Category / BU research

Phytoplankton research aboard R.V. Cefas Endeavour

Dr. Dan Franklin and Deborah Steele, School of Applied Sciences, have joined forces with scientists from across Europe on a research cruise in the North Sea exploring the abundance and growth of plant cells (phytoplankton).

The research team conducted their study aboard the R.V. Cefas Endeavour, using specialised optical instruments called flow cytometers, which analyse thousands of cells per second.

Using this technology the scientists have built up a comprehensive picture of what grows where and how productive the different cells are.

This data will improve the way plant growth is seen by satellites and will help to map out fish production, which is ultimately dependent on phytoplankton growth.

Dan Franklin said: “We were exceptionally lucky with the weather and enjoyed calm seas throughout the cruise. Our track took us North from Lowestoft, across to the Dogger Bank, east into Dutch coastal waters before returning to Lowestoft via the Greater Gabbard wind farm in the Thames estuary. The fact that we had calm seas made the lab work much easier. I found the habitat complexity and biodiversity of the North Sea a revelation – everywhere was different. When not working long hours in the laboratory, we were fortunate to see plenty of wildlife such as whitebeak dolphins, various seabirds such as gannets and guillemots, and possibly minke whales and orcas.”

The research trip was made possible by the generosity of CEFAS, the government laboratory responsible for monitoring fish stocks, promoting the sustainable use of marine resources and improving the marine environment. BU extends thanks to CEFAS for this opportunity.

You can view an excellent video of dolphins from the trip below:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DhzSaq_KS4

Get your own business cards!

Last month I attended the GrantCraft: Research Workshop Day that Corrina arranged and which many of you attended. The session, facilitated by Dr Martin Pickard, was a huge success and we will definitely be inviting Martin back to run a similar workshop at BU again.

During the ‘Impact and Benefits’ session the importance of business cards in establishing academic networks was discussed, and I was surprised to note that less than 10% of the audience already have cards.

The Vitae website notes that business cards are essential in establishing academic networks, and that networks enable researchers to:

  • create a professional image
  • exchange information and keep up-to-date with new developments
  • identify potential areas for collaboration
  • establish disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional and cross-sector groups
  • get published

With this is mind the Research Development Unit has funding available to purchase some business cards for academics who need them. If you’d like some business cards then let us know and we’ll see what we can do! Email us at researchunit@bournemouth.ac.uk

BU Research Themes – have your say!

The future BU Research Themes are starting to take shape but your input is still needed!

Several champions have already stepped forward to start defining the themes, and these can be read on a special part of the blog – BU Research Themes. Everyone is encouraged to read and comment on these emerging ideas. Once fleshed out these themes will shape the future BU research strategy and will inform how research is presented on the BU website.

No one has yet stepped forward to define the following potential Research Themes:

  • Recreation and Leisure
  • Creative and Digital Economies

If you have an interest in either of these themes then please do help us to flesh these themes out. See our previous Research Themes blog post for details of how to get involved. The completed templates were due back last week but the deadline has been extended until Friday 10 June.

Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Cross BU themes – big but still narrow?

Outlines for the big themes are unfolding, or are they? Let me share some observations. Several weeks ago, the professoriate had an immensely fruitful brainstorming meeting to discuss, among other things, how we can take forward the promotion of cross-University research collaboration and which big research themes would be suitable given their current representation in the funding landscape and their contribution towards societal need. Of the impressive and broadly supported list that emerged, three themes have so far been tackled: Technology and Design, Ageing, and Health & Wellbeing. Their recent descriptions on the research blog, however, reveal what I think may turn out to be a fundamental dilemma. Those three themes, the way they are outlined, can still be run by their home Schools alone and look like the continuation of big themes that were in existence already before we started to brainstorm rather than the roadmap to a wider integration of thoughts and people. I hasten to add here that I hold up my hands for not having engaged enough myself with two of the themes that my area of expertise can contribute to, but my impression is that there may be more people like me out there who just need that little kick. Therefore, for the penny it is worth, here are my suggestions for broadening out the themes on ageing and health & wellbeing.

