Category / Featured

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Anastasia Vayona

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Anastasia Vayona, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Social Science and Policy, about her research journey to date… 

Confucius said, “Find something you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I admit it took me a while (!) but I finally got there…

Being a Postdoc has proven to be the most fulfilling career choice that I have made to date. I am working on things that I am passionate about with people who share the same passion and interest.

I started my professional career as a Landscape Architect who was always interested in sustainability and the societal aspects of designing for people and through that I got exposed to the concept of Circular Economy. It was the Eureka moment for me, I developed an appetite for further research and explored the societal aspects of Circular Economy, so I pursued a doctorate on the subject. I was fortunate to work on EU-funded projects along with my studies and got to meet like-minded scholars and further develop my knowledge and interests.

Anastasia Vayona presenting her research

Anastasia Vayona presenting her research into the circular economy

I have recently been given the opportunity to work as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Social Science & Policy, at the Faculty of Science and Technology. I am one of the 4 postdocs working on the Research Capacity Transformation Scheme (RCaTS): Resolving the extinction crisis: sustainable and technological solutions for biodiversity and society project, along with academics from Life and Environmental Sciences and the Business School.

This role has allowed me to work with an interdisciplinary team of colleagues and academics on a series of different projects, all involving biodiversity and society. As a social scientist, I constantly explore new ways of involving society in practice and broadening the consumer/ residence/ human understanding of issues that involve sustainability and their livelihood.

Being a postdoc is an important first step of an academic career. It provides one with a relatively high degree of freedom to pursue their research interests – free from the pressure of completing and submitting their PhD thesis! It gives one the luxury to dedicate their time wholly on research and pump their research skills during the outset of their career. In the six months I have been in my current post, I managed to publish three papers and I am in the process of preparing a further five at the time of writing.

However, a postdoc role is not permanent by design, so it also comes with some degree of job insecurity and anxiety: time is ticking, and you need to deliver outputs that will showcase your capabilities and competency as a researcher.

Being an all-rounded researcher involves building and mastering a wide range of competencies – not just the obvious skill of writing scientific papers, but also understanding and participating in funded research (both pre and post award), gaining research independence by working with colleagues within and outside your institution, participating in supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate student projects, and of course teaching, through the delivery of targeted, guest lectures showcasing your research.

This complex and challenging landscape was one of the reasons I volunteered for the role of institutional Research Staff Association (RSA) representative, where I aspire to make a difference through working together with other members of the university to produce an actionable plan for supporting early career researchers in navigating through the various options, opportunities, expectations and responsibilities.

When I started this journey, I could only dream of what I have succeeded to date but now I am grateful for what I have achieved; I am thankful to all the people who helped me through the journey so far and look forward to the future.

Thank you to everybody who has shared their experiences as part of Postdoc Appreciation Week – and thank you to our postdocs for all you do, this week and every week, to support research at BU. 

You can get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

Conversation article: Bidenomics – why it’s more likely to win the 2024 election than many people think

Dr Conor O’Kane writes for The Conversation about President Joe Biden’s economic approach and why it might end up winning votes in the next US election…

Bidenomics: why it’s more likely to win the 2024 election than many people think

Conor O’Kane, Bournemouth University

Joe Biden has come out fighting against perceptions that he is handling the US economy badly. During an address in Maryland, the president contrasted Bidenomics with Trumpian “MAGAnomics” that would involve tax-cutting and spending reductions. He decried trickle-down policies that had, “shipped jobs overseas, hollowed out communities and produced soaring deficits”.

Changing voters’ minds about the economy is one of Biden’s biggest challenges ahead of the 2024 election. Recent polling data suggested 63% of Americans are negative on the US economy, while 45% said their financial situation had deteriorated in the last two years.

Voters are also downbeat about Biden. In a recent CNN poll, almost 75% of respondents were “seriously” concerned about his mental and physical competence. Even 60% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning respondents were “seriously” concerned he would lose in 2024.

This appears a great opportunity for Donald Trump. He’s the clear favourite amongst Republican voters for their nomination, assuming recent indictments don’t thwart his ambitions.

Trump won in 2016 by capitalising on Americans’ economic discontent. Globalisation is estimated to have seen 5.5 million well paid, unionised US manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2017. The “small-government” approach since the days of Ronald Reagan also exacerbated inequality, with only the top 20% of earners seeing their GDP share rise from 1980-2016.

