Category / BU research

Postgraduate Researchers and Supervisors | Monthly Update for Researcher Development

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

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

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

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

Natalie (Research Skills & Development Officer) 

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

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

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

BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth Associate Editor

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


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH  (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health)


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

Institutional Learning from Funder Feedback: Strong research collaborations

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

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

Why non-academic partnerships and collaborations?

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

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

Support for finding non-academic collaborations

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

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

Guidance on Leading an external research application.

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

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

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






Are you an established research degree supervisor?

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

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

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

Details of how to apply can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESEARCH CAPACITY TRANSFORMATION SCHEME – Call for expressions of interest

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

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


Key information

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

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

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

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

Application Process

The application process will be in two stages:

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

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

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

Unsuccessful applicants notified

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

Unsuccessful applicants notified

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


Submission Deadline:

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

Applications should be emailed to before the following deadlines:

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

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


Supporting Documentation

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

For additional queries, please email



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

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

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

To be eligible, articles must:

Embedding Impact in Funding Applications

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

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

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

The Funding Landscape

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

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

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

Funder Requirements

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

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

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

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

Impact in the Application

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For all funding applications:

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

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

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


If you have trouble identifying your potential impact, consider:

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

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


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

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

Stakeholder analysis (ODI)​

Research Impact toolkit (ESRC)​

Impact tracking and evaluation (Matter of Focus)​

Impact planning guide + template (Fast Track Impact)​

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

PiiAF (Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework)​

Towards co-production in research with communities (AHRC)

Equality Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) toolkit – NIHR webinar


Dear colleagues

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

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

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

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

More information and link to book here.

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

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

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

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

Institutional Learning from Funder Feedback: Research Methods

An insight from Associate Professor – Dr. Ian Jones.

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

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

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

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

Research Professional – all you need to know

Every BU academic has a Research Professional account which delivers weekly emails detailing funding opportunities in their broad subject area. To really make the most of your Research Professional account, you should tailor it further by establishing additional alerts based on your specific area of expertise. The Funding Development Team Officers can assist you with this, if required.

Research Professional have created several guides to help introduce users to Research Professional. These can be downloaded here.

Quick Start Guide: Explains to users their first steps with the website, from creating an account to searching for content and setting up email alerts, all in the space of a single page.

User Guide: More detailed information covering all the key aspects of using Research Professional.

Administrator Guide: A detailed description of the administrator functionality.

In addition to the above, there are a set of 2-3 minute videos online, designed to take a user through all the key features of Research Professional. To access the videos, please use the following link:

Research Professional are running a series of online training broadcasts aimed at introducing users to the basics of creating and configuring their accounts on Research Professional. They are holding two monthly sessions, covering everything you need to get started with Research Professional. The broadcast sessions will run for no more than 60 minutes, with the opportunity to ask questions via text chat. Each session will cover:

  • Self registration and logging in
  • Building searches
  • Setting personalised alerts
  • Saving and bookmarking items
  • Subscribing to news alerts
  • Configuring your personal profile

Each session will run between 10.00am and 11.00am (UK) on the second Tuesday of every other month. You can register here for your preferred date:

8th March 2022

10th May 2022

12th July 2022

13th September 2022

8th November 2022

These are free and comprehensive training sessions and so this is a good opportunity to get to grips with how Research Professional can work for you. Previous recordings can be found here if you can’t attend a session.

Have you noticed the pink box on the BU Research Blog homepage?

By clicking on this box, on the left of the Research Blog home page just under the text ‘Funding Opportunities‘, you access a Research Professional real-time search of the calls announced by the Major UK Funders. Use this feature to stay up to date with funding calls. Please note that you will have to be on campus or connecting to your desktop via our VPN to fully access this service.

Institutional Learning from Funder feedback

This week, we’ll be running a series of blog posts on Institutional learning from funder feedback. These will include experiences from academics on research methods and research design, advice on embedding impact throughout your application, institutional support available to develop PDRAs on your projects, advice on developing partners.

Friday’s blog looked at the support the Research Facilitators can provide when you want to repurpose your unfunded research application. But what do we do to ensure we also learn and tailor our support? Well, many things but …

Behind the scenes, we have curated a “funder feedback” database which contains the good, the bad and the ugly. We analyse all the feedback every six months. Identifying common themes (good and bad) and areas of improvements are identified, which feeds into the Research and Knowledge Exchange Framework, Research Facilitators one to one support and even weekly blog series!!

If you still haven’t passed on your funder feedback good, bad and the ugly for this academics year, please do send it over to me, as you know all too well feedback from funders are like hens teeth!

Tomorrow, we will be gaining a great insight from Dr Ian Jones on research methods and methodologies.


Speaking to a journalist

In late 2021 I was contacted by an Indonesian science journalist, Dyna Rochmyaningsih, who was investigating the ethics around international studies on human population genetics to build expand genomic libraries of people in the Global South.  She highlights that “these international studies, often led by Western scientists, have contributed to a more global understanding of ancient patterns of human migration and evolution. But on some occasions, they’ve also sidestepped local regulatory agencies in the developing world, and ventured into murky research ethics terrain as a result”.   The reason for contacting me was because we had published several papers here at Bournemouth University about the need for applying for ethical approval for research in developing countries [1-3].  I had a long Skype conversation with her about the various perspectives on the matter she was investigating.

Today she emailed me that her piece ‘Opinion: Genomics’ Ethical Gray Areas Are Harming the Developing World. A recent controversy in the Philippines illustrates the pitfalls and pressure points of international genomics research‘ has been published online.  In the email she made a really nice comment: “It was nice talking to you even though you might see that I disagree at some of your points. However, the discussion gave me insights that there is a wide disagreement on what considers ethical research.”  I think that is what science should be all about, disagreements, discussions, disputes, etc. and, at the same time, learning from these disputes and gaining greater insight.


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen




  1. van Teijlingen E.R., Simkhada P.P. (2012)    Ethical approval in developing countries is not optional. Journal of Medical Ethics 38(7):428-30. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2011-100123. Epub 2012 Feb 16.PMID: 22345548 
  2. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2015). Failure to Apply for Ethical Approval for Health Studies in Low-Income Countries. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology5(3), 511–515.
  3. Regmi, P. R., Aryal, N., Kurmi, O., Pant, P. R., van Teijlingen, E., & Wasti, S. P. (2017). Informed Consent in Health Research: Challenges and Barriers in Low-and Middle-Income Countries with Specific Reference to NepalDeveloping World Bioethics17(2), 84–89.

Building Research Capacity in Social Care: Practitioners Survey. Can you help?

Are you a Social Care Practitioner in Wessex?

A Bournemouth University research team would like to invite you to take part in an NIHR funded Wessex wide mapping exercise collecting data from practitioners working in the social care sector about their experiences to date of research and of using research evidence in their job.

If you are a practitioner working in the social care sector then we’d love to hear from you. Taking part would involve you completing an online questionnaire about your experiences concerning research and research evidence.

Data from this project will help us to develop a better understanding of the challenges of building capacity to undertake social care research in Wessex and the opportunities for building research engagement and capacity.

If you’re interested in being involved then please visit this URL to take part:

If you’d like to know more about the study before deciding whether to take part, please email the research team at Bournemouth University who will be able to assist you with any queries you might have.

Dr Andy Pulman
Post Doctoral Researcher
Email address: