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Category / BU research

RKEDF: UKRI Assurance and compliance for externally-funded grants

Thursday 20th June – 10:00-11:30 – Hybrid – Poole House, Talbot Campus

Thursday 20th June – 13:00-14:30 – Hybrid – Gateway Building, Lansdowne

UKRI Assurance and compliance for externally-funded grants

This workshop is aimed at staff who have active UKRI-funded grants, or are in the process of applying for UKRI-funded grants. The workshop will cover; how UKRI conduct its assurance and compliance visits (audits), what you as a principal investigator or co-investigator need to be aware of, how to prepare, and the support you can expect to receive from Research Development & Support. By the end of the workshop, you’ll be aware of the common pitfalls and what you can do to ensure a positive outcome if UKRI pick your project as part of their assurance and compliance process.

The external facilitator for these sessions is Charles Shannon

Please note there is an AM and a PM session on the same day. You are invited to attend online or in person.  

Book your place here – under “UKRI Assurance” in the drop-down menu

For any queries regarding this workshop, please contact RKE Development Framework

Formulating Practice Research Methods in Bid writing

Formulating Practice Research Methods in Bid writing

In person event – 21st June 2024 – 11:00 – 13:00 – Create Lecture Theatre, Fusion building, Talbot campus.

This workshop is aimed at anyone trying to formulate funding proposals for grants that primarily follow a practice research method. It will look at how to formulate a practice research project, starting with the framing of the initial idea in relation to peers and relevant prior research/art, how to describe the methodology in a way that meets funding bodies requirements for transparency and rigour, and how to translate outputs into impact.

Attendees can be at any stage of a bid writing process, but should come with an idea that they want to work on, or past experiences that they can reflect on.

Book your place here under ‘Formulating Practice Research Methods in Bid writing – 21/06/2024’ in the drop-down menu.

For any queries regarding this workshop, please contact RKE Dev Framework 

World Wellbeing Week 2024 – free activities for PGRs and ECRs

Next week! Bookings are open – free activities for PGRs and ECRs!

The international awareness event World Wellbeing Week is approaching! Commencing June 24, we are offering a variety of free activities to PGRs and ECRs to give you the opportunity to unwind and look after your mental, physical, and social wellbeing!

We have the following activities planned:

Click on the links above to book.

Any questions, please do get in touch

Best wishes,

The Doctoral College

Free Webinar – Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) – Science Communication and Research Integrity

UKRIO LogoUKRIO has announced details of a forthcoming Free Webinar “Science communication and research communication” Wednesday 26 June 2024 10:00 – 11:oo. 

Speakers will discuss how ‘scicomm’ should consider the rigour of the original research and its publication process, including any peer review and principles relevant for scicomm, such as accuracy, transparency and declaration of interests.

Experts Speakers will be:

Mun-Keat Looi, International Features Editor at the BMJ and Journalism Lecturer at Imperial College London, will look ‘outwards’, debating the relation between research results and their eventual career in public media, with especial reference to trust, accuracy and social justice.

Dr Stephen Webster, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, Imperial College London and Director of The Good Science Project will, by contrast, will look ‘inwards’, discussing the role of communication within the science institution, asking in particular how the objectives of the university, and the objectives of the actual researcher, can be properly aligned.


As BU subscribes to UKRIO services, UKRIO webinars are free and open to anyone who may be interested in research integrity and ethics, good research practice and improving research culture and avoiding misconduct.

To register – please click here (takes you to external website).

RKEDF: ECRN: Where do you begin with Research funding?

ECRN: Where do you begin with Research funding?

Friday 12th July – 10:00-12:00 – Online

The workshop is aimed at researchers from across BU at either postdoctoral or early career stage. It will focus on funders including (but not limited to) the AHRC, UKRI, British Academy, Welcome Trust, and NIHR.

