Category / BU research

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can book your free tickets here.

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis at the WTO Forum: Facing the Demographic Challenge Through Tourism and Innovation

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis addressed the World Tourism Organization Forum: Facing the Demographic Challenge Through Tourism and Innovation in Segovia, Spain, 26 March 2019.

The meeting was opened by the Prime Minister of Spain, HE  Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, President of the Government of Spain and Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Professor Buhalis contributed to the Round Table focused on Tourism, Sustainability and Territorial Redistribution

Moderator: Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for Agenda 2030 of the Government of Spain

  • Alvaro Carrillo de Albornoz, Director General of Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero
  • Damià Serrano, Director of Experience Marketing and Research at the Catalan Tourism Board
  • Elena Gil, Global Big Data Director at Telefónica and CEO at Luca
  • Violeta Matas González, Responsible for the Tourism Area of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces

Professor Buhalis in his intervention he explained the need for the creation of digital hubs that will enable innovations in rural areas and minimise the distance from the global centres through technology. Creating innovative products and services through facilitating a bottom up approach to empower entrepreneurship and support sustainable development will enable the repopulation of rural and peripheral areas. Smartness and agility will empower the development of innovative ecosystems that can address different market segments and create resources for all stakeholders.

NHS R&D Forum response to Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice consultation

The NHS R&D Forum Research Management Working Group have released their thoughts on how they feel that the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice can be refined and improved, to reflect current needs.

‘The Research Management Working Group is a group of members of the NHS R&D Forum with a wealth of experience
and expertise in both managing and delivering research activity within NHS organisations.’

You can read the group’s response here. The consultation is now closed, however the current Code of Practice can be found here.

If you are planning to conduct research with human participants that lack the capacity to consent or who may eventually lack capacity to consent, then the research application must go to an ethics committee that is flagged to review Social Care research.

BU ethics panels are not authorised to undertake this review or issue approval, and so an application via the IRAS system must be made. Further information can be gained via the HRA website and by emailing Research Ethics.

Congratulations to the SURE 2019 winners.

Over 70 students took part in BU’s fourth annual undergraduate research conference: Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE).

The conference is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates and recent graduates to share their work and develop their presenation skills. This year’s contributions highlighted the great range of outstanding undergraduate research taking place across BU.

The conference allows students to to present their work to peers, academics, staff and attendees from external organisations. As well as demonstrating their academic successes, it gives students the opportunity to take part in a professional conference and network with individuals who could help to develop their research on a greater scale.

Dr Mary Beth Gouthro, co-chair of the conference said: “In its fourth year, SURE is a powerful uni wide platform where high quality undergraduate research is showcased. It’s also a chance for students and staff alike to collaborate and incubate on future research ideas that also feed into BU 2025. The potential reach of their work also builds their confidence and overall impact in their subject areas”

Dr Fiona Cownie, co-chair of the conference followed with “SURE gives students the opportunity to share their opportunity to share their ideas with a broad academic audience. It connects education with research reflecting BU’s Fusion agenda. The confidence students build in participating in SURE enhances their employability; SURE is a great edition to students’ CV.”

There were a number of prize winners as part of the conference, including £20 amazon vouchers for best faculty presentations and posters, and over 16 funded spots to participate at BCUR 2019 for students across each faculty. The overall winner, has been offered a Masters fee waiver.

Winner of the prize for best overall contribution, final year physiotherapy student Eleanor Daniel commented on her experience of the whole day saying;

“I’m still completely in shock, I didn’t expect to hear my name announced. Presenting at the conference was a good experience for developing my presentation skills and it was nice to receive positive feedback about my own research.

It was also exciting to have the opportunity to engage with research undertaken by other students across various BU faculties – there was such a high standard of presentations and posters showcased throughout the day.”

More details including the student abstracts about the conference can be found on the SURE 2019 website. See also #SURE2019 on twitter.

SUBU prize winners:

HSS winner Isobel Butler
FMC winner Balint Bruner

Celia Honan

Emma Upshall

Katie Dennis

FM winner Olly Anibaba
FST winner Bethan Bailey

Jessica Leverton


Best Poster:

HSS winner Laura Heveram
FST winner Bethan Bailey
FMC winner Kari A Noriy

Best original research via oral presentation:

HSS winner Natalie Burdett et al
FMC winner Frieda Gehardt
FM winner Joseph Arundel

Emily Gadsden

FST winner Rebecca Fowell

Best overall contribution:

Masters fee waiver Eleanor Daniel

Congratulations to the winners of 2019’s Research Photography Competition.

This year marks the fifth year of our annual research photography competition. We received 25 submissions from BU academics and students.

The research photography competition is an annual competition where staff and students at Bournemouth University are set the challenge to tell the story of their research through one individual photograph. This year centred around the theme of ‘place’ which could include anything from the place an individual’s research was carried out, to the place their research affected, to the place that inspired their work, to any other interpretation participants may have.

This year’s winner was announced in the new Atrium Art Gallery in Poole House, on Thursday 14th March, by Professor Tim McIntyreBhatty, Deputy Vice Chancellor.

Post-feeding Blood pattern comprised of the artefacts of the blowfly Calliphora vicina enhanced with Bluestar.

First prize was awarded to Christopher Dwen, a BU graduate and Demonstrator in the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Commenting on his award, Christopher said,This competition is proving to be a great platform to showcase all of the fantastic research that goes on across the university. I am particularly pleased that this has allowed me to showcase the type of work that we as forensic science researchers undertake on a daily basis.”

Second place was awarded to PhD student Nurist Ulfa, for her photograph entitle “Digital Virtual, the Liminoid Space.”

“I believe a photo can tell unspoken stories, that’s why I appreciate the photography competitions,” says Nurist.

PhD student Chantel Cox was awarded third prize for her image “Through different eyes.”

“I think the photography competition is a great way for people to share their research with a broad audience,” says Chantel, “Photos are emotive on many levels and a way to touch people that may not have access to your research by other means. I have found that having to think of a photo each year which summarises my work helps me to consolidate where I am and each time I look at it I see something new.”

The photos are now displayed in the Atrium Art Gallery in an art exhibition and will stay up until the 28th March 2019. Be sure to go and have a look when passing by. It is a great way to see the creativity of our BU researchers, to learn about the research being undertaken, and to realise the diversity of research within BU.

REMINDER – Training opportunity: completing and submitting your IRAS application

Are you currently in the process of designing, setting up or planning your research study, and would like to extend your project into the NHS?

Yes? Then you may want to take advantage of this training opportunity.

Oliver Hopper (Research & Development Coordinator, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital) and Suzy Wignall (Clinical Governance Advisor, RDS)  will be running a training session on how to use, and complete your own application within the IRAS system.

IRAS (Integrated Research Application System) is the system used to gain approvals from the NHS Research Ethics Committee and Health Research Authority, before rolling out your study to NHS Trusts. To support this, the session will include the background to research ethics and the approvals required for NHS research.

The session will also be interactive, and so as participants, you will have the opportunity to go through the form itself and complete the sections, with guidance on what the reviewers are expecting to see in your answers, and tips on how to best use the system.

The training will take place in Studland House – Lansdowne Campus, room 102, this Thursday 28th March at 09:30am – 12:30pm.

Get in touch with Research Ethics if you would like to register your interest and book a place.

BU’s research tackles global challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funding opportunity – Climate Environment and Health

NERC/MRC/ESRC in collaboration with the Belmont Forum, have issued a call to fund transdisciplinary, end-user focused approaches to investigate and address the linkages between climate, environment and health. Projects should seek to bridge knowledge gaps, understand health risks, improve predictability, and deliver usable data, information, and innovative solutions to planners and decision makers. The following themes are prioritised for this call; food systems and nutrition; heat and health and; climate-sensitive infectious diseases.

Projects must be eligible to receive funding from at least three partner organisations participating in this call established in three different countries, and should include researchers from the natural sciences, health/medical sciences, social and economical sciences or humanities, as well as societal partners.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 6th May 19, with full proposals due by 23rd July 19. More information is available on the website.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator or your Funding Development Officer, in the first instance.


FM Food and Health research team awarded the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence

The Food and Health research team in the Faculty of Management are delighted that their research into encouraging consumption of plant based dishes has been recognised by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions ‘Seal of Excellence’.

Their research VeggiEAT and Veg+ has led the way to providing an evidence based body of activity of which VegMAX was part. Plant based eating leads to a large net economic gain for society, as well as improved health outcomes for the population.

We are thrilled and proud with this recognition.



Research Impact Fund open for applications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are eight funding panels:

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

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

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

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

Call for EoIs: Unit of Assessment (UOA) Leader for UOA 17 to drive REF 2021 preparations

BU is preparing submissions for units of assessment (UOAs) for REF 2021. Preparation for each UOA is led by a UOA Leader who is supported by an Impact Champion and an Output Champion. From March 2018, UOA Leaders are recruited via an open and transparent process. All academic staff have the opportunity to put themselves forward for UOA Leader roles. The roles are until December 2020.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest (EoIs) from academic staff interested in leading preparations for one UOA:

  • Business and Management Studies

UOA Leaders serve a term up to December 2020, although they can choose to step down during this time. The UOA Leader undertakes a vital role in driving and delivering BU’s REF submission, influencing the University’s preparations, shaping optimal submissions for each UOA and ultimately having a significant effect on BU’s REF 2021 results.

Key responsibilities of the UOA Leader role include:

  • Providing leadership, advice and support on all issues relating to research planning, impact, performance metrics and published guidance relating to the UOA
  • Considering the widest available staff pool for the UOA and present these options to the REF Committee (being mindful of where this potentially impacts upon other UOAs)
  • Having an institutional outlook for the REF, i.e. aiming to optimise BU’s overall REF performance
  • Optimising the UOA submission and that of related UOAs by working to mitigate weaknesses and to highlight strengths across all aspects of the submission
  • Ensuring that outputs undergo rigorous review, internally and externally in order to assess quality prior to inclusion for REF
  • Working with Impact champions and the Impact Working Group to understand the interrelationship of case study quality, selection, placement and staff numbers for the UOA
  • Leading on REF communications within departments represented in the UOA and be the key point of contact and advice with regard to the UOA for Heads of research entities, DDRPPs and Executive Deans
  • Working closely with RKEO who are managing the central REF preparation and submission process
  • Attend the REF Committee meetings

Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment and is recognised accordingly. UOA Leaders are given time to attend meetings and take responsibility for tasks. As such potential applicants should discuss their workload balance with their Head of Department before applying.


Application process:

To apply for either role, please submit a short statement (suggested length 300 words) stating which role you are interested in and explaining your interest in the role and what you could bring to it. This should be sent by email to Julie Northam by 5pm on Monday 25th March 2018.

The EoIs will be reviewed by a gender balanced panel comprising a DDRPP and a member of the professoriate. Applicants successful at this stage will be invited to an interview with the same panel.

The selection criteria used at EoI and interview stage are outlined below. Each criterion carries a total possible score of 5. The role will be offered to the highest scoring applicant. A member of the panel will provide feedback to all applicants.

  • Commitment, motivation and enthusiasm (scored out of 5): Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment. UOA Leaders need to be willing and able to make this commitment. They need to be enthusiastic about the REF and boosting research performance.
  • Skills and knowledge (scored out of 5): UOA Leaders should bring with them skills and knowledge to optimise BU’s REF preparations and submission (e.g. knowledge of the REF process, expertise in research metrics, leadership experience, knowledge about impact, experience of writing and delivering research strategies, etc).
  • Plans for preparing the UOA submission and awareness of the potential challenges and opportunities UOA Leaders are responsible for driving and delivering the UOA’s submission to REF 2021 whilst also maintaining an institutional outlook to optimise BU’s overall REF performance. They should have ideas for how they will do this and the potential challenges and opportunities of this, specific to the UOA.



Questions regarding the process should be directed to Julie Northam (Head of RKEO).

UOA-specific questions should be directed to Prof. Mike Silk (Deputy Dean for Research in Mgmt)

Mental Capacity Act Conference 2019


On the 19th February 2019, Dr Ben Hicks from the Psychology Department and the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC), was fortunate to be invited to present two one hour workshops at the Mental Capacity Act Conference in Dorchester. This is the largest conference for social workers and was attended by around 500 delegates. The conference focussed on assessing capacity in individuals and through a range of presentations by judges and lawyers, sort to outline the many challenges that can be faced whilst undertaking this work. Of particular interest, was a Keynote speech by Alex Ruck Keene, a lawyer based in London that specialises in mental capacity and mental health law. He discussed the many ground-breaking cases he has been involved in regarding the Mental Capacity Act and the multiple publications he has authored that have influenced this area of practice. His passion for, and knowledge of the subject was clearly evident, and it is safe to say that the audience could have listened to him for well beyond his allotted hour and a half timeslot.

Whilst the majority of the conference was concerned with assessing capacity in individuals, Ben took a slightly different angle with his workshops and sought to demonstrate how the ADRC enable people with dementia to have the capacity to contribute to research. This includes: positioning them as experts and eliciting their views at all stages of project development; creating safe spaces where they feel comfortable expressing themselves; and adopting flexible research methods that have a ‘moral sensitivity’ to their capabilities and interests. Ben also outlined the multiple ways whereby society constructs barriers that socially exclude people with dementia and prevent their participation in research and wider society, as well as the work that the ADRC are undertaking to address this. One such method is through a Virtual Reality training program that provides participants with an immersive experience of what it may be like to live with the condition. This innovative approach was well received and a number of the workshop delegates have already approached Ben to enquire about delivering the training within their workplace. This highlights the great work that the ADRC are undertaking to empower people with dementia and provide innovative training to healthcare professionals that emphasises the rights and capacity this population has for contributing throughout society. As one delegate wrote during the evaluation feedback:

“More from Dr Ben Hicks and Bournemouth Uni. He gave an interesting presentation on ageing and dementia research and talked about the responsibilities both himself and his colleagues have undertaken in regards to this. I would be interested to hear more from them.”




The 4th AD-Autonomy Meeting in Brighton – Preparations for the e-Platform Launch

As part of the ERASMUS+2017 project, Dr Ben Hicks and Irma Konovalova from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre and Psychology department, hosted a three day meeting with their European partners from Slovenia, Turkey, Greece and Spain. The meetings were held in Brighton from the 11th-13th March 2019 and were the fourth in a series that have taken place over the past 1.5 years in the representative partner countries. During this time, the project has sought to collaborate alongside people with dementia and their care partners to explore how they seek to retain their autonomy throughout their journey with dementia, as well as develop an information portal that can support them with the challenges they may encounter. This fourth meeting presented an opportunity for the project partners to get together, view a prototype of the online information portal and discuss the training they will be delivering to the end-users during May-July 2019.


The fourth meeting is underway

The first day involved discussions about the training processes and the validation measures that could be used to explore its impact on the quality of life for people with dementia and their care partners. Given the varying professional backgrounds of the partners, with both academics and practitioners present, it was unsurprising that these were the liveliest discussions. However, by the end of the day an outcome was reached that satisfied everyone and so all partners headed off for a well-deserved dinner at a local tapas restaurant.  Although the discussions had been long, and sometimes fairly heated, everyone remained excited and positive about the final stages of the project.


Experiencing some Spanish culture in Brighton

The concluding two days were a little less emotionally charged, as the partners discussed the implementation of the training program within the different countries as well as the dissemination of the final outputs. The project will conclude in September 2019 and plans are underway to present the findings through: setting up local events within the representative countries; writing one technical and one academic paper for the varied audiences; and delivering presentations at international conferences. So far two conferences have been targeted for 2019: the International MinD Conference “Designing with and for People with Dementia: Wellbeing, Empowerment and Happiness,” held in Germany, and the Open Living Lab Days “Co-creating innovation: scaling up from Local to Global” in Greece.  However, given the positive feedback the project has received to date, it is likely that more opportunities for international dissemination will present themselves in the future.

Exciting times await!

By Irma Konovalova