Category / Business Engagement

Creating Impact on Business Practice and Strategy

The future of YouTube was a co-created research project between Emma Parrett, Strategic Partnerships Director at OMD UK and Dr John Oliver (FMC). OMD are a strategic communications and planning agency that employs over 8,500 people in more than 120 offices globally and are the most awarded agency network in the world.

One of OMDs clients are YouTube and the challenge they faced was how to develop long-term market insight and strategic solutions in a rapidly changing media environment.The project combined imaginative and systematic thinking in a way that provided a unique insight into future media environments and how YouTube could compete using multiple strategic options.

The impact of the project and the scenario planning methodology has influenced OMD’s business practices in a number of ways. They believe that their media planning team were better able to make sense of often conflicting macro-environmental trends and are now able to find more advanced strategic insight. Additional positive outcomes were evidenced by increased usage of scenario planning, as well as staff and client understanding of a methodology which they ultimately regarded as a way of obtaining strategic solutions in a rapidly changing business environment.

Dr Oliver commented that the benefits of academics working with industry professionals to create knowledge and instrumental impact on business practices has been evidenced in this project. ​

Furthermore, the YouTube project has been written up and published in both industry and academic journals and the level of publisher downloads has run into the thousands.

The article can be accessed at: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Wbaj1lnoC6sq

The Impact of Digital Strategy and Business Transformation

In April 2017 Dr John Oliver co-hosted a business engagement event on Digital Strategy and Business Transformation with The Hackett Group (London). The Hackett Group are leading management consultants providing expert advice on digital transformation and benchmarking to major corporations and government agencies, including 97% of the Dow Jones Industrials, 89% of the Fortune 100 and 59% of the FTSE 100.

The event formed part of a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust funded research project and was attended by senior business executives from the likes of Ofcom, the Financial Times, Astrazeneca and Bell Pottinger. At the time, the delegates commented that it was an “excellent event” that provided different perspectives on digital transformation and new ideas on how to manage strategic digital transformation within their firms.

After 18 months, a clearer picture has emerged of the impact that the presentation of findings and subsequent discussion has had on business practice. Chris Davenport, a Senior Director at The Hackett Group, recently commented that “the event influenced our strategic approach to the development of a new Digital Strategy and Analytics service for our clients. This new consultancy service has been now been launched and several of our FTSE100 clients (among others Tesco, John Lewis and Unilever) have gained insight from this. Some of these clients have already decided to invest millions of pounds into resources creating many new jobs in Digital services and Analytics departments in their firms and we expect many more to follow”.

The research findings have been published in several practice management journals, whilst the academic papers are in the final stages of peer review.

Funding opportunity – Global Innovation Linkages program – Round 2 (Australia)

The Global Innovation Linkages program from the Australian Government provides Australian businesses and researchers with matched funding of up to $1 million per project to collaborate with global partners on strategically focused, leading-edge research and development.

Lead organisation eligibility

To be an eligible lead organisation you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for GST

    Project partners

    Project partners must include at least:

    • one Australian industry entity and
    • one Australian research organisation and
    • one global partner.

Summary : 

Application deadline : 14 November 2018

Available funding : up to $1million per project

Grant period : Maximum four years

Please see this link for more information about this call.

Funding opportunities from Innovate UK

1. SBRI: intelligent data to transform local council service delivery

This Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition is funded by the GovTech Catalyst and is sponsored by Durham County Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

This competition looks at 2 specific data-gathering techniques in local council services:

1.‘Boots on the ground’: enabling residents to collect and report accurate data about public assets, such as potholes and street lighting, to the local council.

2.‘Eyes on the street’: using local council vehicles to collect and report data as they travel around the borough.

Summary :

Call opens : 24 September 2018

Call closes : 31 October 2018

Available funding : up to £50,000 (including VAT)

Project start date : by 7 Feb 2019

Please see this link for more information about this call.

2. Call for Carbon Capture and Utilisation Demonstration

As part of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy BEIS has allocated up to £20 million to design and construct carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) demonstration projects. This programme is designed to encourage industrial sites to capture carbon dioxide which could then be used in industrial applications, while enabling learning and development of capture technologies at an intermediate scale, so reducing costs and risks.

