Category / BU research

REF Week: BU REF Outputs Committee and bibliographic databases

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BU, like other UK universities, has a support network to help staff prepare for REF 2021. Much of this support centres around three REF categories: Outputs, Impact and Environment. For the past few years I have been chairing the BU REF Outputs Sub-Committee. The committee considers what academics could be doing to maximise their individual outputs and UoAs to maximise the submission of outputs across staff; it also oversees that all outputs are compliant with the requirements for REF submission.

In the latter capacity, the Outputs Sub-Committee oversees the BU Open Access fund to enable staff to publish in Open Access journals that require the payment of a publication fee. One of the key tasks of the committee is to promote REF amongst BU staff, to make sure it is high upon everyone’s agenda, or at least on those members of staff likely to be submitted.

The committee members share ideas and good practice across UoAs. As the different UoAs are of different sizes (in terms of number of staff and hence outputs required) and at different stages of readiness, there is a lot of potential for learning across UoAs. The membership of this committee comprises the Output Champions for all the UoAs to which BU is likely to submit in November 2020. The committee is expertly organised by Shelly Anne Stringer, who makes my life as Chair so much easier.

One issue currently playing is REF2021 changing from using SCOPUS (Elsevier) in REF 2014 as its designated database for ‘checking’ publication data of submissions to Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics). This is particularly important for UoAs in Main Panel A and some in Main Panel B; for BU that is definitely UoA3, UoA4 and UoA11. One would expect that one bibliographic data base is very much like the next one, but nothing is further from the truth.

Knowing that SCOPUS and Web of Science record different outputs, the Outputs Committee approached BU library to investigate. The Academic Liaison Librarian, Caspian Dugdale, took my name as a case study just before Christmas and searched for the various permutations of my name on academic publications. For example, on Scopus there are currently 10 variations on my name. The first finding was that there were 256 publications listed for me on SCOPUS but only 187 on Web of Science. When Caspian compared the two bibliographic datasets, he also discovered that 112 publications were unique to SCOPUS, the larger dataset, but even more interesting perhaps is the finding that 52 records of outputs were unique to Web of Science.

On closer examination, not all records were unique as some simply listed differently on the two databases when attempting to remove duplicate records these were not recognised in the system as duplicates. However, some were unique records, as I had been keeping an eye on my SCOPUS registration since REF 2014 there was nothing new there, but I did pick up two new publications, one from 2013 and one from 2014, that I did not previously know about. Unfortunately, both are half-page conference presentations published in an academic journal long after the conference and both conferences were already listed on my CV.

The main message is that Web of Science appears to be less complete than SCOPUS and that we need to keep a close eye on it to ensure all relevant BU publications are properly recorded.

By Professor Edwin van Teijlingen, Chair of the BU Outputs Sub-Committee

Want to know more?

For more details about how citations data will be used in REF2021, see p.50 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods and p.66 of the REF Guidance on Submissions.

Also, have a look our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: The importance of research impact

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From your career to the REF and back again

With the institutional mock-REF exercise underway, and submission to REF2021 looming in the not so distant future, it’s a busy period for BU’s Impact Champions, Officers and PDRAs. Ensuring each Unit of Assessment’s most promising impact case studies are identified and developed right up until Research England’s cut-off of 31st July 2020 is the most important duty of BU’s Impact Sub-Committee.

Clearly, impact development is critical across BU for our success in the REF and subsequent quality-related (QR) income. In REF2014, the return for a 4* case study was ~£46k – a fact that can be boasted by contributing authors in their applications for career progression. Yet many academics are reluctant to spend time on impact-related activities, primarily because they feel the time that they invest would be better spent elsewhere. I’d like to contest this viewpoint for three key reasons:

  • Research impact is important to BU and is here to stay: It is heavily featured in BU2025 and the revised definition of Fusion. The Impact Sub-Committee is working to bring about the culture change that is required for impact to be embraced across the institution, and to bring about appropriate recognition for academics with impactful research.
  • A track record of societal impact can increase your chances of grant success: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI, formerly RCUK) bids require impact plans, and those who have previously engaged with society are more likely to be rewarded.
  • Engaging with society, charities and industry provides an opportunity for academics to get out of the office and have a positive influence on the real-world. For some this will have the additional bonus of financial investment and return from those they engage with – many matched-funded PhD studentships result from these relationships.

So how do you get involved in research impact? One of the hardest jobs of the UoA impact teams is to identify potential case studies – if you are already involved in impactful research, let your Impact Champion or Officer know. If you have an idea for future impact, also let them know. Impact development does not need to drain your time, particularly if you seek out the support that is on offer, and work in collaborative teams. This last point is important – developing the best impact case studies will benefit the whole institution in terms of REF return, and the responsibility shouldn’t fall on a few individuals. On the contrary, because research impact has increasing relevance to an individual’s internal and external career progression, there has been no better time to contribute to BU’s REF impact preparations.

By Professor Sarah Bate, Chair of the BU Impact Sub-Committee

Want to know more?

For more information about how impact will be assessed in REF2021, see Part 3, Section 3 of the REF Guidance on Submissions and Part 3, Section 4 and Annex A of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: BU REF Preparation Update

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As you will have seen from the Welcome to BU REF Week on Monday, REF 2021 is fast approaching! To prepare for the final submission in Autumn 2020, various stocktake exercises have already taken place, and many BU staff are now in the throes of a mock REF assessment exercise which will examine all three elements of the REF: Outputs, Impact and Environment.

All REF-eligible staff are being asked to submit between 1–5 outputs for review by a panel consisting of a number of academic peers from within BU and 2–3 expert reviewers from external institutions. Outputs should be selected by the academics from their list of publications on BRIAN, the University’s online publications management system. Staff will need to make sure that reviewers can access a full-text version of their chosen outputs by ensuring:

  • The output is uploaded to BURO (BU’s open access repository);
  • The publication record on BRIAN includes a DOI or URL which links to the full output;
  • A copy of the output is uploaded into BRIAN.

The deadline for academics to select their outputs on BRIAN is 28th February 2019.

Each Unit of Assessment (UOA) will also submit a number of Impact Case Studies and an Environment Narrative to the reviewers for assessment. The reviewers are aiming to return their scores in early May 2019 and a UOA Moderation Meeting will then be scheduled for the reviewers within each UOA in May/June 2019 to discuss the scores.

If you have any queries about your REF submission, you can contact your relevant UOA Leader or you can email: REF@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Want to know more?

For more information about REF 2021, have a look at the REF Guidance on Submissions and REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: Draft BU REF 2021 Code of Practice

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The fundamental policy change for REF 2021 is that institutions must submit all staff with significant responsibility for research, rather than selecting individuals for submission. This change was introduced in response to concerns that selecting staff in previous exercises (such as REF 2014 and RAE 2008) had potentially deleterious effects on individuals, their career choices, progression and morale.

Developing a Code of Practice

All institutions submitting to the REF 2021 must develop and apply a code of practice which sets out the approach they are taking in preparing their submissions. Codes must detail how institutions will apply fair and transparent processes to identify staff with significant responsibility for research, determine who is an independent researcher, and how outputs will be selected. Processes must be consulted on and agreed with staff representative groups. Codes must be submitted to Research England by 7 June 2019. The REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel will examine these and advise institutions where revisions are required.

Inclusivity

Inclusivity is extremely important at BU and been a major influence on how the draft BU REF 2021 Code of Practice has developed over the past year. The University Leadership Team (ULT) has discussed various options for identifying staff with significant responsibility for research. These discussions were informed by modelling data and equality analyses. A number of options for identifying staff with significant responsibility for research have been identified. These are based on indicators of active engagement in independent research and will form the basis of the consultation in March with BU staff and staff representative groups. In particular, feedback will be sought on the indicators identified, whether these are applicable across disciplines, and whether these can be applied in a fair, transparent and consistent way to identify all staff with significant responsibility for research.

Your feedback counts!

We plan to share the draft BU REF 2021 Code of Practice with all staff in early March 2019, welcoming feedback and suggestions for improvement. Further information will be available soon!

Want to know more?

See pages 10 and 39 of the REF Guidance on Submissions document for information about how equality and diversity considerations will be taken into account within REF 2021. There is a dedicated Equality and Diversity section on the REF 2021 website too.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

BU Systematic Review Masterclass starting tomorrow

Looking forward to our annual Systematic Review Masterclass at Bournemouth University which will be starting tomorrow February 14th.  This year for the first time we have renamed it a ‘Systematic Review to Inform Clinical Practice’ as it is not only a free-standing masterclass but also a level 7 unit of Continuing Professional Development and Training .  This year we aim to provide students with the opportunity to choose an area of interest and undertake an in-depth, independent study in the form of a systematic review, focusing on a negotiated aspect of clinical practice.  Prof. Vanora Hundley and I had published over twenty systematic reviews (or papers about systematic reviewing) over the past two decades. [1-21]  The unit will have input from BU’s Academic Liaison Librarian, Caspian Dugdale, and BU academics such as Dr. Bibha Simkhada, Lecturer in Nursing.