Trump duly promised to retreat from globalisation and prioritise domestic growth and job creation. “Make America Great Again” resonated with many voters, especially in swing manufacturing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Winning these “rust-belt” states was crucial to Trump’s success.

These will again be key battlegrounds in 2024, but the economic situation is somewhat different now. There may be more cause for Democrat optimism than the latest polls suggest.

What is Bidenomics?

When Biden won in 2020, he too recognised that the neoliberal version of US capitalism was failing ordinary Americans. His answer, repeated in his Maryland speech, is to grow the economy “from the middle out and the bottom up”. To this end, Bidenomics is centred on three key pillars: smarter public investment, growing the middle class and promoting competition.

On investment, Biden’s approach fundamentally challenges the argument by the right that increasing public investment “crowds out” more efficient private investment. Bidenomics argues that targeted public investment will unlock private investment, delivering well paid jobs and growth.

The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has helped raise US capital expenditure nearer its long-term trend, although there’s a way to go. But what is really distinctive is the green-economy focus.

US public investment as a % of GDP

Graph showing US public investment as a % of GDP
CEIC

Almost 80% of the US$485 billion (£390 billion) in IRA spending is on energy security and climate change investment, through tax credits, subsidies and incentives. Much of the investments announced into manufacturing electric cars, batteries and solar panels, and mining vital ingredients like cobalt and lithium, are in the rust belt.

Meanwhile, Biden’s 2022 Chips Act is a US$280 billion investment to bolster US independence in semiconductors. With both acts backing domestic investment, the strategy concedes Trump’s point that globalisation failed blue-collar America. This is underpinned by other protectionist measures such as Biden’s “buy American” policy.

A whole series of measures aim to boost the middle classes. These include increasing workers’ ability to collectively bargain, and widening the maximum earning threshold for workers entitled to overtime pay from US$35,000 to US$55,000 – taking in 3.6 million more workers. As for promoting competition, measures include banning employers from using non-compete clauses in employment contacts.

The results so far

It’s too early to judge these policies, but the US economy has been relatively impressive under Biden. Over 13 million new jobs have been created, though much of this can be perhaps attributed to workers resuming employment after COVID. Unemployment is below 4%, a 50-year low, though similar to what Trump achieved pre-COVID.

Total US jobs

Graph of the total number of non-farm jobs in the US
This shows the total number of non-farm jobs in the US.
St Louis Federal Reserve

The IMF predicts the US economy will grow 1.8% in 2023, the strongest among the G7. The US also has the group’s lowest inflation rate, although it rose in August. On the closely watched core-inflation metric, which excludes food and energy, the US is mid-table, though improving.

The federal deficit, the annual difference between income and outgoings, is heading in the wrong direction. It deteriorated under Trump, ballooned during COVID then partially bounced back, but is forecast to widen in 2023 to 5.9% of GDP or circa US$2 trillion.

Graph showing the US federal deficit over time
St Louis Federal Reserve

Ratings agency Fitch recently downgraded the US credit rating from AAA to AA+. Fitch says the US public finances will worsen over the next three years because GDP will deteriorate and spending rise, and that the endless political battles over the US debt ceiling have eroded confidence.

Nonetheless, the other major ratings agencies have not made similar downgrades, and the widening deficit is mostly not because of Bidenomics. Tax receipts are substantially down because the markets have been less favourable to investors, while surging interest rates have increased US debt interest payments.

Overall, the economics signs are arguably moving in the right direction. An article co-written by business professor Jeffrey Sonnefeld from Yale University in the US, advisor to Democrat and Republican administrations, compares Bidenomics to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. It argues:

The US economy is now pulling off what all the experts said was impossible: strong growth and record employment amidst plummeting inflation … the fruits of economic prosperity are inclusive and broad-based, amidst a renaissance in American manufacturing, investment and productivity.

The Democrats know they must make this case to win in 2024. To compound Biden’s Maryland speech, there are plans for an advertising blitz in key states. Of course, the party may yet back another candidate, if they are thought more likely to win – currently Biden and Trump are neck and neck.