The ageing society is at the fore, and will continue to be so for generations to come. However, do we trace old age back in time – and by that I mean from prehistory well into post-medieval periods? Do we settle happily with the perpetuated notion that people in the past all died young? How would a better understanding of the size and importance of the elderly cohort in past societies change our perception of old age today? How can we interrogate the most immediate source material to learn about humans in the past – their skeletal remains? Biological Anthropology (or Bioarchaeology) is set up to make the contribution here. First of all, dying young was by no means everybody’s fate. Not infrequently, people lived to respectable high age, comparable with, say, that during the Victorian period (once they survived infancy and early childhood). Vastly improved methods of age assessment from human skeletal remains now provide an increasingly clearer picture of life and death in the past. This information can be most beneficially used to inform research on the life course, differential mortality and patterns of longevity for girls and boys, women and men, in the context of prevailing socio-cultural, political and economic circumstances. I am sure; this can strike a chord with the outline on the ageing theme as it stands.

In a similar vein, health & wellbeing has for a long time concerned biological anthropologists. Palaeopathology is one of the prominent and rapidly expanding sub-fields of the discipline. Using sound, clinically-informed diagnostic approaches, patterns of disease (infectious, metabolic, degenerative, dental, neoplastic etc.) and evidence for treatment and care of the infirm can be reconstructed that provide a fascinating insight into living conditions and ambient socio-ecology of times past.  Naturally, this also feeds back into the Ageing theme, as morbidity is one of the prime causative factors of differential mortality. Palaeopathological diagnosis extends into deep time as well and extends as far back as to include our hominin ancestors who were all but exempt from chronic disease that left traces of skeletal alterations.

I am aware that these two sketches may go too far for some, but I am at the same time convinced that a holistic approach, which explicitly includes the past and which embraces both biological and social sciences, will be able to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of two defining and prominent themes that have a strong pedigree at BU. All comments welcome.

Dr Zulfiqar Khan is elected as Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Dr Zulfiqar Khan, School of Design, Engineering and Computing, has achieved the status of Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE).

 

The title is the highest elected grade of membership within the IMechE. Fellowship is awarded to members who have demonstrated significant individual responsibility, sustained achievement and exceptional professionalism during their careers.

This is an excellent achievement – congratulations Zulfiqar! 😀

BU research-based film to be directed by Josh Appignanesi

Rufus Stone, a film by Josh Appignanesi

A film about love, sexual awakening and treachery, set in the bucolic countryside of south west England, and viewed through the lens of growing older.

Josh Appignanesi, London-based filmmaker, script writer and director, has been chosen to direct a short film based on three years of research at Bournemouth University.  The film, Rufus Stone, will tell the story of being gay and growing older in the British countryside.

Appignanesi recently directed and script edited the comedy feature film, The Infidel, written by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili and Richard Schiff, was released internationally in Spring 2010.  He has written and directed several short films, most notably Ex Memoria (2006) which stars Nathalie Press and Sara Kestelman in a study of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, funded by the Wellcome Trust; and Nine 1/2 Minutes (2003), a romantic comedy starring David Tennant.

Rufus Stone is to be produced as the key output of the three-year research project, “Gay and Pleasant Land? – a study about positioning, ageing and gay life in rural South West England and Wales “. The Project is a work package in the New Dynamics of Ageing Project, “Grey and Pleasant Land?: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Connectivity of Older People in Rural Civic Society” and funded by the British Research Councils.

Dr Kip Jones, Reader at the School of Health & Social Care and the Media School, who is the project’s Principal Investigator and Executive Director of Rufus Stone said, ‘We are very fortunate to secure Appignanesi’s involvement in this important output resulting from our three year’s of research efforts. Our hope is that the film will dispel many of the myths surrounding ageing, being gay and life in British rural settings.  By engaging Appignanesi, the film and the results of this important, in-depth research will have significant impact on a wide variety of audiences’.

Champions Answer the Call!

Several champions have stepped forward to help define the BU Research Themes.  You may recall I asked for people to help frame these themes and encouraged as many people as possible to step forward with their thoughts.  In fact the more views we have for each theme the more debate we can generate. 

To help this debate we are posting the detail from the templates on a special part of blog – the Themes page.  I encourage everybody to engage and to comment on the text as it is posted.  If you feel inspired then fill in a template as well!  The more people that get involved with this debate the stronger the definition of each research theme will be.  So please have your say!

