Category / BU research

BU retains the HR Excellence in Research Award

We are delighted to announce that we have successfully retained the HR Excellence in Research Award, recognising our support for the career development of researchers.

HR excellence in research logoThe award demonstrates our commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and thereby improving the working conditions and career development for research staff. In turn this will improve the quantity, quality and impact of research.

We have held the HR Excellence in Research Award since 2013 and successfully retained the award following a rigorous external review.

Dr Rebecca Edwards, Senior Research Development and Support Manager and Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group, said: “I am delighted that BU has retained this prestigious award, which recognises the achievements of the cross-University team comprising colleagues in HR, OD, RDS, academics across all Faculties and our amazing Research Staff Association.”

BU is one of two universities to retain the award following their eight-year review and is one of 96 Vitae UK member institutions with the award.

As part of the review process, institutions need to demonstrate that they have completed a gap analysis of their existing policies and practice against the Concordat, developed a robust action plan for implementation, and taken into account the views of researchers.

Key achievements and progress highlighted in BU’s eight-year review submission include:

  • Dedicated support and development opportunities for research staff and Early Career Researchers (ECRs), such as through the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF) which offers upwards of 100 training and development events per year
  • Investment in the Academic Targeted Research Scheme to recruit talented early career researchers in targeted research areas, with dedicated time to develop their research interests
  • The availability of bridging funding to provide continuous employment for research staff for short periods between externally funded contracts

We have also committed to investing in the creation of fifteen new post-doctoral researcher fellow positions through the Research Capacity Transformation Scheme.

A new action plan, taking us to 2023, has now been developed – driven by our community of researchers.

The plan focuses on supporting research careers through appropriate management, appraisal and development opportunities.

This includes the creation of a virtual hub with the full programme of opportunities available to research staff; a new career development framework; and for all researchers to receive annual appraisals, regular performance reviews, careers guidance and development opportunities.

Professor Mike Silk, Deputy Dean for Research and Professional Practice in the Business School and Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group, said: “At BU, we are committed to nurturing the supportive and healthy culture required to ensure all of our research staff have the opportunity to grow, develop and thrive.

“Working with the Research Staff Association, individual researchers and those who have responsibility for managing researchers, the Research Concordat Steering Group aims to ensure all researchers have the opportunity to realise their potential, deliver high quality outcomes whilst at BU, and be equipped with multiple skill-sets that will enable success in future careers.

“The award recognises the steps we have made at BU to create the very best culture and environment possible for our researchers to thrive.”

Find out more about our commitment to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers 

NIHR ARC Wessex Mental Health Research Hub

The NIHR ARC Wessex has been awarded funding to boost mental health research. The newly established NIHR ARC Wessex Mental Health Research Hub seeks to bring together researchers from different disciplines and partners across the region to plan and conduct research. It will also encourage and support new research talent through mentorship, internships, a summer school, and new post-doctoral positions. For more details see Wessex Mental Health Research Hub gets £750,000 to boost research into mental health | NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex

The Mental Health Research hub is seeking academics from BU to join teams as co-applicants, collaborators of steering group members.

To build capacity, the following projects have been developed in the approved theme areas:

Ageing (excluding dementia) – promotion of healthy ageing by implementing and evaluating strategies to address alcohol disorders, loneliness and isolation.

Healthy Communities – developing, implementing and evaluating strategies to identify young people at risk of mental health conditions, promote early intervention and care transitions and bolster resilience.

Long-term conditions –  enhancing evidence-based support for those with long term mental health disorders such as treatment resistant anxiety and depression, approaches to mobilising community systems of support and fostering resilience, include social prescribing.

Workforce and Health systems – develop and test evidence-based interventions matched to staff need and the organisational and professional context, to promote mental health, wellbeing and resilience in workforce providing care and treatment to people with mental health problems.

If you are interested in getting involved in one of these projects to boost your own research and develop collaborative opportunities for new research in mental health, please contact me  ASAP and will connect you up!


RKEDF: Research Methods Training Fund – Applications Open

An unsuccessful grant application can be demoralising so make your next bid successful! Remember, there can be many reasons for the lack of success! Some beyond your control others not!  Funders feedback will help to evaluate why your bid was unsuccessful and along with training via the Research Methods Training Fund you can look forward to future success!  