One consolation to the Democrats is that voters’ gloom is partly related to interest rates, which are probably close to peaking. Anyway, recent polling suggesting voters view the economy as the paramount issue is arguably good news: it means that Republican efforts to shift the narrative towards the culture wars are less likely to win an election.The Conversation

Conor O’Kane, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Bournemouth University

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

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Dr Aralisa Shedden

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Dr Aralisa Shedden, who writes about her experiences as a postdoctoral researcher… 

I am a terrestrial ecologist who aims to understand the emerging challenges for biodiversity conservation in a changing world. I obtained my BSc and my MSc at the University of Veracruz, Mexico. My MSc thesis investigated sustainable use of tropical forest fragments to enhance biodiversity conservation and how endangered species adapted to changes in their environment. I also worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Neuroethology, where I supported research development and management.

I was then invited to join the Center for Tropical Research at the University of Veracruz, where I worked as a Scientific Associate until 2012, when I began my PhD at Bournemouth University. I completed my PhD in 2016 and my thesis combined environmental, ecological and social data to rank the suitability of areas for conservation in a multi-user and multi-use landscape in Mexico. I explored using primates as flagship species to establish these conservation sites and also aimed to support decision making and planning in response to threats including agriculture and hunting.

After a five year break in my career due to full-time care responsibilities, I re-joined academia and began a Post Doctoral position at Bournemouth University working on a EU Horizon 2020 project called RESONATE that investigates how past and current site factors and management affect forest system resilience in different forest types and management systems across Europe.

I also continue to collaborate with colleagues from universities in Mexico and the U.S.A. on topics related to interactions between wildlife (e.g. jaguar and puma predation on primates), the effects of landscape transformation on animal health (e.g. increase in parasitism in animals living in human impacted forests) and enhancing our knowledge on how to tackle conservation issues in the tropics.

Through my applied research, I am driven to understand the intricate relationships between the need for economic growth in rural communities and the necessity for environmental conservation. I am interested in how species respond to changes in their ecosystems, ongoing climatic events and human pressures. With this knowledge, I aim to provide practical solutions for conservation under varying scenarios.

For me, the best part about being a post-doc has been learning new skills and being exposed to topics/concepts that I had not been involved with in my previous research. And worst thing about being a post-doc is it can be somewhat isolating and the learning curve can be steeper than expected, which can be quite challenging.

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your experiences, or show your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

 

Conversation article: The psychology of spot fixing – why athletes might gamble their careers

Dr Lucy Sheppard-Marks writes for The Conversation about her research into sport and crime and how to better protect athletes…

The psychology of spot fixing – why athletes might gamble their careers

Wpadington/Shutterstock

Lucy Sheppard-Marks, Bournemouth University

Fifa is reportedly investigating allegations of an illegal betting ring in Greece. Meanwhile the Bolivian Football Federation has cancelled two top-flight tournaments over reports of spot fixing.

These country-level investigations follow numerous examples of professional footballers being personally investigated for breaking betting rules. In 2022, Reading defender Kynan Isaac was handed a 12-year ban for placing illegal bets.

From the outside it might seem strange that well-paid athletes who seemingly have everything might risk it all in this way. Those who are eventually found guilty can be fined, suspended from playing the sport or even banned for life.

As yet not much is known about the benefits athletes get out of spot fixing, beyond payments from fixers, and researchers aren’t even sure if athletes always get payments direct from bookmakers. But it may not all be simply about money.

My previous research into why male professional athletes commit crime may help us understand why they would gamble their careers – the intense conditions of a professional athlete’s world can prime them for criminality.

Why do athletes do it?

Sport corruption cases have been on the on the increase around the world in recent years.

My study in sport and crime involved interviewing elite male athletes who have committed crimes, ranging from driving offences or drug possession, to importing drugs or grievous bodily harm.

I found the very characteristics that may have made them a good athlete may have also set them on the path to criminality. There are parallels between the core features of athletic excellence such as competitiveness, aggression, appetite for risk and assertion, and some of the traits that underpin criminal activities.

In some circumstances, an athlete may view crime as an intense and thrilling activity that fulfils their need for excitement and fuels their appetite for risk.

Some athletes viewed crime as a means to alleviate boredom, with players struggling to fill the void that was left when not competing or training. The thrill of the crime wasn’t necessarily an initial motivator but it was clearly a reason for repeated offences. As one athlete told me: “Some of those feelings, like feelings of elation and at times camaraderie as well, that I experienced on a football pitch, in a changing room… I got that from crime as well.”

Another athlete said: “There is a buzz of it … Anyone who tells you anything else is lying, it’s a buzz”.

