development? If so, to provide details of the proposal (this is not essential to be a member)

Once you have submitted your expression of interest, RDS will then send a membership agreement form to potential members, where they will agree to attend the training sessions and submit proposals to the research councils. As this scheme is part of the RKEDF, potential members will need to seek approval from their Head of Department or departmental nominated approver.

Please read through the scheme document (above) and if any clarification is required then contact Lisa Andrews, Research Facilitator, RDS. This scheme is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate your research council funding track record.

Talk/session with the Wessex Clinical Research Network Study Support Service

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research – the NIHR oversee 15 Clinical Research Networks (CRN) and these CRNs work alongside NHS Trusts, primary care providers and Universities. Each CRN has a dedicated Study Support Service.

The NIHR have a portfolio of research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the CRN in England.  Portfolio status is usually vital to participating NHS Trusts when considering undertaking a proposed study.

Information on the NIHR portfolio is present on the research blog, but at this session our local CRN’s Study Support team will provide you with an opportunity to hear about and discuss the network and the service, and how it could benefit you.

This session is aimed at those planning on conducting clinical research.
It is also designed to raise awareness at BU about the benefits and importance of the NIHR portfolio, so if you’re just interested in learning more, please book on.

The session will take place on Tuesday 10th December at 2:3opm until 4:00pm on Lansdowne Campus.

To register your interest or if you have any queries, please get in touch with Research Ethics.

Photo of the week: ‘A sense of place’

Telling a story of research through photography

The ‘photo of the week’ is a weekly series featuring photographs taken by BU academics and students for our Research Photography Competition which took place earlier this year.

These provide a snapshot into some of the incredible research taking place across the BU community. 

This week’s photo of the week was taken by  Dr Sue Baron and is titled;

‘A sense of place’

This image ‘A Sense of Place’ illustrates one of the many often unreported benefits of co-creation projects, where research outputs are achieved by BU staff, students and members of the public working together. An important part of being human is for us to feel a sense of place; not just in terms of our environment and objects but also through our experiences and the connections we make as these contribute to our sense of belonging, togetherness, comfort and security. Being aware of the importance of these factors is vital in research that seeks to investigate or report on human experience as was the aim of this project. This image captures the positive sense of place and togetherness which developed between two former strangers, Emma and Helen (L-R) through their engagement with this project. Helen has cerebral palsy and complex communication needs and has experienced many and varied challenges as a patient in hospital which she wanted to share.

Outputs from the project include a series of filmed interactions between a patient and nurse. An example can be viewed on Virtual Empathy Museum click on ‘Take a Walk in my Shoes’, Simulation Room and ‘Empathic care of a person with cerebral palsy e-simulation’. The photograph was taken on location in Helen’s home.

If you have any questions about the Photo of the Week series or the Research Photography Competition please email

WeObserve launches its first online course: Citizen Science Projects – How to make a difference

WeObserve, in partnership with FutureLearn, introduces its first online course, Citizen Science Projects: How to make a difference. The course starts on 18 November 2019 and will run for four-weeks. It is open to anyone and is free to participate. The course is now open for registration on the FutureLearn platform here.

During the course, learners will be able to discover citizen science projects and find out how to create and lead their own citizen observatory. Citizen science experts will share their knowledge, experiences and best practices in delivering citizen science projects. The course will also support co-creation and shared learning through discussion forums and group activities.

Exploring a diverse range of citizen science topics including:

  • Understanding the issue or problem: exploring environmental issues, deciding on a researh focus and defining the research question(s).
  • Creating a community: finding the people who are brought together by a shared concern and positively nurturing the sharing of ideas and experiences.
  • Deciding what data to collect: using the research question(s) to select what information will be gathered.
  • Capturing or generating the data: collecting the information, keeping motivated and engaged.
  • Analysing the data: interpreting the data, being able to spot trends and anomalies.
  • Disseminating results: using the findings from the data to communicate with others about the environmental concern.
  • Change-making and planning action: using the findings to lobby for change, or plan an intervention or action to inform others about the environmental concern.

Through this course, the aim is to build an international community of learners that will explore what is citizen science, what are citizen observatories, which tools they can use and where to find them, how to plan and conduct a data collection campaign, and how they can act.

This a great opportunity to reach an audience of DIY Citizen Scientists interested in taking action in their own communities, or researchers interested in the Citizen Science method.

For more information please contact Adam Morris – Engagement Officer

A seminar sesssion ‘Community branding from the safety perspectives’ is on the way😌 27th November 2019, 10:00-11:30. Venue: TBC

We will have a seminar session with the guest lecture, Dr Sachiyo Kwakami (Fukui University, Japan) on the 27th November. This session will be held as a Skype meeting at EBC.