 The Research Knowledge Exchange Development Framework has announced this fund specifically targeted at academics who have submitted unsuccessful bids!   The aspiration is that by reinvigorate the research methodology via a training workshop successful recipients will aim to resubmit their bid within a 12-month period! 



How do I apply?  

MS Form application 


When do I need to have booked and paid for the course by?  

By Wednesday 1st June 2022 


When is the closing date?  

Friday 22nd April 2022 


Who selects the successful applicants?  

DDRP and RDS Panel will offer support to those in scope 


Examples of courses that you might choose: 

NCRM research courses  

NCRM training overview 

Oxford Qualitative Courses: Short Courses in Qualitative Research Methods 

Oxford Qualitative Courses – from specialists in qualitative research methods — Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford 

Qualitative Research Methods Courses 

Qualitative Research Methods Courses | University of Oxford ( 


Examples of methodological support you might choose: 

Residential research retreat 

Research Design Service South West ( 


Postgraduate Researchers and Supervisors | Monthly Update for Researcher Development

Postgraduate researchers and supervisors, hopefully you have seen your monthly update for researcher development e-newsletter sent earlier this week. If you have missed it, please check your junk email or you can view it within the Researcher Development Programme on Brightspace.

The start of the month is a great time to reflect on your upcoming postgraduate researcher development needs and explore what is being delivered this month as part of the Doctoral College Researcher Development Programme and what is available via your Faculty or Department. Remember some sessions only run once per year, so don’t miss out.

Please also subscribe to your Brightspace announcement notifications for updates when they are posted.

If you have any questions about the Researcher Development Programme, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Natalie (Research Skills & Development Officer) 

Urgent note to those applying to BU Global Visiting Fellowship Scheme Round 3

If you are applying to this year’s round of the Global Visiting Fellowship Scheme (Round 3), with a closing date of 18th March 2022, we have just noticed that in some communications, the link to the application form is going to an old form. Please note the round three application form can be found here.

The main change is to the date fields for expenditure. If you have any queries, please contact

BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth Associate Editor

A few weeks ago I was invited as Associate Editor for BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth to draft a few paragraphs about how my research links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth is an international scientific journal published by Springer.  The edited version of my draft was put online earlier today, click here for access.


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH  (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health)


Introducing the BMC Series SDG Editorial Board Members: Edwin van Teijlingen

Institutional Learning from Funder Feedback: Strong research collaborations

When a funding call comes out that matches your own interest or experience, it is easy to get caught up in the whirl-wind of excitement in assembling a team to put together an application. One of the first things most applicants think about is their immediate colleagues, past or current, from the academic world.

Somewhere along the way in the process, non-academic participants are considered.  In many cases, approaches are made to outside organisations – sometimes through existing contacts, to join on a proposal. When these organisations are approached, they are often asked to provide a letter of support, often without much substance or specificity when it is a new relationship. Feedback from various funders has demonstrated that what is being looked for is strong, existing relationships, in particular those that provide leveraged (matched) funding or resource. Good applications have been able to demonstrate true partnerships, and not tokenism through a bland letter of support. The RDS can help review draft letters of support to ensure they appear to meet funder need.

Why non-academic partnerships and collaborations?

Research partnerships and collaborations with non-academic experts (whether they be in business, health sectors, NGOs etc.) are likely to contribute in forms that will contribute to ‘real world’ uses, from practical experience.

Who you should approach will vary but it is best to have demonstrable proof of either working together or good strategic alignment with the planned research. The level of involvement will demonstrate a good partnership. A mistake that many make is contacting a ‘big’ company just because they are ‘big’, and not because they are the most appropriate partner for the research.

Support for finding non-academic collaborations

As well as any connections through current sectoral/subject experts within existing networks, at BU, there is support from Ehren Milner (, the Research Facilitator for Industrial Collaborations, and Ian Jones (, the Head of External Engagement. They field queries from organisations looking for collaborations from BU and may know of an organisation that would align with your research.

One of the best methods to build a network is to make yourself, and your research known through networking events. There are a series of collaborations events and STEAMlabs that BU run to help link together academics and external organisations.  Many other organisations (e.g. the KTN) run their own networking events. You should think about building your networks years in advance, not days.  One piece of advice that has come back from external organisations is that when it comes to leveraged funding, they like to know where their resources are going; so in most cases they wish to spend time getting to know academics first. A poor approach to new connections will start off asking for support before a direct conversation has even been held.

Guidance on Leading an external research application.