For the template, please see my previous Research Themes post.

Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation)

Champions Answer the Call!

Several champions have stepped forward to help define the BU Research Themes.  You may recall I asked for people to help frame these themes and encouraged as many people as possible to step forward with their thoughts.  In fact the more views we have for each theme the more debate we can generate. 

To help this debate we are posting the detail from the templates on a special part of blog – the Themes page.  I encourage everybody to engage and to comment on the text as it is posted.  If you feel inspired then fill in a template as well!  The more people that get involved with this debate the stronger the definition of each research theme will be.  So please have your say!

For the template, please see my previous Research Themes post.

Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation)

Research Informed Teaching

I spoke at the Education Enhancement Conference about a month ago on the subject of research informed teaching and have been asked to share my slides on this subject by several individuals since.  Not very happy to do this not least because of the picture of a young Bennett, so instead I am posting the gist of the talk here in this post.

For me research informed teaching goes to the heart of what it is to be an academic.  I love the phrase that a ‘university’s mission is to educate but its reputation is defined by its research’.  For me this speaks to the central duality of our profession – education in combination with research.  Because who would want to be at a university where knowledge is not being created?  At BU over the last few years we have had the ‘four pillars’ of research, enterprise, education and professional practice and these have done much to clarify the metrics for pay progression and promotion, but on the downside they are often seen as separate and competing activities rather than one collective whole.  For me research is everything from the creation of new knowledge, via its application in applied or contract research, through its dissemination via CPD to professional practice.  If one takes this broad definition then there are just two spheres – education and research – and the synergy in the overlap between the two is the place to be.  In fact one can see professional practice and knowledge exchange with society as the surrounding mix which helps bind these two elements.  This is the heart of research informed teaching, or if your prefer teaching informed research! It is this duality which has excited me throughout my career.

I have taught (and hope to continue to do so) for just under twenty years a range of earth science units from basic geomorphology, through glacial geology to a range of environmental and professional practice units.  Throughout research has been central to my teaching.  In the presentation referred to above I gave a series of examples from my own experience to illustrate just a small selection of what can be done.  I looked at five broad areas: (1) research and scholarly output for learning and research; (2) the power of field projects and courses; (3) placements and project students; (4) students and enterprise; and (5) unit design.

Throughout the 1990s I wrote a series of student focused textbooks produced as a result of my own teaching and the wish to produce a text tailored directly to the needs of my students.  Books on earth history, stratigraphy and my main passion of glacial geology.  These books were produced as a by product of my teaching but also shaped my teaching, allowing it to reach a much wider audience.  They may not have had any relevance in the turns of RAE/REF but they served an important function, not least of which was to improve my own knowledge.  I wrote a series of review papers at this time as well, directly driven by a pedagogic need to help my students with difficult subjects, but helping also to shape the academic agenda in these areas.  These papers are very well cited and two where the cornerstone of my contribution to RAE-2008.  They were driven by pedagogy but contributed directly to my research profile and plans.  I re-wrote a first year units last year only to see the unit axed during a curriculum re-write – I can’t complain too much since I initiated the curriculum re-write!  I put a huge amount of effort into this re-write reading widely and synthesising material in new way.  I don’t think of this as lost effort because one I really enjoyed doing it and two I intend to write the unit up as reader in environmental change given a couple of months spare.  Perhaps this will have to wait for a while but I will get to it soon I hope!

I ran field courses as a young lecture and used to turn students loose on Dartmoor each year to work independently on a range of field problems.  For over a decade they collected research data using simple techniques building an archive which I have yet to completely mine.  When people talk about student data you often here people say ‘but student data is poor, you can’t use it!’  But in truth student data is never poor and if it is, it is because you failed to teach them well enough.  It is about treating students as research equals as you would any other potential collaborator.  My greatest success of recent years – the Science publication in 2009 – was only possible because of an international field school (Koobi Fora Field School) where students provide the vast majority of the labour and contributed widely to the field debates.  While working as a contaminated land consultant in Dorset I used a succession of student placements and project students to help deliver these contracts.  Directly involving students in live consultancy is great experience for them and a source of reliable labour – you know the quality because you trained them!  There are lots of ways of involving students, but the key is to treat them as equal partners in all that you do.  There are also some fantastic examples in the School of Tourism and Media School of enterprise education in which students gain directly from being involved in live projects often taking the lead in solving business problems.