Professors Vanora Hundley and Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen E, Wilson, B, Barry, N, Ralph, A, McNeill, G, Graham, W, Campbell, D. (eds.) (1998) Effectiveness of interventions to promote healthy eating in pregnant women & women of childbearing age: a review, London: Health Education Authority www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/documents/effect_eatpregant.pdf  [ISBN: 0752110977].
  2. van Teijlingen ER, Bruce, J. (1999) Systematic reviews of health promotion initiatives: the Smokebusters experience, Health Education, 99: 76-83.
  3. Ryan M, Scott DA, Reeves C, Bate A., van Teijlingen E, Russell E, Napper M, Robb C (2001) Eliciting public preferences for healthcare: systematic review of techniques. Health Technology Assessment 5(5)
  4. Simkhada, B., van Teijlingen E., Porter, M., Simkhada, P. (2008) Factors affecting the utilisation of antenatal care in developing countries: a systematic review of the literature, Journal of Advanced Nursing 61(3): 244-260.
  5. Paul-Ebhohimhen, V.A., Poobalan, A., van Teijlingen E. (2008) Systematic review of effectiveness of school-based sexual health interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, BMC Public Health, 8(4). www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/8/4
  6. Robertson L, Douglas F, Ludbrook A., Reid G., van Teijlingen E. (2008) What works with men? A systematic review of health promoting interventions targeting men, BMC Health Services Research 8(141). www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/8/141
  7. Acharya, D.R., Bhattarai, R, Poobalan, A, van Teijlingen E.R., Chapman, G. (2010) Factors associated with teenage pregnancy in South Asia: a systematic review. Health Sciences Journal 4(1): 3-14. www.hsj.gr/volume4/issue1/402.pdf
  8. Hundley V, Avan B, Braunholtz D, and Graham WJ (2012). Are birth kits a good idea? A systematic review of the evidence. Midwifery 28(2): 204-215
  9. Wasti, SP, van Teijlingen E., Simkhada, P., Randall, J., Baxter S, Kirkpatrick P, Vijay Singh Gc. (2012) Factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral treatment in Asian developing countries: a systematic review, Tropical Medicine & International Health 17(1): 71-81. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02888.x/pdf
  10. VA Hundley, BI Avan, CJ Sullivan, WJ Graham. (2013) Should oral misoprostol be used to prevent postpartum haemorrhage in home-birth settings in low-resource countries? A systematic review of the evidence. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology120:277287DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12049
  11. van Teijlingen, ER, Simkhada, B., Ireland J., Simkhada P., Bruce J. (2012) Evidence-based health care in Nepal: The importance of systematic reviews, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 1(4): 114-118.
  12. Robertson, C, Archibald, D, Avenell, A, Douglas, F., Hoddinott, P., van Teijlingen E, et al. (2014) Systematic reviews of & integrated report on quantitative, qualitative & economic evidence base for the management of obesity in men. Health Technology Assessment 18(35): 1-424. http://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/118180/FullReport-hta18350.pdf
  13. Stewart, F, Fraser, C, Robertson, C, Avenell, A, Archibald, D, Douglas, F, Hoddinott, P, van Teijlingen, E, Boyers, D. (2014) Are men difficult to find? Identifying male-specific studies in MEDLINE & Embase, Systematics Reviews 3,78
  14. Gyawali, B., Neupane, D., Sharma, R., Mishra, S.R., van Teijlingen, E., Kallestrup, P. (2015) Prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Nepal: Systematic review & meta-analysis from 2000 to 2014 Global Health Action 8: 29088 www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/view/29088/pdf_189
  15. Boyers, D, Stewart, F, Fraser, C, Robertson, C, Avenell, A, Archibald, D, Douglas, F, Hoddinott P, van Teijlingen E. (2015). A systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of non-surgical obesity interventions in men, Obesity Research & Clinical Practice 9(4), 310-327.
  16. Robertson, C, Avenell, A, Boachie, C., Stewart, F., Archibald D., Hoddinott, P, Douglas, F, van Teijlingen E, Boyers D. (2016) Should weight loss and maintenance programmes be designed differently for men? Systematic review of long-term RCTs presenting data for men & women: The ROMEO Project, Obesity Research & Clinical Practice 10: 70-84.
  17. Simkhada, P.P., Sharma, A., van Teijlingen, ER., Beanland, R,L. (2016) Factors influencing sexual behaviour between tourists and tourism employees: A systematic review. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 6(1): 530-538. www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/14735/11952
  18. Symon, A., Pringle, J., Cheyne, H., Downe, S., Hundley, V., Lee, E., Lynn, F., McFadden, A., McNeill, J., Renfrew, M., Ross-Davie, M., van Teijlingen, E., Whitford, H, Alderdice, F. (2016) Midwifery-led antenatal care models: Mapping a systematic review to an evidence-based quality framework to identify key components & characteristics of care, BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 168 http://rdcu.be/uifu  
  19. Hanley GE, Munro S, Greyson D, Gross MM, Hundley V, Spiby H and Janssen PA (2016) Diagnosing onset of labor: A systematic review of definitions in the research literature. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 16: 71 http://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-0857-4
  20. Robertson, C., Avenell, A., Stewart, F., Archibald, D., Douglas, F., Hoddinott, P., van Teijlingen, E., Boyers, D. (2017) Clinical effectiveness of weight loss & weight maintenance interventions for men: a systematic review of men-only randomised controlled trials (ROMEO Project), American Journal of Men’s Health 11(4): 1096-1123.
  21. Symon, A., Pringle, J., Downe, S., Hundley, V., Lee, E., Lynn, F., McFadden, A., McNeill, J., Renfrew, M., Ross-Davie, M., van Teijlingen, E., Whitford, H., Alderdice, F. (2017) Antenatal care trial interventions: a systematic scoping review and taxonomy development of care models BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 17:8 http://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-1186-3
  22. Pitchforth, E, Nolte, E, Corbett, J, Miani, C, Winpenny, E, van Teijlingen E, et al. (2017) Community hospitals and their services in the NHS: identifying transferable learning from international developments – scoping review, systematic review, country reports and case studies Health Services & Delivery Research 5(19): 1-248.
  23. Ochillo, M., van Teijlingen, E., Hind, M. (2017) Influence of faith-based organisations on HIV prevention strategies in Africa: a systematic review. African Health Sciences 17(3): 753-761.
  24. Mahato, P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Angell, C. (2017) Determinants of quality of care & access to Basic Emergency Obstetric & Neonatal Care facilities & midwife-led facilities in low & middle-income countries: A Systematic Review, Journal of Asian Midwives 4(2):25-51. https://ecommons.aku.edu/jam/vol4/iss2/4/
  25. Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Sharma, A., Bissell, P., Poobalan, A., Wasti, S.P. (2018) Health consequences of sex trafficking: A systematic review, Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, 4(1): 130-149.

 

#TalkBU with Darren Lilleker

We will be joined by Darren Lilleker at Februarys #TalkBU session, who will be discussing fake news and social media manipulation!

‘Whether Trump, Brexiteers, Remainers, Russian bots or Dubious Corporations, those who make up stories to sell us a product or an idea are many and various.

In this talk, Darren Lilleker will be discussing how what is known as ‘fake news’ can cause topics to trend, careers to be made and damaged and elections to be won and lost. Come along and be prepared to think and maybe talk about your own web surfing behaviour and the ways you have been or might be manipulated.’

The first session of 2019 is being held in FG04, 2-3pm on the 21st February, with lunch provided! You can register for free tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talkbu-with-darren-lilleker-tickets-55344327373 

 

Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework – give us your feedback

The Research & Knowledge Exchange Framework (RKEDF) is now into its third year.  It offers training and development opportunities to academics at all stages of their career, supporting staff to increase their skills, knowledge and capabilities.

The RKEDF offers range of support including sessions for those who are new to research or to BU, for staff who want to further develop their research careers and for people who want to disseminate their research findings or create an impact plan.

The Research Development & Support team are currently planning activities and sessions for the 2019/20 programme of events and would like to hear your ideas and suggestions.  What’s worked well?  What would you change?  Are there any other sessions or training materials you’d like to see included?  We’d like to hear both from people who have engaged with the RKEDF and those who haven’t.

Tell us what you think via our survey and be in with a chance of winning one of three £20 Amazon vouchers.  The deadline date is Friday 15 March.

Audio-Visual-Olfactory Resource Allocation for Tri-modal Virtual Environments

We would like to invite you to the next research seminar for the Centre for Games and Music Technology Research.

Title: Audio-Visual-Olfactory Resource Allocation for Tri-modal Virtual Environments

Speaker: Dr Carlo Harvey

Birmingham City University

 

Time: 2:00PM-3:00PM

 

Date: Wednesday 27 February 2019

 

Room: TAG02 (Tolpuddle Annex)

 

Abstract:

 

Virtual Environments (VEs) provide the opportunity to simulate a wide range of applications, from training to entertainment, in a safe and controlled manner. For applications which require realistic representations of real world environments, the VEs need to provide multiple, physically accurate sensory stimuli. However, simulating all the senses that comprise the human sensory system (HSS) is a task that requires significant computational resources. Since it is intractable to deliver all senses at the highest quality, we propose a resource distribution scheme in order to achieve an optimal perceptual experience within the given computational budgets. This talk investigates resource balancing for multi-modal scenarios composed of aural, visual and olfactory stimuli. Three experimental studies were conducted. The first experiment identified perceptual boundaries for olfactory computation. In the second experiment, participants (N = 25) were asked, across a fixed number of budgets (M = 5), to identify what they perceived to be the best visual, acoustic and olfactory stimulus quality for a given computational budget. Results demonstrate that participants tend to prioritise visual quality compared to other sensory stimuli. However, as the budget size is increased, users prefer a balanced distribution of resources with an increased preference for having smell impulses in the VE. Based on the collected data, a quality prediction model is

proposed and its accuracy is validated against previously unused budgets and an untested scenario in a third and final experiment.