The above link will lead to a guide intended to assist you through the application stage when you intend to lead on an RKE project. The details of the process may vary between funding bodies, but the basic principles are likely to be very similar.

Helpful advice, and a pro forma table, are available to assist with ensuring the integrity of any collaborative relationships. Good luck, and happy networking!

UKCGE Route to Recognition for Supervisory Practice: Deadline for Submission March 2022






Are you an established research degree supervisor?

Would you like your supervisory practice acknowledged at national level? Join a growing number of BU staff who have gained recognition.

The UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) has developed the Good Supervisory Practice Framework and the Research Supervision Recognition Programme to allow established supervisors to gain recognition for this challenging, but rewarding, role.

  • Acknowledging the Complexity of Your Role: The Good Supervisory Practice Framework helps you navigate the wide-ranging, highly complex and demanding set of roles that modern research supervisors must undertake to perform the role effectively. Informed by academic research and approved by the sector, the 10 criteria of the GSPF acknowledges this complexity and sets a benchmark of good practice for all supervisors.
  • Identify your professional development needs: Reflecting on your own practice, compared to a benchmark of good practice, often reveals new perspectives on the challenges inherent in supervision. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses enables you to build upon the former and address the latter with targeted professional development.
  • Recognition of your expertise by a national body: Becoming a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor, you can demonstrate to your university, peers and candidates that your supervisory practice has been recognised by a national body.

Details of how to apply can be found here.

  • Individuals to complete application form, including 2 supporting statements from a co-supervisor and a PGR.
  • Individuals to submit application to the Doctoral College by 22 March 2022, including email support from your Deputy Dean for Research & Professional Practice
  • Doctoral College to submit applications to UKCGE by 25 March 2022
  • UKCGE to review application and feedback to individuals.

In line with the UKCGE guidance, individuals should send their completed application to the Doctoral College ( before the BU Window Closing date below:

The key dates for the next application windows and review outcome dates are:

BU Window Closes UKCGE Window Closes Expected Outcome
22 March 2022 25 March 2022 July 2022
25 October 2022 28 October 2022 February 2023

A session providing an introduction to the scheme will be run as part of the Supervisory Development Lunchbite Sessions will be held on Monday 16 May 2022.

Deadline approaching | Apply now for a cluster of postgraduate researchers and postdoctoral research fellows

RESEARCH CAPACITY TRANSFORMATION SCHEME – Call for expressions of interest

Apply now for a cluster of postgraduate researchers and postdoctoral research fellows – closing date for EoIs on 7th March

Bournemouth University’s (BU) recognises that postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and postdoctoral research fellows (PDRFs) are critical to a high performing research environment. Working under the direction of academic research leadership, they provide academic staff with research capacity, which enables the production of research outputs, strengthens research impact, and increases grant bidding.


Key information

The Research Capacity Transformation Investment Scheme is focused on building capacity to undertake cutting-edge research securing external research funding. A cluster hiring approach will be used to appoint inter- and/or multi-disciplinary teams of PDRFs and PGRs that focus on a common theme to create “clusters” undertaking strategically important and targeted research. The scheme will invest in:

  • 10 PDRFs and 10 PGRs in September 2022, across 2-5 clusters
  • 5 PDRFs and 5 PGRs in September 2023, across 1-2 clusters.

The clusters need to build critical mass in areas of research strength and provide a team-based, fused experience for PDRFs and PGRs that is anchored in one or more existing high performing entities, such as Research Centres or Institutes. Applications must include external match-fund partners for the PGR studentships.

Full details of the scheme, including the policy document, can be found on BU’s staff intranet.

Application Process

The application process will be in two stages:

To ensure there is timely progress, Research Development & Support and the Doctoral College will manage the funding application process 2022, with oversight of the recruitment process.

The indicative timetable for the 2022 allocation and recruitment is as follows:

Date Action
Monday 7th March 2022 Closing date for submission of EoIs (see Appendix 1) at 12 noon
Monday 21st March 2022 Successful applicants invited to provide a full application form (see Appendix 2)

Unsuccessful applicants notified

Monday 25th April 2022 Closing date for submission of full applications at 12 noon
w/c Monday 16th May 2022 Successful outcomes announced and recruitment to commence

Unsuccessful applicants notified

June 2022 Adverts for positions to close
July 2022 Interviews and selection
From 1st September 2022 Successful PDRFs to start (funding available from 1 September 2022)
From  26 September 2022 or 23 January 2022 Successful PGRs to start (funding available from 26 September 2022 with an alternative start date of 23 January 2023)


Submission Deadline:

Before completing the EoI or full application form, please ensure that you have read all the relevant guidance (including the policy document) and information available on the Staff Intranet.