My final example was from a few years ago when a member of staff resigned a couple of weeks before the start of term and as all managers do I had to pick their third year unit up myself.  There was no way I was going to write 20 weeks worth of lectures, one week ahead of the students.  Done that and as they say bought the t-shirt and as we all know it is not a great experience for the students or for one self.  A more creative solution was needed, so I decided to run the whole unit around four projects with student’s gaining the required knowledge and meeting the learning outcomes through their delivery.  The four project were based on research that I wanted to have explored; I was the client, they were the consultants.  Of the four projects three led to clear research output at the end of the unit.  One focused on seeing whether Ground Penetrating Radar would work on Chesil Beach.  It did and led to me re-doing the work that summer with some of my colleagues leading to a great little paper in Geomorphology one of the leading Elsevier journals in the earth sciences.  Without the proof of concept the students provided this would never have been written.  A second project provided the proof of concept for a PhD studentship which looked at the geochemistry of Poole Harbour, while the third project compared a series of methods for producing photomontages of complex geological sections.  I use these methods now routinely within my own research.  The fourth project was a great student project but just didn’t lead to any thing more, but three out of four is a very good strike rate!  The units also got excellent reviews that year and two of the students went on to get firsts.  There is a huge amount of potential to create units of this sort the key is to be creative.

These are just some of the examples I have used to combine research and teaching over the years but I can think of many more.  I can anticipate the objections as illustrated in the picture, but in truth these are often not real and as the examples above show can easily be overcome.  So in conclusion research is at the heart of a good student experience with students learning from those that are learning themselves.  We need to find creative way of engaging our students in research, enterprise & professional practice.  The transferability of research skills is in my view one of the fundamental assets of a university education.  A balanced portfolio of research is vital to career progression and external profile.  It is not just about REF and there is lots of scope to do research which supports, is informed by and in turn informs ones teaching.  The secret is to go for it!

Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation)

Research Centres at BU: What is the way forward?

Research organisation is a vexed question.  How should we organise ourselves to maximise our research potential and foster innovation and collaboration while boosting our collective output?  Over the course of my career I have seen and participated in many different forms of research centre or grouping, from informal clusters of academics sharing ideas over coffee, to formally defined research centres.  The key to the success of all these different centres is meaningful intellectual interaction leading to a sense of purpose and output; not just talking shops, but ones focused on talk and action!  Some of the most successful centres I have seen consist of little more than a couple of established academics – say a Professor and a lecturer – and around them they have built through their own funding bids a fluid team of talented post-docs and research assistants who create the energy and drive as they push to develop their own career and often land that first lecturing job.  The role of the Professor is simply to guide and channel this energy, writing the applications to retain or employ new ‘bright things’.  This is the model I understand best with Professors leading from the front and generating their own research teams.  There are a few examples of this within BU, but not many, and I would like to see many more in the next few years.  It is a model that drives research growth and develops critical mass without a dependence on established posts.  It is also common in most research active Universities across the World.

At BU we have in recent years ‘forced’ research centres into existence, insisting that every academic belongs to a centre.  They have become establishment structures often at odds with academic groups and departments, which have a broader focus, often led by frustrated field marshals unable to inspire or direct the troops within them.  This was all elegantly brought out in the review undertaken by Professor Adrian Newton a few years ago.  A key point here was that structures for research were often at conflict with structure for education, yet at the heart of BU’s future is the duality of education and research feeding from one another in a creative fashion.  It is one of the reasons why one of the out comes of this review was a focus on academic groups or departments which combine both research and teaching.  The question needs to be asked therefore about what to do with our structure of research centres?

I have almost finished visiting all twenty five of BU’s current Research Centres and the picture is very mixed.  While some are clearly vibrant units where academics are working together to create exciting output both in education and research, others are dysfunctional neither meaningful academic networks, nor effective leadership vehicles.  Added to this mix we have the term Centres of Research Excellence, prevalent in the Strategic Plan of a few years a go.  But we never actually defined what these where and none where officially recognised, although several aspire to the crown.