Close up of hands gripping prison bars.
One athlete said he didn’t need to worry about jail because he wouldn’t get caught.
fongbeerredhot/Shutterstock

Athletes in my study highlighted their susceptibility to temptation, their sense of invincibility and belief the rules did not apply to them and, in hindsight, their self-centredness. In psychology, these characteristics are linked with a type of behaviour called “terminal adolescence”, where they appear to not grow up because they don’t have to. Some athletes are so indulged they develop unrealistic views of themselves and a sense of invincibility commonly seen in adolescents.

A disregard for consequences was also clear. One participant said: “Of course there are consequences, of course there are people that go to jail, I know them, but I’m not going to get caught so I don’t have to think about that”.

Athletes may take part in crime because risky experiences can give people a sense of control in their largely constrained lives – it can help athletes escape from the restrictive nature of elite sport.

Negative sporting experiences influenced some atheletes’ criminal behaviour too. Rejection, failure and a belief that sporting bodies, coaches or fans are treating them unfairly can incite athletes to rebellion. For example, one professional boxer began a phase of going out with friends and taking drugs after he lost a match because he thought the outcome was unfair.

Substance misuse was also often a negative influence. The need for money to pay for drugs and increasing greed in general were given as reasons for these bouts of self-destructive behaviour.

What can be done?

Sport organisations need to ensure they know the backgrounds, and social pressures, that are inescapable for many athletes so they can protect them. Young athletes’ potential criminality is not always on the radar of coaches, but it needs to be. One of the athletes I interviewed did get pulled up by his coach who had realised what he was doing in his free time – and this was a changing point for him.

Participants in my study touched upon the pressure they felt to be successful and how they struggled with mental health. One athlete described how draining his sport could be, and how the intensity – combined with the pressure an athlete is constantly under to perform – was exhausting.

The destructive criminal behaviour may be self-inflicted but these athletes still need support. Failing to support an athlete who has committed a crime may well make things worse, as they struggle with the financial, social and emotional consequences of their actions.

The frequency of drug and alcohol misuse is also an influence on athletes committing crimes. Athletes were indifferent to the use of class B and C drugs, and the negative impact these drugs could have on their careers, or how these could result in a criminal record. Education should be extended to coaches about how to spot social drug use, as it was clear that athletes in this study were adept at hiding their substance misuse.

The experiences of athletes who have committed crimes can be used allow others to learn from their mistakes. Telling their stories will also enable those who have offended to give back to their sports, and give convicted athletes a focus for getting their careers in sport back on track.The Conversation

Lucy Sheppard-Marks, Lecturer Sport and Event Management, Bournemouth University

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

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Postdoc Appreciation meet-up

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

To mark the week, we hosted a Postdoc Appreciation meet-up event on Talbot Campus…

A photo through a window of people gathered in a room with a poster saying Postdoc Appreciation Week

The Postdoc Appreciation Week meet-up

The event offered the opportunity for postdoctoral researchers, their line managers, and research staff from across the university to come together and network, as well as find out more about current postdoctoral research taking place at BU.

The event was opened by Professor Mike Silk, Co-Chair of the Research Concordat Steering Group at BU.

Introducing the event as an opportunity to increase and enhance the visibility of postdoc researchers at BU, he said: “Postdoctoral researchers really are the ones who drive forward the research agenda at any institution.

“They are the lifeblood of my research and career – I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without the postdoctoral researchers that I have managed.”

As part of the event, postdoctoral researchers Sina Safari and Anastasia Vayona presented short summaries of their current research.

Sina Safari stood in front of a screen

Sina Safari presents his work as part of the ADDISONIC cluster

Sina, a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Structural Dynamics and Advanced Materials, shared his work as part of the ADDISONIC research cluster, which is looking at how ultrasonic fatigue testing can provide valuable data around how long materials will last.

The work has applications for industry in helping them develop more robust modelling around the lifespan of materials, as well as exploring ways of potentially using less material while extending their life.

Anastasia, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Social Science and Policy, spoke about her research exploring greenwashing, wish cycling and the circular economy.

Anastasia Vayona presenting her research

Anastasia Vayona presenting her research into the circular economy

She shared a brief history of the introduction of plastic packaging and the development of a ‘throwaway culture’, which peaked around the 1990s. She also spoke about some of the challenges around recycling – including the responsibility being largely left with consumers, and unclear messaging which leads to recycling becoming contaminated and ended up in landfill.

The event ended with the chance to chat over coffee and cake, and offered a great opportunity to learn more about postdoctoral research at BU and meet some of our current researchers, as well as say thank you for the contribution they make to research at BU. The hope is to hold similar events in future – watch this space!

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

 

 

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Local Authority Adult Social Care Recruitment and Retention research project

This week is UK Postostdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Dr Andy Pulman, Postdoctoral Researcher in Social Care, who shares details of his research exploring recruitment and retention in social care… 

An effective health service is reliant on an effective social care system, and it is therefore vital that we develop a robust research base for social care, to ensure that local authorities (LAs) and third sector organisations provide the most effective services within a wider integrated system of health and social care.

The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work (NCPQSW) has been contributing to this area of national research recently by helping to generate deeper insights into the challenges of building capacity to undertake social care research across the sector and the opportunities for building research engagement and capacity across Higher Education Institutions and the social care sector in the Wessex region (Dorset, South Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight).

In 2022, Professor Lee-Ann Fenge (PI) and Dr Andy Pulman (Post Doc) completed a year-long study examining social care research enablers – which could help to build a positive research environment – and barriers – which might prevent or limit a positive research environment for practitioners. We are currently working on a follow up project – one of four in the Wessex region being funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) – building on this initial scoping work.

Our study explores local recruitment (employing people as adult social care staff) and retention (providing a working environment where they want to stay) issues in adult social care from the perspective of four populations of interest:

  1. Social care practitioners currently working in two local LAs – Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) and Dorset.
  2. Social care staff with responsibility for performing exit interviews with LA staff (prior to their leaving the LA) currently working in the two local LAs.
  3. Students currently enrolled in social care undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (within the Wessex region) who might enter the adult social care workforce locally once qualified.
  4. Service users with lived experience of receiving services in BCP or Dorset/advocates drawn from Wessex Region Local Authority contracted services and the impacts of practitioner retention in relation to use of these services.

This project runs between November 2022 and April 2024 and at time of writing (11/09/23), we are currently collecting and analysing qualitative data from over n=100 participants. 

More information on our project:

Dr Andy Pulman – apulman@bournemouth.ac.uk

https://ncpqsw.com/building-research-capacity-in-social-care/

https://www.arc-wx.nihr.ac.uk/research-areas-list/social-care%3A-local-authority-adult-social-care-recruitment-and-retention-research-project

Further viewing:

Pulman, A. 2023. NIHR ARC Wessex Social Care Lunchtime Seminar #2 – Building Research Capacity in Social Care.

Further reading:

Pulman, A. and Fenge, L.-A., 2023. Building Capacity for Social Care Research—Individual-Level and Organisational Barriers Facing Practitioners. The British Journal of Social Work.

Pulman, A. and Fenge, L.-A., 2023. Building Capacity for Social Care Research – Ways of Improving Research Skills for Social Workers. Social Work Education.

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Dr Rejoice Chipuriro

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Dr Rejoice Chipuriro, Post-Doctoral Researcher In Social Care, about her experiences as a postdoctoral researcher… 

I trained as a social worker in Zimbabwe before relocating to South Africa where I obtained my MA in Social Development and PhD in Sociology. I joined Bournemouth University in February 2022 as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Social Science and Social Work.

A group of researchers stood on steps

Dr Rejoice Chipuriro with her wider research team

I have worked in community-led interventions and health research programmes in Southern Africa and in the UK. My current research projects are both funded by the National Institute of Health and Social Care and focus on community assets and how these contribute to people’s health and wellbeing (commonhealthassets.uk).

I also work with a local arts-based community organisation which supports mental health for marginalised populations such as asylum seekers, people in recovery from drug and alcohol use.

I was initially drawn to social work as a helping profession and later I ventured into research to learn from and understand the societies that I worked in. When I practised social work, I noticed that beyond individual pathologies lay structural and socio-economic issues that either developed or deprived access to life enhancing choices and opportunities. This led me to studying social development and sociology. I found these inter-disciplinary postgraduate courses helpful for my community work.

I was able to co-design participatory and anti-oppressive interventions with the help of people in the communities as experts by experience. I enjoy supporting people going through life transitions as well as groups and communities striving for a more equitable and just society for all.

What I like about being a post-doctoral researcher

I have travelled widely and met researchers, academics, and communities of practice across the globe, which is an enriching experience. I have presented my research in three continents and collaborated on research across the globe. My network is expansive, and I have accessed resources, intellectual support, and mentorship which has helped me grow professionally. I bring with me this international experience into my work, and this benefits the students and communities I support. When work is challenging, I have empathetic colleagues who hold the space for me and offer encouragement when I need it most.