Dr Kawakami is a PostDoc researcher who is specialised in the field of ’Consensus Building in communities, and she has been working on the research projects on ‘Learning and collaborative problem solving attitudes’ in Fukui area.

During this session, we will discuss ‘potential functions of a community and citizens’ collaboration’ and the impact of ‘collaborative work as the management platform’ to contribute to the local issue solving (e.g., problem recognition of high-radio active waste disposal and how to support marginal settlements in the deprived area).

This session will provide unique topics in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ‘Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being’, ‘Goal 9: Sustainable Cities and Communities’ and ‘Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals’.

This session also aligns with BU2025 strategic investment areas (SIAs), Simulation & Visualisation and Assistive Technology.

The BU ECRs, PhD researchers, and MSc students are welcome to this session.
The session will be facilitated by Dr Hiroko Oe with a contributor, Mr. Gideon Adu-Gyamfi (MSc International Management).
*For more details, please email to😇

BU Studentships: Drop-in Support Sessions

A reminder that BU is running two drop-in support sessions this week for Academic Staff considering applying for the BU Matched Funded Studentship Competition which launched last month.

The sessions will be facilitated by a number of Academic and Professional staff who will be available to answer questions about securing matched funding, developing research degree projects or the application process.

There will be two sessions:

  • Lansdowne Campus: When: Tuesday 12 November 2019 | Time: 12:00-13:00 | Where: EB203
  • Talbot Campus: When: Thursday 14 November 2019 | Time: 12:00-13:00 | Where: F106

Please ensure you are familiar with the allocative process (see below) before you come.

The competition plays an important role in growing PGR numbers, building and strengthening of a greater number of external relationships, providing a stronger Fusion learning experience for our PGRs. For 2020, there will be up to 46 matched funded PhD studentships available over three strands:

  • PhD Studentship Strand 1 Allocative Matched Funding (up to 9 matched funded studentships)
  • PhD Studentship Strand 2 Competitive Matched Funding (up to 31 matched funded studentships)
  • PhD Studentship Strand 3 DTC Pump Priming (up to 6 matched funded studentships).

In addition, for the first time this year, BU is offering a limited number of MRes Studentship Competitive Matched Funding (up to 3 matched funded studentships).

Application Process

At this stage, academic staff are invited to submit proposals for matched funded Studentship projects which, if successful, will be advertised to recruit PhD candidates for a September 2020 start.

Full details, including the BU Studentship Allocative Process and Proposal Form, can be found on the Doctoral College Staff Intranet .

Submission Deadline:

Applications should be submitted to the Doctoral College via email to no later than 5pm on Monday 13 January 2020.

If you have any questions about your application please speak with your Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice (DDRPP) or the Doctoral College Academic Managers: Dr Fiona Knight (for FST or FHSS enquiries) or Dr Julia Taylor (for FM or FMC enquiries).

Please ensure applications contain all relevant information (project proposal signed by Faculty DDRPP; letter of support from matched funder; due diligence form signed by Faculty DDRPP) as incomplete applications will not be considered.

Wafer-thin bicycles, speedy shorts, go-faster trainers: controversial technology in sport

When the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours as part of the recent INEOS 1:59 Project Challenge, this was arguably one of the most significant achievements of athleticism since Sir Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954. But almost immediately afterwards there was controversy, not toward the runner or the unofficial nature of his run (his record has no official status), but over his running shoes.

The trainers in question were the AlphaFLY running shoes designed and manufactured by Nike. They are built around a carefully considered sole design that absorbs the energy of each foot strike and then helps store, channel and return it as the athlete runs. Its various patented innovations include the types of polymers used and how they and air pockets are located to absorb and return energy, coupled with a carbon plate built into the midsole. The question is, can a running shoe really be they key to sporting success? Or is it just an easy target for others’ misplaced jealousy?

A study published back in 2005 predicted the probable limits of the men’s marathon record. Yet since then the maximum projections in that study have already been exceeded by around two minutes, and nearly by four if you include Kipchoge’s time. On that basis it seems fair to suggest that the shoes are at least partly responsible for such large and unexpected performance improvements. The International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body, has established a group to study the Nike’s running shoes and report back with an adjudication.

A more recent study examining shoe technology supports this concern, suggesting that a predecessor to the Alphafly shoe design had been shown to improve running economy significantly. In fact, compared directly to other elite-level trainers in the same study, the performance gain was in the range of 2.6%-4.2%. At the razor thin margins of elite sport, that sort of benefit is the equivalent of bringing a gun to a knife fight.