To my mind there are two alternative ways of approaching the issue of research centres.  The first is based on silo-free, organic academic networks in which academic staff are free to choose where, and with whom, they work and collaborate both on education and research.  Research clusters or centres will form where there is real synergy and research output.  In this model the key is to create an environment where this can happen – where staff can mix freely and find collaborators easily both within and beyond BU and we are actively tackling this at the moment through the Collaborative Tools for Academics Project.  In this approach research would be manifest simply through output produced via the big BU Research Themes we are currently defining and not through static structures of centres or clusters.  Academic Groups and Departments would off course remain and may or may not map on to these organic, output driven clusters of academic talent.

The alternative model is to maintain and/or re-fresh our current structure of centres.  Effectively to reinforce the imposed structures which currently for some prescribe and limit academic freedom and collaborative potential.  Despite these issues it is perhaps a more inclusive model since everybody belongs somewhere, but our recent history suggests that this model limits collaboration and innovation.  There is also a hybrid model in which we recognise a few – literally one or two – Centres of Research Excellence defined clearly by a performance threshold based on output, income, reputation and research impact.  Such status would have to be won and could also be lost if performance declined.  The rest of our research would be defined via a fluid series of clusters and centres which could form and re-form as academic interaction changes over time as with the first model.

Which ever of these models we favour, and for what its worth I am inclined to either the former or the hybrid model, it is essential that we see centres of activity in the broadest sense combining both research and education.  That conflicts with academic groups based on line-management are minimized, but that we create an environment where silo-free collaboration across BU is a reality not just a dream.  So as part of the re-think around the Research Strategy at BU I am interested in hearing from you on this broad topic and look forward to your comments.

Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation)

Search for a Champion? Or BU Research Themes

Thank you to all those people who responded to the online questionnaire about the BU Research Themes.  There were 273 responses!  On this basis we can reduce the short list of twelve societal themes down to ten as set out in the briefing paper (available from  – I:\CRKT\Public\RDU\Research themes\Paper.docx).  The ten are:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Culture and society or Society & Social Change
  • Environmental change and biodiversity
  • Green economy and sustainability
  • Creative and digital economies
  • Aging
  • Learning and public engagement
  • Entrepreneurship and economic growth
  • Technology and design

We urgently need some champions to ‘flesh-out’ these themes to help scope them and allow us to ‘road test’ them further.  I am looking for as many views as possible for each theme; just fill out the template (available from  – I:\CRKT\Public\Research themes\Form.doc) and e-mail it back to me.  The idea is to then distill these views and produce a scope for each; if there are no champions forthcoming then we may be able to reduce the list further.  I need the templates back by the 27 May if possible; thank you!

Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation)

(The documents are saved to the I-drive. If you are on-campus then you need to copy and paste the file pathway into an internet browser. If you are unable to access them please contact Julie Northam who will email you the documents).

BU Studentship Competition 2011

We are delighted to announce that up to 20 match-funded studentships are available for October 2011, or January 2012 starts.  These will be allocated to project teams on the basis of a competitive process across the whole of BU led by Professor Matthew Bennett (PVC Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation) and the Graduate School.  Only the best projects will be funded and proceed to advert as set out in the criteria below.  Preference will be given to those projects demonstrating match-funding, however exceptionally innovative or timely projects on a non-applied theme will be considered for full funding.  Applications should be submitted to Fiona Knight (Graduate School Manager) no later than the 13 June 2011.  Staff are asked to check the eligibility criteria carefully before applying.  Good luck!