I have been granted opportunities to teach social work and sociology units as well as to co-facilitate CPD units. I am still mastering teaching skills whilst I support colleagues in lesson planning, delivering virtual and in-person teaching and assessments. I enjoy doing things out of my comfort zone and this aspect of my academic training was at first intimidating but now pleasant. I have settled into my teaching duties well and I like infusing the creative as well as pragmatic aspects of my research into the lectures to enhance student learning experience from different fields of practice.

I was allocated a fellow post doc to be my uni buddy, who helped me settle into my role and the practicalities of living in Bournemouth and we became friends, which alleviated some loneliness away from home. I was assigned mentors to help direct my career progression. From the mentorship I managed to submit a successful portfolio of evidence for my associate fellow Advance HE. I also got mentorship in submitting research bids and got my first grant as a Principal Investigator. These achievements are an indicator of the time and effort invested into professional development for post-docs at BU.

The difficult part of being a post-doc

The writing process for peer reviewed publication can be lonely and arduous. However, BU has put in place support for post-docs to attend writing retreats, meet fellow post-docs, exchange ideas and make friendships. This alleviates loneliness and the retreats are an opportunity to learn from established academics. I have joined research centres such as the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and the Women’s Academic Network, where I present my work and get feedback, which has also positively impacted my academic publishing.

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

Postdoc Appreciation Week: Enabling insights into reading behaviour

This week is UK Postdoc Appreciation Week and we are celebrating and showcasing the achievements of our postdoctoral researchers and their important contribution to research at BU. 

Today’s post is by Dr Julie Kirkby and Professor Marcin Budka about the work of Postdoctoral Researcher in Machine Learning for the Modelling of Eye Movements Thomas Mercier… 

Enabling Insights into Reading Behaviour and related Pathologies through Eye-Tracking Technology and Machine Learning

In the past decades, eye-tracking technology has emerged as an invaluable tool for uncovering the cognitive processes involved in reading by offering unique insights into individuals’ reading patterns. This technique involves measuring an individual’s gaze position on a computer screen over time with high accuracy to reveal critical information about where and how long their eyes are fixating while navigating text. This provides essential clues about mental processes at play during the act of reading.

Eye-Tracking Technology in Reading Research:

The data collected from eye-tracking technology has proven valuable not only for studying general reading behaviour but also specific disorders such as dyslexia. By examining an individual’s eye movements during a reading task, researchers can better understand the cognitive mechanisms engaged in comprehending written material and potentially improve interventions for those who struggle with reading due to neurological differences or other factors. Additionally, this technology has been used to gain insight into accessibility-related issues of visual stimuli such as web pages.

Challenges in Eye-Tracking Data Analysis: Line Assignment and Measurement Noise

While technological advancements have enabled the recording of gaze points during reading with high accuracy, raw eye-tracking data still requires post-processing to identify which gaze positions are part of fixations (periods of relative positional stability) and which are part of saccades (rapid ballistic eye-movements). Furthermore, for most data analysis in reading research these fixations need to be assigned to an area of interest in the reading stimulus, such as a character or word, depending on the experiment design.

This line assignment can become significantly more difficult when dealing with multi-line passages of text, usually requiring laborious manual correction. The assignment process is made non-trivial by noise present in the tracking data due to factors such as loss of calibration during an experiment, subtle head movements or pupil dilation. Such measurement noise may manifest as dynamically changing vertical drift of recorded gaze positions, causing them to appear closer to lines above or below the actual line being read.

Attempts have been made to create algorithms that automate the line assignment process to enable researchers to carry out larger studies involving multi-line reading experiments that more closely resemble reading as it would happen outside the lab. However, these techniques often lack sufficient accuracy and reliability, leading to manual correction remaining the gold standard for addressing noise in eye-tracking fixation data.

Julie Kirkby (Department of Psychology) and Marcin Budka (Department of Computing and Informatics) are working with post-doctoral researcher Thomas Mercier, to tackle this noise correction/lines assignment problem using modern machine learning algorithms. This works by utilising deep neural networks that work directly on sequences of fixations and assign each of them to their most appropriate line of text.