The overall aims of the CCU demonstration programme are:

  • to demonstrate carbon capture and utilisation at a number of key industrial sites in the UK
  • to demonstrate and accelerate cost reductions in carbon capture technology in the order of 20 to 45%, i.e. £10-20/MWh
  • to encourage a project pipeline of follow-on CCU projects that will help less mature, but more novel technology to be demonstrated at scale; and
  • to improve understanding of the cost and performance of carbon capture technology
  • to de-risk the capture technology.

The programme is in 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 focuses on initial scoping study for an engineering supplier to work on BEIS’ behalf with potential host sites, carbon dioxide users and technology suppliers to produce site-specific cost estimates for deploying CCU at UK industrial sites. Wood.Plc successfully bid for Phase 1
  • Phase 2 will fund projects to conduct design studies for constructing CCUequipment at UK host sites
  • Phase 3 will fund projects to construct and demonstrate CCU

Summary :

Call closes : 11 November 2018 (Applicants must complete the application forms on this link and submit by email to Industry.Innovation@beis.gov.uk by Sunday 11 November 2018.)

Available funding : up to £5million

Project duration : up to 24 months

Project dates : finish by 31 March 2021

Please see this link for more information about this call.

3. Open grant funding competition: round 3

Up to £20million investment will be made by Innovate UK in the best cutting-edge or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation.

All proposals must be business focused, and can come from any area of technology, science or engineering, including arts, design, media or creative industries.

Summary : 

Call opens : 24 September 2018

Call closes : 14 November 2018

Available funding : between £25,000 and £500,000

Project duration : Between 19 and 36 months

Project dates : start by 1 April 2019 and end by 1 April 2022

Please see this link for more information about this call.

4. UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme: fast-track collaborative R&D EoI

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £8 million to carry out collaborative R&D, collaborative fast-track and feasibility projects that enhance the UK’s position in civil aerospace.

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • plan to carry out an aerospace research or technology development project in the UK
  • address the specific requirements of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Raising Ambition’
  • sign up to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) framework agreement
  • work in collaboration with other organisations to develop proposals and deliver projects

To lead a project you must:

To collaborate you must be a:

  • business
  • research organisation
  • public sector organisation
  • charity

Summary : 

Call opens : 24 September 2018

Call closes : 5 December 2018

Available funding : between £425,000 to £1million

Project duration : Between 12 and 24 months

Project dates : start by August 2019 and end by August 2021

Please see this link for more information about this call.

5. IDP 15: the road to zero emission vehicles, large R&D

Up to £4million is available for UK businesses to apply for to research and develop technologies that accelerate the transition to zero emmision vehicles.

To be eligible you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • work in collaboration with other businesses, research organisations or third-sector organisations

To lead a project you must be a UK based business, of any size.

A separate £2 million is available for feasibility study projects and a further £16 million to support proportionality smaller collaborative R&D projects.

Summary : 

Call closes : 6 December 2018

Available funding : up to £4million

Project duration : Between 12 and 36 months

Project dates : start by June 2019 and end by June 2022

Please see this link for more information about this call.

 

Funding opportunity : Hydrogen Supply Competition

A £20m Hydrogen Supply Programme is now open for registration of interest with a deadline of 21 November 2018. This £20 million Hydrogen Supply programme aims to accelerate the development of low carbon bulk hydrogen supply solutions in industry, power, heat and transport. It is aimed at projects at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 4 to 7, which could result in lower capital or operating costs when compared to Steam Methane Reformer with Carbon Capture & Storage (SMR+CCS), or improve the capture rates at a comparable cost.

The deadline to submit proposals is 5 December 2018.

For more information, please see this link.