Studentship Competition: Details & Criteria

  • Preference will be given to matched funded projects
  • Matched-funding (50%; £21k over three years) may come from: industry/business partners, government and non-government organisations, Academic Schools, NHS, Research Councils or other external bodies.  In seeking match-funding and developing the associated projects applicants are encouraged to avoid a local or regional focus.
  • Exceptionally 100% funding may be granted for highly original, timely and non-applied or “blue-sky” research projects especially where they are strategic importance to a research group/centre.
  • All projects should be linked to a REF Unit of Assessment and map on to its strategic goals.  They must be endorsed by the applicants Line Manager and Head of Academic Group or Deputy Dean (Research & Enterprise).
  • All projects should be innovative, novel and applicants are encouraged to appeal to the imagination of the assessment panel.
  • The first supervisor should take responsibility for the applications and ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria set out below.
  • Studentships are offered on a stipend basis for 36 months only, with fees waived for the same period.  Fees will be charged after 36 months.  Schools (or match funder) are responsible for providing each studentship with a guaranteed grant of between £3k and £5k over 36 months for use by the student to support fieldwork, consumables and conference travel. 
  • Normal studentship terms and conditions will apply.
  • Applications will be assessed and awards made by a panel chaired by: Vice Chancellor – Professor John Vinney and consisting of: Deputy Vice Chancellor – Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Pro-Vice Chancellor – Professor Matthew Bennett, and three Senior Grade 2 Professors.  None of the panel members are eligible to apply for support.
  • Feedback on all applications will be provided to encourage proposal development.
  • Once awarded all Studentships will be advertised and subject to a recruitment process managed by the Graduate School.  Note that these funds cannot be used to support BU staff to complete doctoral programmes.

 

Eligibility Criteria

  • The first supervisor should be the person completing the application and must be a permanent member of academic BU staff.
  • The first supervisor should be an experienced supervisor defined as having successfully supervised an entire cycle of a research degree or successfully completed the full PG CERT Research Degree Supervision.
  • The first supervisor should be research active, and be in consideration for the REF submission.
  • The applicant should be supervising no more than 6 PGR students including this project.
  • All proposals should have a balanced supervisory team.

 

Indicative Timetable

It is envisaged that projects will start in October 2011 or January 2012, as such

  • It is envisaged that projects will commence either in October 2011 or January 2012.
  • The call for proposals will go live on the 16 May 2011 via the BU Research Blog.
  • In late May 2011, a generic “teaser” advertisement campaign (e.g., banner in THES or Guardian) will run announcing forthcoming studentships at BU encouraging potential applicants to watch the website.
  • The call for proposals will close 11.30 AM on the 13 June 2011.  Submission to the Graduate School Manager who will circulate to the judging panel for consideration.  The panel will score each proposal and meet formally to select the successful projects.  
  • Successful applicants will be informed on the 27 June 2011.  Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with formative feedback in the following two weeks. 
  • Full marketing campaign to be launched on the 27 June and projects advertised externally.
  • Closing date for all student applications will be 31 July 2011 using the standard application form and submitted to the Graduate School.  The Graduate School will manage the recruitment process.
  • Interview days for all October project starts will take place in August.  If an October start is proposed the first supervisor must ensure their availability during August to conduct the interviews.  All interview panels will be consist of a member of the selection panel, first supervisor and a Professor from the host School and will be arranged and managed by the Graduate School.  UEG approval of candidates is required and formal offer letters will be issued by the Graduate School.
  • Interview days for all January project starts will take place in September.  All interview panels will be consist of a member of the selection panel, first supervisor and a Professor from the host School and will be arranged and managed by the Graduate School.  UEG approval of candidates is required and formal offer letters will be issued by the Graduate School.
  • Project Start Date 1; 3 October 2011
  • Project Start Date 2; 9 January 2012

 

Proposal forms can be downloaded from here or email the Graduate School Manager.

The Wellbeing across the Lifespan Network

The Wellbeing across the Lifespan Network co-locates with, and builds on the work of CeWQoL (Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life). Staff are welcome from across the University to join the Network and develop interests that either build on CeWQoL’s programmes or extends beyond it into new exploratory areas. Currently, 113 staff are registered for this theme, with sub themes such as quality of life, economic wellbeing, technological support and ethics arising from member’s research interests and which enable collaboration (visit here for the full list).

As a result of a successful HEIF bid application, involving staff from 5 Schools and 3 Centres, we have created a new Wellbeing Project Innovation Space in Bournemouth House, Lansdowne Campus as part of the Collaborative Research Space (which all Network members are encouraged to use) and a new enterprise and linked research programme around ‘Wellbeing in the Workplace’. The next meeting of this network will take place in this space on July 13th 11.30-13.30, please come and meet colleagues who have similar interests and explore working together. We usually have good attendance – and provide a structured session and networking opportunities over lunch. For part of this session we will have a presentation by the Centre for Event and Sport Research.