Applications should be emailed to before the following deadlines:

Monday 7th March 2022          Closing date for submission of EoIs at 12 noon

Monday 25th April 2022          Closing date for submission of full applications at 12 noon


Supporting Documentation

Recruitment of PGRs will be in line with the BU Match-Funded Studentship Allocative Process .

For additional queries, please email



  • What can I request?
    • Each proposal should contain a request for a minimum of 2 PGRs and 2 PDRFs, to a maximum of 5 PGRs and 5 PDRFs, or any combination.
  • Do I have to find a match-funding partner for the PGR element of the scheme?
    • You must be able to produce evidence of external partners providing match-funds at the full application stage.
  • Why can’t I request funding for one PDRF or one PGR?
    • This scheme is intended to provide investment into research teams, rather than discrete pockets of activity.
  • What type of proposal is likely to be supported?
    • It is recommended that you review the criteria against which applications are assessed against to ensure that you demonstrate how your proposal meets the criteria.
    • Colleagues are reminded that reviewers of concepts are likely to be from a wider range of disciplinary areas. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you write your proposal is a way which is clear for all to understand and avoids highly technical or discipline specific language.
  • I’m still confused. Where do I go for help?

BU’s new Read and Publish deal with Cambridge University Press

We have a new Read and Publish deal with Cambridge. By entering the location and institution you will see the publishing agreement as below and also have links to eligible journals.

To be eligible, articles must:

Embedding Impact in Funding Applications

Writing about impact in a grant application can be challenging, but a strong description of the benefits you hope your project will have can make all the difference between getting funded or not.

This refers to Research Impact. Although some projects will have a theoretical scope with no discernible benefit outside academia, these are unlikely to be eligible for external funding.​

You can find our A brief guide to impact on Brightspace which explains what we mean by Impact.

The Funding Landscape

Funders consider the whole call when reviewing applications, so think about what is currently big in policy/research/the media etc. The panel review all applications which have been shortlisted and will assess the potential impact of funding a group of them, not just individual projects.

PPI/participatory/engaged research has never been more important. Studies show that effective and meaningful co-production/involvement of beneficiaries enhances impact at every stage of the study​ so make sure to thread it throughout where appropriate.

A quick note on UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Recently the Research Councils dropped their required ‘Pathways to Impact’ attachment. This does not mean that impact is no longer important in applications, but that they want to see it woven throughout.

Funder Requirements

Requirements will vary by funder, call, theme, endowment etc., so always read the guidance and speak to your Research Facilitator for advice.

Academic excellence is fundamental. Consider additional collaborators if they would provide a different angle, and include knowledge mobilisers or those who are needed for implementation.

Look out for key words in the guidance that highlight impact: engagement, non-academic partnerships/governance, regional/national significance etc. ‘Value for money’ is also common- potential research is a social return on an investment and cost consequences are scrutinised.

For projects working with developing countries you need to aim for impact on the involved population​. Try to demonstrate that the generation of impact will be led by those it most affects.

Impact in the Application

For a standard UKRI application you should be aiming to include impact in each section:

Objectives and Aims: integrate your research goals and your impact goals​ – funders want to see the need for the research.

Plain English Summary: non specialists need to be able to understand the impact so the panel can assess properly the problems you are solving and the proposed beneficiaries.

Case for Support: most of this needs to contain impact including the background to the project and its potential contribution, methods of research and their relevance/suitability, track record of the team, delivery milestones, monitoring and evaluation, success criteria etc. ​

Justification of Resources: cost impact in, you are encouraged to!​ Consider public engagement resources, evaluation costs, staff members – UKRI say that they want to see 10-15% of costs going to impact.

Work Packages (WP): either have an Impact WP, or include some impact in all of your WPs​

Fast Track Impact is full of great resources including How to integrate impact into a UKRI case for support

For all funding applications:

Make impact easy to find: use formatting, cross referencing or signposting. This can also help with wordcounts, as flowcharts and diagrams if allowed often don’t count as text.