Seeking an edge through technology

To be sure, as far as debating technological assistance in sport goes, we’ve been here plenty of times before. The Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman wore a one-piece aerodynamic suit in the 400 metres at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. In 2008, the very nature of disability itself was challenged when South African Oscar Pistorius attempted to run in both the Paralympic and Olympic Games the same year while using a pair of composite prosthetic legs. These, like Kipchoge’s shoes, also raised concerns about the nature of and extent to which technology contributes toward helping us perform at our very best. In a systemic review published in 2015, I found the impact of technology in sport as having brought a huge source of positive interest, but, on occasion, being hugely damaging.

The British Olympic team recently unveiled its new track cycling bicycle, dubbed HB.T, upon which athletes will be competing at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This machine (a project undertaken between British Cycling and manufacturers Hope and Lotus Engineering) pushes the rules to their absolute limits and demonstrates the flair that Lotus themselves applied back in 1992 when they designed Chris Boardman’s gold medal-winning Lotus bicycle. But this design was itself later banned from competition due to its perceived unfairness.

The new Team GB bicycle is resplendent with an unusual fork configuration and bowed, thin frame members that virtually disappear from view when you look at it head on. Engineers will be keen to know the measured advantages. But I’m wondering whether the real effects of the bike are in the psychological blow to its opposition as it is wheeled out for the first time – at a point probably and quite intentionally too late for competing cycling teams’ to respond to in time for Tokyo.

The general criticism behind such new technology is not just about how effective it may or may not be but also about its perceived fairness. Such arguments typically debate issues surrounding equal access to a technology, the ability to ensure any new technology is safe, that it is not fundamentally an unfair advantage, and that it doesn’t ultimately change the nature of the sport entirely.

Some sports governing bodies attempt to remove or marginalise the impact of technology. Cycling has tried several times to do so. However, even the relative simplicity of a sport such as running was changed forever when Kipchoge used a huge team of around 40 pace-setters in an aerodynamic formation and those shoes.

Technological progress can be slowed, but it can’t easily be halted – and arguably shouldn’t be. So there will be much more debate on the effects of technology ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games as more athletes, teams and manufacturers all compete for the most prized medals in competitive sport.The Conversation

Bryce Dyer, Principal Academic, Bournemouth University

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

NERC Peer Review College Call for Membership 2019

NERC is recruiting for peer review college members, core panel members and panel chairs to refresh its current membership and support its peer review processes.  The main role of Peer Review College members is to provide reviews of discovery science research proposals (grants and fellowships), Highlight Topic grants and to participate in discovery science moderating panel meetings. However, members may also be asked to assess proposals to other NERC schemes within their area(s) of expertise, or advise on funding policy and process development.

NERC are looking for members with experience in all types of environmental science and members who work at the interface with other councils or who consider themselves to work across disciplines and who are happy to peer review multi-disciplinary proposals. They would also like to enhance membership covering some particular areas of expertise:

  • Animal behaviour ecology
  • Bird migration and behaviour
  • Coral reefs
  • Data/modelling
  • Deep sea benthic ecosystems
  • Glacial and cryospheric systems
  • Land use ecology
  • Large scale atmospheric dynamics and transport
  • Ocean-atmospheric interactions
  • Solar & Solar-terrestrial physics
  • Science based archaeology
  • Technology for environmental applications
  • Volcanic processes

Each application must be supported by a senior colleague. The supporting statement can be associated with different organisations if appropriate. Previous members are very welcome to apply again.

Applications must the completed online by 25 November 2019.

Applicants will be informed of decisions by the end of December 2019.

Full information on the process can be found here. If anyone from BU is interested in applying then please can they inform Jo Garrad, RDS Funding Development Manager? Past applicants and peer reviewers have been contacted directly.

Dr Mark Readman at the Creative Industries Workshop in Istanbul

Earlier this month I took part in a ‘Creative Industries Workshop’ in Istanbul. This was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Istanbul Development Agency. About 40 of us had won funding to attend – a mixture of UK and Turkish ‘experts’ (academics and industry representatives) – and we were tasked with addressing the challenges faced by Turkey’s creative industries.

The key issue presented to us was how to maximise the potential for growth, diversification and resilience in Turkey by identifying the specific affordances of the creative industries. There is clear ambition in Turkey to “increase the value added of goods and services produced in the country” and the UK is seen as a model for such growth.