Are you an Early Career Researcher interested in applying for research funding but unsure where to start? In this BU ERC Network special session, professional bid writing consultant Sally Baggott (PhD) offers her insights in the contemporary funding landscape for ECRs, as well as a comprehensive guide on how to improve your bid writing skills, how to work with external partners, and how to apply for funding at BU. The workshop will give an overview of various funding schemes currently available to ECRs, discuss what funders look for within their subject remits and evaluation, and demystify the process of application.

The facilitator for this event is Sally Baggott – Find out more here.

Book your place here under ‘ECRN – Where do you begin with Research funding?in the drop-down menu.

For any queries regarding this workshop, please contact RKE Dev Framework 

BU Research Conference 2024: Powerful Partnerships – practical workshops

A lightbulb created by interlocking pieces of stringThe BU Research Conference returns on Wednesday 26th June, where we’ll be exploring the power of partnerships and how collaboration can enhance your research.

As well as a keynote talk from Isabella Pereira, Head of the Institute for Community Studies, and a panel discussion around building partnerships, we also have a range of practical workshops to help with developing effective research collaborations and finding partners.

Each workshop will last 45 minutes and attendees will have the opportunity to attend two workshops on the day – click on the links below to book your place.

This workshop will provide practical strategies for engaging with underserved communities and how to build on social capital and lived experience of communities to develop and implement impactful research.

This workshop will be facilitated by Dr Sophia Amenyah, Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

International collaboration can increase the quality, reach and impact of research, as well as provide access to datasets, facilities, and teams of talented researchers. This workshop will feature a lively discussion about the benefits of international research collaboration, opportunities to get involved in BU strategic partnerships overseas, and to meet some of our international partners in person.

This workshop will be facilitated by Dr Gloria Khamkar, Principal Academic in Journalism, Dr Alastair Morrison, Head of International Partnerships, and colleagues from our partners at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and the Brest National School of Engineering (ENIB), France

This workshop will be an opportunity to hear and discuss opportunities for collaborating with VCSOs to maximise the relevance, quality and impact of our research. Sharing evidence and examples of best practice, the facilitators will share their insights and experiences from both academic and community perspectives, outlining where to start and how to create opportunities where all involved can work together as equal partners for equal benefit.

This workshop will be facilitated by Professor Mel Hughes and Dr Kate Jupp from the BU PIER partnership

Professor Marcin Budka will talk about his experience of working with several businesses on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), a government-funded initiative that brings universities and businesses together to drive innovation.

He will share his insights into the process – from application to completion – and the long-term strategic impact that can arise from a successful KTP collaboration.

This workshop will be facilitated by Professor Marcin Budka, Professor of Data Science

This workshop offers an opportunity to be inspired by hearing about how to bring research into knowledge exchange collaborations creatively, with impact, and in a funding limited environment. Hear from two of our BU professors about the collaborative work they have been doing in the Ukraine and in Sierra Leone, which has had a significant positive impact on the lives of individuals, and on policy makers, in two socio-politically instable countries.

This workshop will be facilitated by Dr Wendelin Morrison, Knowledge Exchange Manager, Professor Mark Brisbane (the Ukraine Pechersk-Lavra Project) and Professor Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis and Disaster Management

There will also be the chance to find out more about a Smart Leisure and Active Ageing project, led by a team from BU Business School and the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre working in partnership with local tourism and leisure partners to support inclusion and accessibility.

The BU Research Conference takes place on Wednesday 26th June in the Fusion Building. To find out more and book your place, visit Eventbrite.

FHSS academics’ paper cited 1,000 times

This morning ResearchGate alerted us that our paper published two decades ago ‘The Importance of Pilot Studies’ has now been cited one thousand times [1].  This methods paper in the Nursing Standard is very often used by authors quoting a  paper in their research methods section when they have done pilot or feasibility study for a larger-scale study. This paper is also our second top cited paper with 1,982 citations on Google Scholar and, interestingly enough, on SCOPUS it is not listed at all.

Pilot studies are a crucial element of a good study design. Conducting a pilot study does not guarantee success in the main study, but it does increase the likelihood of success. Pilot studies fulfill a range of important functions and can provide valuable insights for other researchers. There is a need for more discussion among researchers of both the process and outcomes of pilot studies. 

This paper is one of several methods paper focusing on pilot studies we have published over the past 22 years [2-8].


Professors Vanora Hundley & Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health




  1. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2002) ‘The importance of pilot studies’ Nursing Standard 16(40): 33-36. Web:
  2. van Teijlingen E, Rennie, AM., Hundley, V, Graham, W. (2001) The importance of conducting & reporting pilot studies: example of Scottish Births Survey, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 34: 289-95.
  3. Simkhada, P, Bhatta, P., van Teijlingen E (2006) Importance of piloting questionnaire on sexual health research (Letter), Wilderness & Environmental Medical Journal, 17(4): 295-96.
  4. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2001) The importance of pilot studies, Social Research Update Issue 35, (Editor N. Gilbert), Guildford: University of Surrey.  Web:
  5. Hundley, V., van Teijlingen E.
  6. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2005) Pilot studies in family planning & reproductive health care, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care 31(3): 219-21.
  7. (2002) The role of pilot studies in midwifery research RCM Midwives Journal 5(11): 372-74.
  8. van Teijlingen E, Hundley, V. (2003) Pilot study, In: Encyclopaedia of Social Science Research Methods, Vol. 2, Lewis-Beck, M., Bryman, A. & Liao, T. (eds.), Orego, Sage: 823-24.


PGR Online Social

Were you unable to make it to the Summer Social on the 12 June? Join us online instead!

On Friday 21 June 13:00 – 14:00 we are hosting an informal and interactive online gathering of Postgraduate Researchers.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to expand your academic circle and make new connections!

Book your place here.

The Missing Persons Indicator Project: Research Collaboration for Knowledge Exchange

The Missing Persons Indicator Project, initiated several years ago by Professor Melanie Klinkner and Andreas Kleiser from the ICMP, has recently been enhanced by a visit to the ICMP, aimed at optimising knowledge exchange. Its goal is to showcase each state’s relationship with missing persons through comprehensive data analysis. This initiative began as a collaborative effort, with data gathering undertaken by undergraduate students at Bournemouth University, engaging students in real-world research and ensuring the project’s sustainability by welcoming new students each September.

Since its inception, the project has been fortunate to work with many enthusiastic students who have completed the first round of Structural Indicator 1. This indicator demonstrates the commitment of states to international legal instruments. The table below outlines the current indicators involved in our data collection process:

Context Indicator A qualitative assessment as to whether the state has experienced extraordinary events that may be correlated to a rise in missing persons cases.
Structural Indicator 1 The commitment shown by states to international legal instruments is an indicator of their duties and obligation in relation to missing persons.
Structural Indicator 2 Domestic legislation by states as an indicator of their duties and obligation in relation to missing persons.
Structural Indicator 3 Institutional framework(s) established by states as an indicator of their duties, obligation, and enactment of legislation in relation to missing persons.

Thanks to HEIF funding, the Missing Persons Indicator Project recently had the opportunity to employ four student volunteers over the past two weeks. Their task was to accelerate the data collation for these indicators. By working through each indicator on a state-by-state basis, they developed a comprehensive understanding of each state’s unique situation. This method also allowed them to recognise and utilise specific details that might recur across the different indicators.

Every day, a designated “data-checker” reviewed previously inputted data to identify and correct any anomalies. This rigorous review process ensures the data’s accuracy, ethical integrity, and suitability for international dissemination.

Throughout this process, the students have been deeply engaged, asking insightful questions that challenged our perspectives and prompted us to consider aspects we might have overlooked. The atmosphere has been a hub of activity and intellectual growth.

We are extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication of our student researchers. Their contributions have demonstrated that a student ‘data-lab’ is an excellent model for conducting research and achieving meaningful results.

As this term draws to a close, we are keen to alert teaching staff to the potential for their students to join the Missing Person Indicator project in September as we recruit a new cohort for the new academic year. To learn more about the project please visit our website!

Conversation article: Documenting the world’s largest prehistoric rock art in South America – new study

Dr Philip Riris co-authors this article for The Conversation about his experiences documenting monumental rock art along the Orinoco River…

Documenting the world’s largest prehistoric rock art in South America – new study

Enhanced image of monumental rock art on Cerro Pintado, Venezuela.
Philip Riris, Author provided

Philip Riris, Bournemouth University; José R. Oliver, UCL, and Natalia Lozada Mendieta, Universidad de los Andes

We weren’t the first to lay eyes on the engraving since it was carved into the hillside any number of centuries or millennia ago, not by a long shot. The Venezuelan archaeologist José Maria Cruxent even recorded it in his diaries in the 1940s – and there were certainly visitors before him.

The site of Cerro Pintado (Painted Hill), in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas, is a local landmark and a well-known fixture on the itinerary of those travelling on the Middle Orinoco River.

Yet viewing the gigantic snake, carved high up on the hillside, immediately ignited both our sense of wonder and our scientific curiosity. Why a snake? Why did its creators climb a towering granite hill to place it there, just so? What about all the other engravings orbiting it – what do they mean?

All these questions and more swirled around our little group as we stood, sticky and mosquito-bitten, in the savanna at the foot of the hill. Its singular status made it all the more intriguing.

While there are other examples of giant prehistoric rock art in other parts of the world, these appear to be the largest. While, as mentioned, some were already known to archaeologists, our team documented others, including over the border in Colombia.

The results reveal a high concentration of these monumental engravings in the region. The subjects of these symbolic works include snakes, humans and centipedes. The animals probably played an important role in the mythologies of the people who made them. The results have been published in the journal Antiquity.

New sites to survey

On our visit to Cerro Pintado in 2015, we supposed that the enormous 42-metre-long snake engraving (probably representing a boa or anaconda, native to the region) stood in splendid isolation. Prior scholars observed that many rock shelters in the surrounding savanna hosted prehistoric paintings, and we had already seen plenty of engravings near our dig sites.

Although often numerous or quite large, none of these sites shared the truly monumental scale of the Cerro Pintado engravings. Its apparent uniqueness led us to dutifully return with a drone to secure better images of the highly inaccessible panel. Already during the first stint in the field, however, we suspected that there was more to be uncovered about the rock art of the region.

Our guide, Juan Carlos García, a local educator and photographer, was well travelled around the area, and had plenty of insights to share. While surveying the islands that separate the calm middle course of the Orinoco River from its turbulent upper reaches, he pointed to the Colombian bank and forthrightly informed us: “Do you see that hill? Over there, behind it, is another snake, as big as Pintado.”

The possibility of another snake was beyond tantalising to us. Did it also have a set of accompanying motifs? Was it truly as big and as visible from far away? For lack of scientific permits in Colombia, or the time to search for a new site even if we had permits, these questions were left unanswered. After four campaigns in Venezuela, our fieldwork funding ended in 2017 and Cerro Pintado remained, as far as archaeology was concerned, a one-and-only location.

Luckily, the project’s principal investigator, José Oliver, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, secured the means to return to survey the Colombian side in 2018. The results of careful systematic surveys were shared between the team in a flurry of excited text messages and emails, confirming that there was not just one more snake, but several. They were also comparable in size to Pintado and clearly related, yet each with their own twist.

The project’s doctoral candidate, Natalia Lozada Mendieta, from the Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia, now an assistant professor, also returned in 2021 and 2022 to find more snakes. Finally, the entire original team reunited in the field in 2023. Collectively, and with help from local guides, we amassed a database of 13 vast rock art sites with upwards of 150 individual engravings between them.

Striking motifs

To us, the snakes were the most striking motifs, although giant centipedes, humans dancing or playing instruments, and mysterious geometric shapes of unknown intent did not fail to impress. Although not unique, as previously thought, Cerro Pintado is now accompanied by a constellation of related sites – a genuine monumental rock art tradition.

Very large prehistoric petroglyphs, the scientific term for rock engravings, are not unknown. Whales and elk are depicted in the Stone Age art of Norway, and virtually life-size giraffes and camels are known from Niger and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

Highly visible or salient rock art such as this is often presumed to communicate ideas or concepts of importance. While their exact meaning is lost, their impact can be felt through their physicality, meaning their size and placement.

In our cases, we are fortunate to note repeating themes across the indigenous cosmologies of northern South America that allude to gigantic snakes as the creators and protectors of rivers – including the great “river” in the sky, the Milky Way. Yet they are also menacing, predatory and lethal.

This information enriches our understanding of the archaeological record. The snakes were intended to be seen from some distance, reflecting a shared understanding of the world and its inhabitants. What marks the Middle Orinoco out as a unique hotspot, we argue, is the sheer concentration of these enormous works of pre-Columbian art.

They appear to be the largest in the world, and speak to a contested, yet openly communicative cultural landscape during the pre-Columbian period that we are only just beginning to understand.

More importantly, as regional tourism expands year on year, the sites are
increasingly in need of protection, an activity in which indigenous people should have a leading voice. Undoubtedly, there are dozens more sites in this unique monumental tradition to encounter, record and, hopefully, preserve.The Conversation

Philip Riris, Lecturer in Archaeological & Palaeoenvironmental Modelling, Bournemouth University; José R. Oliver, Reader in Latin American Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, and Natalia Lozada Mendieta, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Universidad de los Andes

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

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Dr Tony Cammarato (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) visits BU’s Drosophila scientists.

BU’s team of Drosophila scientists were delighted to host a visit from Dr Tony Cammarato, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Tony (a visiting fellow at BU) met and gave a fantastic talk to colleagues and undergraduates, detailing work spanning three decades that has defined how heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) regulate force during contraction.

(L to R) Dr Tony Cammarato, Ms Jess Whalley, Dr Paul Hartley, Dr Yutaka Matsubayashi

By identifying the specific amino acids that control how muscle troponin proteins interact with the cell’s contractile myosin and actin ‘scaffold’ his research group is explaining how cardiomyopathies develop in humans. The work, which consistently features in the field’s leading journals, is highly significant not only for its rigour and ingenuity but also because it is laying the foundation for medical interventions that correct the cardiomyopathies.

 It is well worth noting that this research relies heavily on genetically defined Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), a very powerful and tractable tool with which to model the molecular mechanisms underpinning human cardiomyocyte function.

 At BU we use Drosophila to model the effects of ageing, metabolism and environmental pollutants on heart and kidney function. It has become very clear that insect and human cardiovascular systems are affected in the same way by the same problems. So, by working with scientists such as Tony, we can develop experimental approaches that generate findings of relevance to many species, including humans.

Parkinson’s disease information day

Tuesday 18 June, 10am-3pm
Bournemouth Gateway Building, Lansdowne

This event is open to all BU staff, students and anyone with an interest in Parkinson’s disease, including researchers, those working in practice and members of the public, please help spread the word about this upcoming event.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided. For further information contact:

To book your place visit:

This event is supported by funding from British Society of Gerontoloqy’s (BSG) Small Events fund.
For more information about the BSG, visit

Ageing well together event – Thursday 13th June

The Ageing & Dementia Research Centre are delighted to be hosting “Ageing well together” an event bringing together members of the public, community organisations and researchers for an interactive day to share knowledge and showcase various projects and activities. The event will be in BGB on the Thursday 13th June 10.00- 15.00.

Please invite friends and family to join us. We ask that they register through our Eventbrite link

Any questions about the event please email 

Health of Nepalese migrants workers research

Today, Sunday 9th June, our paper ‘Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad was highlighted by ResearchGate as being widely read.  This scientific paper which was part of Dr. Pratik Adhikary’s PhD study in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has been read 1,000 times.