 

TENDER opportunity : Study on energy costs, taxes and the impact of government interventions on investments in the energy sector

The European Commission is currently advertising a tender opportunity on the ‘Study on energy costs, taxes and the impact of government interventions on investments in the energy sector’ with the following aim:

The aim is to collect information on energy generation costs, system and external costs in the energy sector, in parallel with looking at taxes related the use of energy paid to the general budget, and to build up an inventory on government interventions related to energy. The study will cover the 28 Member States of the EU, all major energy sources and beyond the energy sector the main energy consuming branches, such as industry, transport and agriculture. Beyond the EU the study aims at building a database as complete as possible for G20 countries. In order to feed in the initiatives of the Energy Union, the study will identify best practices in the EU Member States to measure subsidies to fossil fuels, and it will analyse the impact of fossil fuel subsidies on decarbonisation objectives of EU policies and investments in climate friendly energy technologies. The next energy prices and costs report and the State of the energy Union report could use the results of the study.

Please see below a summary of this funding opportunity:

Deadline for requests to participate: 24 October 2018

Available funding : EURO 2,000,000 (excluding VAT)

Duration : 18 months

Please see this link for more information on this tender opportunity.

 

 

Future electric vehicles: new Faraday battery challenge funding

Image from fleetcarma.com

A £25million funding competition from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will be available to innovative businesses with projects to develop batteries for future electric vehicles.

The Faraday battery challenge is a £246 million investment to bring forward the next generation of electric vehicles. These will be powered by high-performance batteries that are cost-effective, lightweight, durable and safe, and can be recycled.

Funding details

This competition is to support business-led research and development to improve batteries for automotive applications.

There are 2 opportunities to apply, depending on the stage of your project, which are:

  • up to £23 million for industrial research and development
  • up to £2 million for feasibility studies

In both opportunities projects should aim to:

  • make it easier to scale up battery production and use
  • build the UK supply chain

Please see below a summary of the funding details:

Competition opens : 17 September 2018

Deadline : 12 December 2018

Lead : UK-based business OR research and technology organisation (in collaboration with other businesses, academic organisations, charities, public sector or research and technology organisations)

Available award : between £500,000 and £15million

Project duration : between 3 and 18 months

Please see this link for more information about this funding opportunity.

Predictive Cyber Analytics – Funding opportunity

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition welcomes proposals for novel approaches to predictive cyber security to address challenges in defence and/or security.

A total funding of £1M will be available in this Phase 1 of this competition. Around 5 to 10 proof-of-concept research projects up to 6 months of duration are expected. Further funding into future phases beyond this competition is anticipated to be available.

Details on how to apply will be included in the full competition document which will be available soon. Please sign up to alerts to keep up to date.

In the meantime, you will need to register for the new DASA Submission Service, noting you will not be able to view the competition until the full competition document is published.

Please click on this link to find out more about this competition and more on the submission process can be found here.

Queries should be sent to accelerator@dstl.gov.uk.

Re-thinking the Profession of Project Management for Sustainability

Project management contributes trillions to the global economy; driving business innovation and converting politicians’ promises into new systems and constructions that are intended to improve everyday life.

Sustainable development is a global priority and yet sustainability and project management do not sit comfortably together.  There is tension between the long-term focus of sustainable development and the inherent pressure on projects to deliver against short-term measures of success.  Furthermore, projects regularly fail.  For example, Meier (2017) suggest 71% of projects in 2015 failed or were challenged.  The financial, social and environmental costs of wasted resources and lost opportunities each year are also measured in trillions across the globe.

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Dr Karen Thompson and Dr Nigel Williams, both from the Department of Leadership, Strategy and Organisations, recognise that principles of responsible management and sustainability must be effectively incorporated into project management research and practice.  Without responsible project management, projects are likely to hasten degradation of the environment and increase tensions in society.  As a growing population competes for scarce resources, human conflict across the globe is likely to worsen.  Responsible management of projects is therefore globally significant.

An international, cross-disciplinary workshop to think about Responsible Project Management was recently hosted by Nigel and Karen at BU.  One focus was the project manager competencies because Wheatley (2018), among others, argues that enhanced project management capabilities would increase the beneficial impact of projects.  A central premise to emerge was that managing projects responsibly will require project managers to go beyond delivering defined results for specific customers to managing the impact of their activities on society and the environment.