 

We hope to see you there!

 

REF Week: Environment statement

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The REF environment statement is a crucial descriptive document which, at its best, demonstrates the current ‘vitality and sustainability’ of the Unit of Assessment (UOA). It is worth 15% of the marks and measures whether the environment is conducive to producing research of world-wide, international or national quality and the extent to which impact is enabled.

The template for the statement has four sections:

  • unit context and structure, research and impact strategy;
  • people;
  • income infrastructure;
  • facilities’ collaboration and contribution to the research base, economy and society.

The length of the statement is between 8,000 and 12,000 words for UOAs of up to 70 staff.

For REF 2021, there are two environment statements; the first is an institutional one (REF 5a) and the second is submitted one per UOA (REF 5b). Although a pilot exercise to assess the institutional level statements is being run in REF2021, these marks will not contribute to the outcome – the institutional statement provides context to the UOA statements and will only be looked at in conjunction with those for each UOA.

The UOA statements are accompanied by three items of data as standard:

  • research income;
  • research doctoral degrees awarded;
  • research income in kind (use of RCUK facilities).

UOAs are encouraged to draw on other data to illustrate the content of their statements – for example, on equality, integrity, open data etc. Advice and suggestions on this are available from the Forum for Responsible Research Metrics.

REF environment guidance is contained in the Guidance on Submissions and Panel Criteria and Working Methods but the extracted environment specific guidance is available here.

Want to know more?

More information on the REF can be found on the REF 2021 website.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts!

REF Week: How can we help you develop your research impact?

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What is impact?

The impact element of the REF considers the reach and significance of the impact of research outside of academia. It accounts for 25% of the assessment weighting.  For the purposes of the REF, impact is defined as “an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.”

It could include a change or benefit to:

  • the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding
  • of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals
  • in any geographic location whether locally, regionally or nationally or internationally.

For this element of the REF assessment, impact case study teams are expected to submit a five page template which includes details of the underpinning research, resulting impact and evidence to support the impact claimed. The impact case study template can be found in Annex G of the Guidance on Submission document.

Who can help?

Each Unit of Assessment (UoA) is led by a UOA Leader, supported by academic Impact and Outputs Champions. You can find out who your UoA Leadership team is on this section of the blog.

In addition to this, there are four Impact Officers based in Research Development & Support – one per Faculty – who can help build an understanding of impact and develop impact case studies for REF2021.  They can help you put into place an action plan to accelerate the impact of your research, provide support to undertake those activities and assist with evidence gathering.  They can also help provide links to other forms of support within BU, such as working with the PR team or Policy team.

Some UoAs have a dedicated Impact Post-Doctoral Research Assistant who are there to build research capacity, plan and carry out impact activities and write up research work for publication, among other duties.

How can you go about developing the impact of your research?

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. Impact should be considered at all stages of the research lifecycle.

When planning your research proposal, consider how your research will make a difference and how it is meeting the needs of society. You could use this as an opportunity to engage with relevant stakeholders when designing your research project, which will make the results more relevant to your end users.  Talk to the Public Engagement Team in RDS for support in developing your engagement ideas.

The change you have in mind will shape the impact activities that you undertake. Do you think your research might change policy?  Could it make a difference to the way a business functions?  Or could it shift public opinion on a key topic?  Knowing your objective makes it easier to identify your target audience and therefore the mechanisms you use to influence them.  Your Faculty Impact Officer will be able to help you plan your activities and the milestones you need to reach to achieve them.

Once research is underway and findings are emerging, you’ll need to think about the key messages that you want to convey to your target audience. It’s important to keep them clear and to use accessible language, so that a non-expert can understand them.  Don’t overload your audience with information – people are more likely to remember the overall message than the fine details.  Talk to the Research Communication Manager in RDS for help with shaping your messages.

You’ll also need to make sure that you’re evidencing the change made by your research. How you evaluate your activities will depend on your original objectives and what you wanted to achieve, as well as the impact activities you’ve undertaken.  Your Faculty Impact Officer and Impact PDRA can help with evidence gathering.

Take a look at our Research Impact Toolkit for further information and ideas.

Want to know more?

For more information about Impact, see Part 3, Section 3 of the REF Guidance on Submissions and Part 3, Section 4 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week – REF 2021: An overview

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This week is REF Week on BU’s Research Blog and what better way to start than with an overview of the REF 2021 exercise.

What is the REF?

The REF was first carried out in 2014, replacing the previous Research Assessment Exercise. The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE).

What is the REF’s purpose?

The funding bodies’ shared policy aim for research assessment is to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education. We expect that this will be achieved through the threefold purpose of the REF:

  • To provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment.
  • To provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks, for use within the HE sector and for public information.
  • To inform the selective allocation of funding for research.

How is the REF carried out?

The REF is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users.

For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

Outputs

The output element makes up 60% of the assessment (a decrease from 65% in 2014) and consists of outputs produced by the University during the assessment period (1st January 2014 to 31st December 2020).

Unlike previous REF exercises REF2021 will not be a selective exercise – all staff employed by BU on the census date (31st July 2020) and deemed to have a significant responsibility for research will be submitted to the REF exercise with a minimum of 1 research output.

Each UOA will submit an output pool for the unit as a whole, the size of which will be the total FTE of staff submitted multiplied by 2.5. The output pool can also include outputs from former members of staff.

Outputs will be assessed in terms of their originality, significance and rigour and will be a assigned star ranking on this basis:

Impact

The impact element makes up 25% of the assessment (a increase from 20% in 2014) and consists of case studies which describe specific impacts that have occurred during the assessment period (1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020) that were underpinned by excellent research undertaken by the university.

For the purposes of the REF, impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.

Each UOA will submit a number of impact case studies determined by the total FTE of staff submitted.

They will be assessed in terms of their reach and significance and will be a assigned star ranking on this basis:

Environment

The environment element makes up 15% of the assessment and consists of:

  • Quantitative data on –
    • Research doctoral degrees awarded
    • Research income
    • Research income-in-kind
  • An institutional-level environment statement which includes information about the institution’s strategy and resources to support
    research and enable impact, relating to the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020.
  • An unit-level environment template which includes information about the environment for research and enabling impact for
    each submitting unit, relating to the period 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020.

Each UOA will submit one environment template which will be assessed in terms of its vitality and sustainability and will be a assigned star ranking on this basis:

Want to know more?

For more information about REF 2021, have a look at the REF Guidance on Submissions and REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: Key Changes

Off with the old and on with the new…

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Following REF 2014, Lord Stern conducted a major review of the exercise. This review has led to a number of changes to the exercise to be carried out in 2021. Here is a summary of some of the key changes:

  • Staff Submission – REF2021 will not be a selective exercise as REF2014 was. We will be required to include all staff who have a significant responsibility for research.

Further information on staff submission can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions there is a particularly useful flow diagram on page 36.

  • Decoupling Outputs from Staff – We will submit a pool of outputs produced at Bournemouth during the REF period, rather than the four papers per person in 2014. This will need to include one paper from every person in post on the census date (31/07/2020) but can also include outputs from staff who have left the University.

Further information on output submission can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions. There is a particularly useful flow diagram on page 52.

  • Open Access – Journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1st April 2016 must meet open access requirements.

Further information on the Open Access Policy can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions page 54.

  • Impact – There is a broader definition of impact to emphasise public engagement and to include impact on teaching.

Further information on the definition of impact  can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions page 68.

  • Interdisciplinary Research – A number of additional measures have been introduced to support submission and assessment of interdisciplinary research.

Further information on measures to support interdisciplinary and collaborative research can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions page 24.

  • Units of Assessment (UOAs) – The number of UOAs has been reduced from 36 to 34.

A full list of the UOAs can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions Annex D page 91. The UOA descriptors can be found in the Panel criteria and working methods page 9.

  • Weightings – Like REF2014, each submission will be composed of three elements however, the weightings have been revised to Outputs 60%, Impact 25%  and Environment 15%.

Further information on the assessment criteria can be found in the REF Guidance on Submissions page 7.

Want to know more?

For more information about REF 2021, have a look at the REF Guidance on Submissions and REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: REF Frequently Asked Questions – Staff

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If you want to know more about REF2021, the Research Excellence Framework website includes a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs), which might be useful if you have any queries about your own submission.

In the meantime, here is a selection of some relating to Staff.

Staff 

Will institutions be able to decide into which Unit of Assessment (UOA) staff are submitted?

Yes. Responsibility for mapping staff into UOAs will remain with institutions.

What happens if staff are eligible for submission but have no outputs?

All Category A submitted staff (Category A eligible staff with significant responsibility for research) must be returned with a minimum of one output attributed to them in the submission. Where an individual’s circumstances have had an exceptional effect on their ability to work productively throughout the assessment period, so that the individual has not been able to produce an eligible output, a request may be made for the minimum of one requirement to be removed. Where a unit has not submitted a reduction request and is returned with fewer than 2.5 outputs per FTE, and/or has not attributed a minimum of one output to each Category A submitted staff member, any ‘missing’ outputs will be graded as ‘unclassified’.

Will the FTE of staff whose outputs are submitted after they leave the institution be included in the volume measure and count towards the total FTE used to calculate the number of required outputs for the unit?

No. The number of outputs for each submission will be calculated by multiplying the total FTE of ‘Category A submitted’ staff by 2.5.

Can staff employed after the census date be submitted?

Staff employed after the census date will not be eligible for submission.

Staff employed after the census date will not be eligible for submission.

No. The outputs of former staff optionally may be included in submissions, where the staff member was previously employed as Category A eligible when the output was demonstrably generated.

Can research outputs sole-authored by Category C members of staff be submitted for assessment?

No. To be eligible for return, outputs must be authored by ‘Category A submitted’ staff or staff previously employed as ‘Category A eligible’ when the output was first made publicly available. Outputs co-authored by Category C staff may be submitted within the min. 1 and max. 5 limits of the Category A staff co-author.

How do the funding bodies define ‘significant responsibility for research’?

Staff with significant responsibility for research are those for whom explicit time and resources are made available to engage actively in independent research, and that is an expectation of their job role. The REF Guidance on Submissions (Part 3, Section 1) provides a menu of suggested indicators of significant responsibility for research that institutions might use when developing their processes. This guidance does not prescribe a fixed set of criteria that all staff would be required to meet.

Will staff on ‘teaching and research’ contracts be required to demonstrate research independence?

No. Evidence of research independence will only be required for staff on ‘research only’ contracts.

Will institutions be required to submit staff on ‘teaching and research’ contracts who are required to undertake research as part of their role (e.g. through a doctoral research degree) but do not undertake research independently?

Where the institutional process for determining ‘significant responsibility for research’ includes an evaluation of research independence, this may be included in the Code of Practice. Further guidelines on the appropriate indicators of ‘significant responsibility for research’ will be provided in the guidance on submissions and panel criteria.

Want to know more?

For more information about Staff, see Part 3, Section 1 of the REF Guidance on Submissions and Part 3, Section 2 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: REF Frequently Asked Questions – Environment

Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

If you want to know more about REF2021, the Research Excellence Framework website includes a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs), which might be useful if you have any queries about your own submission.

In the meantime, here is a selection of some relating to Environment.

Environment

Are the qualifying dates for doctoral completions the same as the dates for income?

Yes. Data about research income and research doctoral degrees awarded must fall within the assessment period: 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020.

What kinds of data can institutions provide in the environment statement? Can they include TEF and/or KEF data?

Institutions can provide any data that they consider appropriate as evidence for claims made in the statement. A working group of the Forum for Responsible Research Metrics was established to consider the types of data that institutions might select to include, and the group provided guidance to the panels.

Some institutions might choose to merge smaller units or redistribute staff – will there be space in the environment statement to explain these decisions?

As in REF2014, the environment template includes a section for submitting units to outline the ‘unit context and structure, research and impact strategy’, including how research is structured across the unit. The panels have set out their expectations for the environment statement in Part 3, Section 5 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

How will the panels use the new institutional-level statement in their assessment of the environment?

The sub-panels will use the information provided in the institutional-level statement to inform and contextualise their assessment of the relevant sections of the unit-level template. The institutional-level statement will not be separately assessed or separately scored by the sub-panels.

Are institutions able to include quantitative indicators in their environment statements that were ruled out by the Forum for Responsible Research Metrics?

Yes. The examples provided by the Forum are not intended to be prescriptive, or exhaustive. When including indicators, institutions should follow the eight principles set out in Annex A of the Forum’s guidance.

Want to know more?

For more information about Environment, see Part 3, Section 4 of the REF Guidance on Submissions and Part 3, Section 5 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: REF Frequently Asked Questions – Impact

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

If you want to know more about REF2021, the Research Excellence Framework website includes a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs), which might be useful if you have any queries about your own submission.

In the meantime, here is a selection of some relating to Impact.

Impact

Do all the outputs referenced in an impact case study need to be of at least two-star quality?

A case study should include references to up to six research outputs that represent the body of research or a research project that was carried out at the submitting institution. These should be key outputs that underpinned the impact, and that best demonstrate the quality of the body of work or project. The sub-panels will not expect each individual output to meet the quality threshold, but will wish to be satisfied that the listed work was predominantly of at least two-star quality.

Can the same impact case study be submitted by more than one submitting unit?

Where more than one submitting unit made a distinct and material research contribution to an impact, each of those submitting units may submit a case study of the impact. Each submitting unit will need to show that its research made a distinct and material contribution to the impact. This applies whether an institution wishes to submit the same impact in different submissions, or different institutions.

Can an institution submit an impact case study in a Unit of Assessment (UOA), even if the individual who conducted the research is returned in a different UOA?

Yes, we recognise that individual researchers may undertake research across multiple disciplines over time and that UOA boundaries are not rigid. Provided the underpinning research is within the scope of the UOA in which it is submitted, a case study may be submitted in a different UOA from the individual.

Is it a requirement for impact case studies to be based on underpinning research carried out by a Category A eligible staff member?

No. The underpinning research must be carried out by staff working in the submitting HEI and must be within the scope of the relevant UOA descriptor. It may include research undertaken by staff employed on non-Category A eligible contracts.

Can the same underpinning research can be used in more than one impact case study? And can these case studies be submitted within the same UOA?

Units are not prohibited from submitting more than one case study based on the same body of research. However, they should take into account the extent to which this might reduce the reach and significance of the impact described.

An impact case study is being built around my work but I am hoping to move institutions. Can I bring my impact to date with me?

The institution submitting a case study must have produced research which has made a distinct and material contribution to the impact described in the case study. Where a researcher has moved to a different institution during the period in which a body of research underpinning a case study was produced, the submitting institution should make clear that the research undertaken during the period the researcher spent at that institution made a material and distinct contribution to the impact claimed.

Can publications that link to impact case studies still be submitted as outputs?

Yes. Underpinning research referenced in a case study may also be included in a submission as an output (listed in REF2), without disadvantage. In these situations, the assessment of the impact case study will have no bearing on the assessment of the quality of the output.

Does the impact claimed need to be tied to an individual specific output within the body of work?

No. The panels recognise that the link between research and impact can be indirect and non-linear.

Want to know more?

For more information about Impact, see Part 3, Section 3 of the REF Guidance on Submissions and Part 3, Section 4 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

REF Week: REF Frequently Asked Questions – Outputs

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

If you want to know more about REF2021, the Research Excellence Framework website includes a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs), which might be useful if you have any queries about your own submission.

In the meantime, here is a selection of some relating to Outputs.

Outputs

Can outputs published while at a non-UK institution, or as an independent scholar, be submitted to REF 2021?

Yes, where they are within the publication period and meet any other applicable eligibility criteria, these outputs may be included in submissions by the institution employing the staff member on the census date.

Will part-time staff have to meet the requirement for a minimum of one output?

Yes. The minimum and maximum limits on the number of outputs will apply to the person, not their FTE.

What will happen if a unit does not submit the required number of outputs or case studies?

Each missing output or case study will receive an ‘unclassified’ score.

Does the REF assessment process distinguish between research outputs on the basis of mode of publication, place of publication or publisher?

No. The REF is governed by a principle of equity and is committed to the fair and equal assessment of all types of research and forms of research output.

Will approaches to double-weighting monographs be determined at main panel level?

Yes. As was the case in REF 2014, each main panel will provide guidance on how outputs of extended scale and scope are characterised in their disciplines, and on the process for requesting an output to be double-weighted.

Does each output for which double-weighting is requested need to have its own individual reserve output? Or can one submit a list of ‘reserve outputs’ (in order of preference) to cover several double-weighting requests?

A ranked list would add greater complexity to the submission process for institutions, in ensuring that the minimum and maximum boundaries are adhered to in the final set of assessed outputs. Institutions should therefore include a ‘reserve’ output for each output requested for double-weighting.

Will double-weighting outputs be optional?

Yes. The decision whether to request double-weighting lies with the submitting unit.

Will a double-weighted item from a single individual count as two items of their five or one?

Where the double-weighting request is accepted, the output will count as two items against the individual to whom it is attributed. (If it is a co-authored output, institutions may attribute the output to a maximum of two members of staff returned within the same submission, in which case it will count as one output for each of them). If the panel does not accept the request, and the output remains single-weighted, it will count as one item.

In the event the request is accepted, or in the event that it is not and the reserve output is assessed instead, the requirement for a minimum of one output should still be met for each Category A submitted staff member (unless individual circumstances apply), and no more than five outputs should be attributed to any one member of current or former staff.

Where an institution employs a member of staff on the census date, which of their outputs can be submitted?

For Category A submitted staff, outputs that are within the publication period and meet any other applicable eligibility criteria (for example, open access requirements) are eligible.

Can the outputs from one staff member be submitted to different units within the same institution?

No. An individual and their outputs can only be submitted to one unit of assessment. Where an individual holds a joint appointment across two or more submitting units within the same institution, the institution must decide on one submission in which to return the individual.

Want to know more?

For more information about Outputs, see Part 3, Section 2 of the REF Guidance on Submissions and Part 3, Section 3 of the REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts.

Innovate UK funding : Demonstrators addressing cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things

Innovate UK, through the UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund is investing up to £6million in collaborative, business led research and development (R&D) projects.

The aim of this competition is to solve industry-focused major cyber security-related challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT). You should include a plan to test nearer-to-market interventions and experiments in real environments.

Summary:

Competition opens : 18 February 2019 (Monday)

Competition closes : 1 May 2019 (Wednesday; noon)

Funding available : Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £2.5 million and £4 million and you can request up to £2 million grant.

For more information, please refer to this link.