Involve beneficiaries/stakeholders/end users in the design of the research and impact plan: BU has brilliant resources for involving the public in research, so do contact PIER or VOICE for advice.

Think about the project’s longevity​: consider what follow-on support you might need to generate/upscale impact, or how you might leverage further investment after the funding. This is difficult but funders like to see project sustainability and an exit plan.


If you have trouble identifying your potential impact, consider:

  • Aims – what do you want to change with your research?​
  • Beneficiaries/stakeholders – who will benefit?​
  • Activities – how will you reach your goals?​
  • Evaluating and evidencing – how will you demonstrate change?​

A Theory of Change model ( can be helpful in plotting these concepts.


Finally, remember that embedding impact at the start will improve both the application and your research, and that you should be aiming for game-changing (but realistic) results.

Some useful resources are listed below, and you can always get in touch with your Impact Advisors at

Stakeholder analysis (ODI)​

Research Impact toolkit (ESRC)​

Impact tracking and evaluation (Matter of Focus)​

Impact planning guide + template (Fast Track Impact)​

Planning for impact – NIHR toolkit for researchers – ARC (many links)​

PiiAF (Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework)​

Towards co-production in research with communities (AHRC)

Equality Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) toolkit – NIHR webinar


Dear colleagues

– Are you an NIHR funded researcher?
– Are you planning to submit a grant application to NIHR?

NIHR Research Design Service East Midlands are hosting a webinar introducing the new EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity) toolkit and is a valuable starting point for researchers seeking to develop more inclusive research proposals.

The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) has developed an EDI toolkit to support researchers to consider and embed EDI at each stage of their research project, from inception through to dissemination, implementation and impact.

The 90 minute webinar is on 30th March 2022 at 13.30.

More information and link to book here.

Your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU)

We can help with your application. We advise on all aspects of developing an application and can review application drafts as well as put them to a mock funding panel (run by RDS South West) known as Project Review Committee, which is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before this is sent to a funding body.

Contact us as early as possible to benefit fully from the advice

Feel free to call us on 01202 961939 or send us an email.

Institutional Learning from Funder Feedback: Research Methods

An insight from Associate Professor – Dr. Ian Jones.

One of the great benefits of acting as a reviewer – whether of funding applications or research papers – is being able to learn what is happening at the ‘cutting edge’ of a field, not only in terms of subject knowledge, but also in terms of methodology. Here, we can learn from both good, and not so good practice. Having recently reviewed a number of applications for the funding scheme associated with my own professional body, It was clear that such a task has clearly had a significant impact upon my own understanding of what makes ‘good’ research, and what makes a ‘good’ application for funding.

Perhaps the key term from the latest round of reviews – to me at least – was that of ‘coherence’, and coherence between various different elements of a proposed methodology. Often within applications there is an understandable focus upon ‘methods’ rather than ‘methodology’. To me, this means a missed opportunity to generate such coherence – and subsequently a missed opportunity to justify the key methodological decisions. As one example we can look at the importance of the ontological and epistemological basis of the work (perhaps more relevant within the social, rather than the natural sciences) which is often overlooked, or only briefly addressed. Often, even a relatively brief acknowledgement of these ideas can help to justify choices in terms of methods, sampling and data analysis. This can be taken further with reference to another – often overlooked – detail, that of the research design. Often, whilst research designs are outlined, their role as a ‘link’ between the epistemology of the study and the data collection and analysis methods is often omitted, where again, it can lead to a real sense of coherence within the methodology. The best bids had not only detail about the broader methodology, but also a real coherence between each element, with a consistent story being told, from the philosophical assumptions of the study, which guided the research design, where each method had a clear link both to the broader epistemological issues, and also the subsequent analysis and interpretation of the data.

Finally, and crucially from a reviewer’s perspective, the idea of coherence between researcher, subject and methodology is essential, often being the first question, a reviewer will be required to address. The research itself is not independent of the researcher, and does the study show coherence in terms of not only researcher-subject coherence (does the researcher have an established record in the area) but also researcher-methodology coherence (what evidence is there that the researcher could undertake this methodology successfully), again focusing not just on methods, but the broader methodology as a whole (for example is there coherence between the choice of research design, and the researcher’s own experiences and attributes (often key, for example, in ethnographic designs).

None of these points are ground breakingly original, but it is interesting to see that there is still great variation in how methodologies are constructed. And assessing such methodologies has proved to be of immense value when think about my own work.