The workshop brought together leading academics and practitioners to begin exploring the concept of Responsible Project Management, with a particular focus on what competencies project managers require to think and act responsibly.  An amazing 43 people engaged with us over two and a half days.  Feedback collected formally and informally was incredibly positive.  One outcome is recognition that the role of a project manager need to shift from a functional role, to leading and facilitating sustainable change.

Steve Knightley

The event began with a relaxed and informal afternoon with Steve Knightley, multi-award-winning musician/song writer, who shared his journey of creating a sustainable business.  The following day, BU’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, welcomed participants and shared his vision of the future, including BU2025.  Other participants from BU included the Head of BU’s Programme Management Office, Jackie Pryce; BU project managers; and Sustainability Manager, Neil Smith.  Colleagues Dr Mehdi Chowdhury, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Tilak Ginige and Dr Sulaf Assi, both from the Faculty of Science and Technology, and several BU students contributed presentations and stimulated discussion.

External participants included Professor Darren Dalcher, Director of the National Centre for Project Management; Professor Andrew Edkins, Director of the Bartlett Real Estate Institute and Professor of the Management of Complex Projects; Professor Gilbert Silvius, thought leader and author on sustainable PM from the Netherlands, and other UK academics.  Representatives from two professional bodies – the Association for Project Management (UK) and the Project Management Institute (USA) – reflected a range of practitioner perspectives; Arup Director Rob Leslie-Carter joined us via Skype, and Rowan Maltby, Project Consultant at Pcubed participated.  Sustainability thinking was used to provoke discussion and challenge norms, led by a Director of the Association of Sustainability Practitioners, Gwyn Jones.  We discussed B-corps, a new type of business organisation where the aim is to deliver value to stakeholders without preference.  Unlike not-for-profit organisations, B-corps recognise the importance of profit, because without profit a business is not sustainable.  Organisation and governance of B-corps reflect a need for stewardship of resources and impacts across a wide range of stakeholders, including the environment, users of outputs, staff, suppliers, and the wider community.

The workshop generated ideas about making project management a profession that goes beyond a technical function delivering outcomes defined by others.  We suggested a range of competences and understandings project managers will require if projects are to be managed responsibly in the future, such as dealing with uncertainty, ethical complexity, and better anticipation and mitigation of damaging unintended consequences.  Workshop outputs included ideas for research bidding, writing papers, learning, teaching and module content.  Already we are collaborating on a guide for project practitioners to begin sharing the ideas with national and international audiences.

References

Meier, S.R. 2017. Technology Portfolio Management for Project Managers. Available online: https://www.pmiwdc.org/sites/default/files/presentations/201703/PMIW_LocalCommunity_Tysons_presentation_2017-02.pdf [Accessed 7 July 2018]

Silvius, A.J.G. 2017. Sustainability as a new school of thought in project management.  Journal of Cleaner Production. Vol. 166. Pages 1479-1493

Wheatley, M. 2018.  The Importance of Project Management.  ProjectSmart. Available online: https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/the-importance-of-project-management.php [Accessed 8 July 2018]

Evaluation in sport, leisure and wellbeing; the power of knowledge exchange

 

The second seminar of this two seminar event takes place this Thursday at Solent University. Together with colleagues from VUB (Brussels) this international seminar series has examined issues of evaluation, knowledge transfer and agency for research and practice in sport, leisure and well-being fields.

Excellent speakers from the first seminar included Prof Sam Porter (BU), Prof Fred Coalter and Dr Rein Haudehuyse (VUB).

Thursdays seminar features Prof Ramon Spaij and Dr Hebe Schaillée (VUB), Dr Iain Lindsey (Durham University) and Dr Oscar Mwaanga (Solent University).

The focus of the seminar is on translating evidence and evaluation to practice: how do we bridge that gap?