The thematic areas which we addressed were: Ecosystem – the structures of finance, networking, collaboration, services, and actors which facilitate growth; Demand – the sensitivity to awareness, ‘customer needs’, and particularly the ways in which other sectors (such as tourism) might complement and stimulate this; Design and value added – the emphasis on digital transformation trends which might ‘intensify user experience’ through improving the quality of life; Data and knowledge – how the creative industries are defined, the relationship between data and policy, and possible research which might produce new models.

The workshop was a very stimulating fusion of different perspectives, and each group presented ‘solutions’ to the funding bodies which drew on our experience and understandings of successful policies and practices. Some of us, however, of a more critical mind set (and I won my funding on the basis of promising to provide this) had further questions that we wanted to pursue, for example: the need to avoid a kind of ‘colonial approach’, dispensing ‘wisdom’ from the UK; the problematic relationship between the creative industries and the craft industries – ways of achieving complementarity without collapsing key differences; the notional affordances of ‘ecosystems’ – some of us suggested that ‘true creativity’ prospered despite, rather than because of ‘ecosystems’; and, ultimately, the nature of this thing called the ‘creative industries’, which is often presented as an ‘ontological category’, but which tends to be a strategic category – some transparency about this seems to be required.

There will be a further call from the AHRC intended to nurture some of the collaborations that were made possible in the workshop, and the challenge will be to maintain this critical stance whilst working together to stimulate worthwhile projects (and we saw some excellent examples of existing initiatives). As we face life post-Brexit, Turkey is likely to be a significant partner, given its position, between Europe and Asia.

Mark Readman, FMC

Wheels in Motion! BU at the APP Food and Health Forum

Prof Jane Murphy (Ageing and Dementia Research Centre, ADRC) was invited to speak at the All Party Parliamentary Food and Health Forum (22nd October 2019) on the topic of malnutrition. Chaired by Sir David Amess MP, Jane spoke about nutrition related problems in older adults including people living with dementia, food and hydration problems in hospitals and tackling malnutrition more effectively across health and social care. She also shared research informed resources that help identify malnutrition including the ‘Nutrition Wheel’ and  the Eating and Drinking Well with Dementia guides for care staff and family carers and friends produced by the ADRC. BU PhD student Gladys Yinusa (supervised by Dr Janet Scammell, Prof Jane Murphy and Dietetic Manager Grainne Ford) attended the meeting. Jane raised awareness of her research on food and nutritional care at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust.

Dr Trevor Smith, President of British Association for Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) presented preliminary findings of the malnutrition screening survey as part of its work during Malnutrition Awareness Week 2019 14-20th October as well as Declan O’Brien, Director General, British Specialist Nutrition Association who spoke about the costs and health impacts of malnutrition.

There was much discussion and important concerns were raised by Eleanor Smith MP, Baroness Walmsley, Baroness Greengross as well as representatives from member organisations including the British Dietetic Association, Association for Nutrition and other attendees. MPs attending offered their help to take forward some of key issues discussed including the need for public health policy to recognise the nutritional needs of older people and effective malnutrition screening and treatment policy. Much to follow up on and real scope for impact.

The minutes will be available for public view on the APP Food and Health Forum webpage.

Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Best Practice Workshop

On 24 October 2019, the GCRF Panel of the University hosted the first GCRF Best Practice Workshop that brought together well-over 20 academics, GCRF Principal Investigators/Co-Investigators and interested parties to discuss best practice from existing ongoing GCRF projects and activities being undertaken at BU.

The day began with a rough guide to GCRF terminology delivered by GCRF Panel Chair, Professor Lee Miles of the BUDMC and the morning session was completed by targeted presentations by GCRF project leaders at the University on the nature and progress of their respective projects. This latter session not only provided an opportunity for all those present to have a detailed insight into the diversity of work going on at the University under GCRF auspices – from research on elephant movements in Sumatra, to disaster management scenario building and guidance in Africa and Nepal, to the challenges of utilising new technologies to communicate the views of indigenous communities in South America.

This was followed in the afternoon by detailed sessions chaired by members of the GCRF Panel on design, implementation, monitoring and reporting and synergising of GCRF projects that were not only opportunities for those at the workshop to learn some of the challenges and instances of best practice, but also provided a chance to further discuss the nuances of the respective GCRF open call competition that is presently being advertised by the University.

A vibrant and good natured discussion was a characteristic of all the respective sessions. Informal feedback has been very positive and the GCRF Panel intends to capture some of the insights and commentary of the GCRF workshop to inform its future deliberations.

Expressions of Interest Close TOMORROW – Postgraduate Researcher Development Steering Group – Call for Members (Academics, PGRs and ECRs)

Help shape and drive postgraduate researcher development at BU.

Join the brand new Postgraduate Researcher Development Steering Group to provide direction to postgraduate researcher development at BU.

Some of the main responsibilities include:

  • Develop and enhance the strategic direction, nature, quality, development and delivery of the University’s provision of researcher development for postgraduate research students (PGRs) which reflect the needs of all PGRs.
  • Guide centrally and faculty provided researcher development provisions promoting complimentary support of both increasing the personalisation of support for PGRs.
  • Evaluate University-wide PGR researcher development provisions, to ensure all programme content is maintained at a high standard and aligns with the university strategic priorities under BU2025.
  • Promote the benefits of facilitation of researcher development to staff and the benefits of engaging with researcher development to PGRs.
  • Enhance the overall PGR student experience at BU.

See the full Terms of Reference for details on the Steering Group if you are interested in becoming a member. There will be 2 meetings per academic year.

Please submit your Expression of Interest, including a half-page as to why you are interested, the knowledge, skills and experience you can bring to the group, via email to Natalie at by midday, Friday 1 November.

Membership available:
PGR Student Champion: 1 per Faculty (open to all PGRs)
Academic Champion: 1 per Faculty (ideally an active PGR supervisor)
Early Career Researcher: 1 representative

Expressions of Interest will be assessed by the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Steering Group, we look forward to receiving them.

BU Academic Targeted Research Scheme – closing date soon

In recognition of the important contribution that early career academics play in driving research for the future, we are delighted to continue the BU Academic Targeted Research scheme to attract and recruit talented individuals in targeted research areas. Following the successful recruitment of three new posts, we will employ up to another three new Senior Lecturers with significant postdoctoral expertise (or of comparable experience) with outstanding potential in alignment with one of three targeted research areas:

  • Technology for behavioural change
  • Sustainability, consumption and impact
  • Sport and Sustainability

We wish to recruit a diverse cohort of individuals with the motivation to become future academic leaders in their field. As an academic at BU, successful candidates will develop their career in exciting work environments, be provided with a high level of dedicated time to drive research activity and build capacity, and have the freedom to develop their research interests within the targeted areas. BU is committed to Fusion and as such successful candidates will also have the opportunity to contribute to the education and professional practice activities within their Department.

To support these roles and accelerate their careers, BU will provide three years of full-time salary (or part-time equivalent) and reasonable costs directly related to the proposed programme of research activities (up to £10k per year). The standard Academic Application Form must be completed and in all cases accompanied by the BU Academic Targeted Research scheme application form, which will propose the research activities and request funding.

To find out more about these exciting opportunities, please read the scheme guidance and visit the BU website.

The deadline for applications is Monday 4 November.

Any enquiries should be directed to

Photo of the week: ‘The Place: A health and fitness shop’

Telling a story of research through photography

The ‘photo of the week’ is a weekly series featuring photographs taken by BU academics and students for our Research Photography Competition which took place earlier this year.

These provide a snapshot into some of the incredible research taking place across the BU community. 

This week’s photo of the week was taken by PhD Student Orlanda Harvey and is titled;

‘The Place: A health and fitness shop’

‘The placement of this model of the Incredible Hulk outside a health and gym store embodies one of the initial findings from my research. Part of my exploration into the experiences of men who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) evidences that one driver for building muscle is the link between muscularity and masculinity. Interviewees referenced the influence of social media images and ‘ripped’ celebrities as a reason for the current increase in use of AAS for recreational purposes and others talked about the muscular physique as being ‘what women want’.

‘Using hyper-muscular images, such as the Incredible Hulk to encourage people to purchase supplements, which have been found to illegally include AAS (Evans-Brown et al. 2012). This is tapping into the trend for men to have increasingly muscular physiques. This trend is seeping into western cultural norms and has influenced the design of toys, e.g. the chest sizes of G.I. Joe and Barbie’s Ken (Brownell and Napolitano 1995, Pope Jr. et al. 2016) have significantly increased, unrepresentative of achievable norm. Men, like women, are bombarded with unrealistic images of body shape, which could encourage some to take potentially risky routes such as using AAS to try to achieve the ‘ideal’.

If you have any questions about the Photo of the Week series or the Research Photography Competition please email

Abstracts for The 11th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference.

Final few days remaining to submit your abstract for The 11th Annual Postgraduate Research Conference.
With the option to present at the live research exhibition, oral or poster presentation or BRAND NEW rapid research there are plenty of opportunities for all postgraduate research students at all stages of their research degree.
Send your abstract to by Monday 4 November (that’s Monday coming – so plenty of time over the weekend).
Registration to attend will open soon!