Professor Steven Ersser is the WBLN facilitator, supported by Dr Heather Hartwell, Associate Professor, both of whom have been involved in promoting a cross -University wellbeing research and enterprise agenda. Steve is departing from the University in July and so sends his regards to all those involved in the Network and thanks to all those who have supported this interdisciplinary collaborative initiative. Heather will continue to facilitate the termly sessions and will become the primary point of contact.

For further information on the Network contact Heather by email.

Out and About…

Prof Alan Fyall, Deputy Dean (Research and Enterprise) in the School of Tourism, reflects on how unstructured networking can benefit academic careers…

Continuing the theme of “talking to strangers”, first raised in the post by Dr Julie Robson on 10 May (Talk to Strangers), I remain a strong advocate of simply getting out and about so you are in a position to actually meet strangers in the first place. Julie is right in referring to networking as deliberate and planned and is right to suggest that clear objectives need to be set at the outset and then followed up. At an early stage of your career, however, I am a strong advocate of simply getting out, be it in the real or virtual world (http://www.academia.edu/ is a good place to start),  as unless “out there” you will never meet strangers and never migrate to networking.

To this day, I remain the very best of friends with colleagues from Edinburgh Napier and Aberystwyth universities having first met them at a late-night encounter at a conference dinner in Newcastle in the mid 1990s. Since then, we have written numerous papers and published four books together while we are currently in the process of writing some new material for the forthcoming REF. One of the books authored is on the theme of Collaboration which quite simply relates to autonomous organisations working together to meet a common goal. All the processes, structures of governance and detailed plans developed to achieve these common goals are virtually guaranteed to fail unless those collaborating get on personally ….. a little like the current coalition government but the less said about them the better!

It is too easy to remain in our offices and too complacent of us to accept that opportunities will simply appear be it to write a paper or be part of an application for a research grant. My advice is to escape the office on a regular basis, mingle with staff either in your own School or beyond, enjoy a chat over coffee or even register for that workshop, conference or event that you keep telling yourself you are too busy to attend. Getting out and about and communicating with your colleagues either at BU or further afield can lead to new friendships and hopefully a co-authored paper or two, a  joint research seminar or if you are really lucky a grant application. One of my best “chance encounters” occurred on a work trip to Malaysia back in 2007 when I shared a taxi from the airport in Kuala Lumpur to the centre of the city with the former Director of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda. In the space of 40 minutes we discussed the state of tourism in the Caribbean and sketched out a PhD proposal while at the same time agonising over which schools to send our respective children. To this day my “KL Taxi” acquaintance remains a good friend and in her new position in the Caribbean is no longer a “stranger” but someone who is a strong advocate of BU, an employer of our students, a conduit to professional international networks and …… a potential co-author and PhD candidate when the pressure of work subsides!

Professor Alan Fyall

Deputy Dean Research & Enterprise

School of Tourism

Workshop on Information Discovery and Data Analytics Made Easy

DEC are hosting a workshop on Information Discovery and Data Analytics Made Easy facilitated by Prof. Michael R. Berthold, Konstanz University, Germany on 18 May.

TIME: 18th May 2011, 10.00 am – 1.00 pm,

PLACE: PG10, Poole House, Talbot Campus

The purpose of the event is to present methods and tools that can be used in processing large datasets and how to discover knowledge from them. Michael Berthold is a coordinator of the project BISON that is a research project funded by EC under the 7FP. He is also one of the founders of KNIME which is a user-friendly and comprehensive open-source data integration, processing, analysis, and exploration platform. So the goal of the workshop is also to start collaboration with Konstanz University and find out more about EC 7FP projects.

The workshop is open to all BU staff and PhD students as well. It will be of interest to all people who are involved in intelligent data processing. For sure it will be of interest for DEC staff: SMART Technology Research Centre, Creative Technology Research Centre and Software Systems Research Centre. I bielieve also that people from School of Applied Sciences will be interested.

Research areas that it covers include: intelligent data analysis, predictive modelling, complexity science, complex adaptive systems, knowledge discovery from data.