If you would like to attend at Solent University please contact Andrew Adams in Department of Sport and Physical Activity at BU: aadams@bournemouth.ac.uk

This seminar series is supported by a grant from the Leisure Studies Association

Innovate UK funding available – Plastics innovation: towards zero waste

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Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £4 million in innovation projects to reduce the harm that plastics do to our environment and increase productivity and growth of the UK economy.

The aim is to support innovative activities that result in less persistent plastic waste in our environment through the development of new polymers, processes, designs, recycling regimes, value added recyclate or bio-alternatives.

A business or research and technology organisation (RTO) must lead the project.

Please see summary below:

Available funding: between £50,000 and £1 million

Project dates : between 1 December 2018 and 31 December 2020

Project duration : minimum 3 months; maximum 24 months

Please see this link for more information.

Testing connected and autonomous vehicles: funding available

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The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) – with Meridian Mobility and Innovate UK – has up to £30 million for projects that help make the UK the most effective connected and autonomous vehicle development ecosystem in the world.

Businesses and research organisations can apply into 2 competitions that support the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles and progress their development.

Connected vehicles data exchange

In the first competition, there is up to £5 million for one project that supports the sharing and trading of data generated by infrastructure, connected or autonomous vehicles or other third parties.

Autonomous highway, rural roads and parking

There is up to £25 million in the second competition. This is for up to 6 projects for facilities to support the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles for highways, rural roads and parking.

Key summary:

Deadline: 29 August 2018

Lead : UK-based business or research organisation

Available funding : Connected vehicles data exchange – up to £10m; Autonomous highway, rural roads and parking – between £1m and £20m

Project dates : before March 2019

Please see this link for full details of the call.

Funding opportunity – Smart tracking of waste across the UK

The Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is investing up to £400,000 in projects that use digital technology to record and track the movement of waste through the economy. Funding for the competition is under SBRI (the Small Business Research Initiative), which aims to bring together government and businesses to find innovative solutions to public sector challenges.

This competition is in 2 phases. Phase 1 is for contracts of up to £80,000 to examine the feasibility of ideas. The best ideas could win a share of up to £1 million to develop and field test a prototype in a second phase.

Summary:

Deadline: 18 July 2018

Available funding: Phase 1 – up to £80,000; Phase 2 – up to £1m

Please see this link for full details of this call.

Funding opportunity – ISCF Next Generation Services Research Programme

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The ESRC has announced the Next Generation Services Research call under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Proposals of up to £1.25 million (100% full economic cost) are invited for interdisciplinary research grants, focused on working with businesses to identify the potential opportunities offered by the application of new technologies in the high value services sector.

This is a ‘Pioneer’ initiative that will focus in the first instance on the accountancy, legal services and insurance industries.

Please see below key summaries of this call:

Deadline : 4pm; 18 July 2018

Project start & end dates : between December 2018 and March 2021

Please see this link for full details of this call.

Apply for Innovate UK Robotics and AI for safer work residential and funding

Collaborative Decision Making

Innovate UK is offering opportunities for individuals to apply on behalf of their business to attend a 5-day residential innovation lab in September 2018. This innovation lab will allow delegates to work in teams to generate innovative and commercially-viable ideas in the following areas:

  • robotic structural capabilities
  • reformable structures
  • long-range and beyond visual line-of-sight operations
  • electronics, sensors and photonics for extreme environments
  • AI, autonomy and situational awareness
  • mission planning and risk management
  • systems engineering, including methodologies, verification and validation tools
  • security, reliability, safety and trust
  • collaborative robotics and AI systems
  • long endurance operations
  • modules that support increased dexterity
  • locomotion platforms that work extreme environments

In the second stage of the competition, teams that attended the innovation lab will have the opportunity to apply for a share of up to £15 million grant funding for their project.

Please see below a summary of the competition:

Deadline for application: 11 July 2018

Number of places available : 20 to 30

Eligibility: a business, academic, charity, public sector or research and technology organisation based in the UK and intend to carry out the project and exploit the results in the UK

Residential dates : 10 September 2014 – 14 September 2018

Second stage proposal award : £2m – £6m

Second stage proposal start date : January 2019

Please see this link for full details of this funding opportunity.