SCHEDULE:
10.00-11.00 – From Pattern Discovery to Discovery Support: Creativity and Heterogeneous Information Networks
11.00-11.30 – coffee break
11.30-12.30 – KNIME. Integrating Data, Tools, and Science
12.30-13.00 – Q&A Session
13.00-14.00 – Lunch

Prof. Michael R. Berthold’s Bio
After receiving his PhD from Karlsruhe University, Germany Michael Berthold spent over seven years in the US, among others at Carnegie Mellon University, Intel Corporation, the University of California at Berkeley and – most recently – as director of an industrial think tank in South San Francisco.
Since August 2003 he holds the Nycomed-Chair for Bioinformatics and Information Mining at Konstanz University, Germany where his research focuses on using machine learning methods for the interactive analysis of large information repositories in the Life Sciences. Most of the research results are made available to the public via the open source data mining platform KNIME.
M. Berthold is Past President of the North American Fuzzy Information  Processing Society, Associate Editor of several journals and the President of the IEEE System, Man, and Cybernetics Society. He has been involved in the organization of various conferences, most notably the IDA-series of symposia on Intelligent Data Analysis and the conference series on Computational Life Science. Together with David Hand he co-edited the successful textbook “Intelligent Data Analysis: An Introduction” which has recently appeared in a completely revised, second edition. He is also co-author of the brand-new “Guide to Intelligent Data Analysis” (Springer Verlag) which appeared in summer 2010.

For more information about workshop or to book a place, please contact: Katarzyna Musial (kmusial@bournemouth.ac.uk)

Vice-Chancellor’s Award: Research/Enterprise Project of the Year

The Design Simulation Research Centre (DSRC) in the School of DEC won the Vice-Chancellor’s award for the best research/enterprise project. The research, led by Prof Siamak Noroozi, Dr Philip Sewell and Bryce Dyer, is detailed below.

Members of the DSRC have used the results of previous research, funded by EPSRC and the medical charity REMEDI, to develop a research collaboration with Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd, the UKs leading prosthetics supplier.  This has resulted in the team being awarded an EPSRC CASE Award (£86k) to design and develop a ‘Smart Socket’ to provide lower-limb amputees with increased mobility and improved quality of life.  This collaboration has also led to the development of research to evaluate the performance of prostheses used by athletes in elite sport.

The underlying technology developed has other applications in civil, aerospace and marine engineering resulting in the initiation of two research projects with BAE Systems (PhD matched-funding – £26k and an EPSRC CASE Award – £95k).

IP rights have been negotiated with both companies meaning that a proportion of the income generated form any products developed will come to BU.

The research into the ‘smart socket’ and prosthetics fit has seen widespread public interest as the socket will help soldiers returning to active duty who had been injured in combat.  This has resulted in the following publications in the international press:
– Soldiers could get back to active duty with the help of a ‘smart’ prosthesis” was published in the Guardian, January 2011.
– Ahhh…Comfort! UK Research Takes Next Generation “Smart Limb” to New Level” was published in the International Magazine OandP Edge (Vol. 9, No. 5), May 2010.
– Amputee mobility fix is socket science” was published in the Engineer, February 2010.

The parallel stream of research in the ethical use of sports prostheses saw one of its researchers invited to join the International Paralympic Commitee Sports Equipment Working Group. This advises on legislation of equipment used by athletes at the Paralympic Games. Along with this, invitations in this area resulted in several keynote speeches on the centre’s research at international conferences in both Germany and Spain during 2010.  The team won the research prize at the Paralympics GB National Conference based on this research.

The findings from both projects and the resultant innovations will inform an area which has seen little attention historically.  As a result of this research the team was nominated for ‘Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards in 2010.

The research into prosthetics fit and the smart socket will potentially transfer into widespread practitioner health practise through Blatchford’s 30 UK prosthetic centres. As a result this will influence how amputees are rehabilitated both from treatment within the NHS but also specialised private clinics such as Headley Court which addresses military personnel both retired or seeking return to service.

The research into the prostheses in sport has resulted in across school collaboration between DEC and the School of Tourism. This relationship investigated novel ways of assessing amputee motion. One of the researchers was invited to join a working group within the International Paralympic Committee which will help inform the sports stakeholders and the wider community ahead of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Congratulations to the Design Simulation Research Centre! 😀