Thanks to the rich and diverse datasets from previous studies carried out at BU, Thomas was able to train such a model to outperform all previously published methods of automatic line assignment. This new model is highly consistent across all datasets, unlike previous models, which makes our model a robust, default choice that will automate this task and enable researchers across psychology and the cognitive sciences to carry out and analyse eye-tracking studies with larger amounts of text without being limited by the bottleneck of manual line assignments or the need to test multiple models.

As a result, Thomas’s work represents an important step forward in advancing our understanding of cognitive processes through improved methodologies for analysing large volumes of text-based eye-tracking data (paper currently under review in the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, a high impact journal).

Thomas will make the current code public and follow up with a publication focusing on usability of the program for non-machine learning researchers. Thomas is currently extending this model, to include diagnosing specific disorders such as dyslexia and schizophrenia.

If you’d like to write a blog post to share your appreciation for our postdoctoral researchers, please contact research@bournemouth.ac.uk. You can also get involved on social media during Postdoc Appreciation Week by using #LovePostdocs and #NPAW2023 on Twitter and Instagram and tagging us @BU_Research or @UK_NPAW.

Conversation article: how to recover from childbirth – an expert guide

Rosie Harper and Malika Felton write for The Conversation about the physical changes that take place during pregnancy and childbirth and share advice on recovery.

How to recover from childbirth – an expert guide

Rosie C Harper, Bournemouth University and Malika Felton, Bournemouth University

After all the physical changes during pregnancy and following childbirth, many women are left wondering how to get active again and where to begin. Of course, activity after childbirth is an individual journey with multiple things to consider – and one of the first considerations may not be what you expect: your pelvic floor.

Your pelvic floor muscles sit at the base of the pelvis. The muscles form a hammock-like structure that supports the bladder, womb and bottom. As many as one in three women experience unwanted bladder leaks or vaginal prolapse in their lifetime and many of these symptoms can start during pregnancy or following childbirth. This is because this small muscle group takes the weight of the baby for nine months and may be stretched during vaginal delivery.

Your pelvic floor supports the bladder and vaginal tissues, helping bladder and bowel control and vaginal position. Recovery of these muscles prevents unwanted leaks, improves internal comfort and allows women to confidently increase activity.


This article is part of Women’s Health Matters, a series about the health and wellbeing of women and girls around the world. From menopause to miscarriage, pleasure to pain the articles in this series will delve into the full spectrum of women’s health issues to provide valuable information, insights and resources for women of all ages.

You may be interested in:

Spain is the egg donation capital of Europe – here’s what it’s like to be a donor

‘Dirty red’: how periods have been stigmatised through history to the modern day

The orgasm gap and why women climax less than men


So focusing on your pelvic floor around pregnancy and postnatally can help you to recover more easily after childbirth and will allow you to get ready to be more active when you feel up to it.

If you’ve just given birth (or are about to) and you’re wondering where to start, here’s what you need to know:

1. Keep your poo soft

Straining on the toilet can overstretch the pelvic floor muscles which makes it harder for them to work properly. To avoid this you can keep your poo soft by drinking lots of water and increasing the fibre in your diet, such as high-fibre cereals, brown pasta and nuts.

Also, consider your position on the toilet. The use of a stool underneath your feet can make it easier to poo without straining as it helps to straighten the end of the bowel.

2. Get your pelvic floor moving

Squeezing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles daily can improve blood flow to the area and speed up recovery following childbirth. This is because pelvic floor activity can improve the strength and function of the muscles to help bladder control and vaginal support.

The evidence shows that it usually takes a good three months of regular pelvic floor use to change symptoms – and every squeeze can make a difference. After a vaginal delivery and even after a c-section, the recovery time for the pelvic floor continues for up to one year.

Woman lying on a bed with baby in the air.
You can do pelvic floor exercises anytime.
pexels monica turlui, CC BY

One of the biggest problems with pelvic floor training is that women aren’t sure they are doing the exercises correctly and regularly forget to do the exercises.

To engage your pelvic floor muscles imagine you are holding in wind and trying to close the vaginal opening at the same time. You may feel a lifting and tightening inside of you. Try to breathe normally and relax other muscles like your tummy and buttocks.

To check you are doing it correctly, you can use a mirror to look at the area between your front and back passage. This area (the perineum) will move slightly up and inwards with a correct contraction. After each contraction, let your pelvic floor muscles fully relax. Pelvic health physiotherapists recommend squeezing your pelvic floor for ten seconds before relaxing for ten repetitions, followed by ten short squeezes. And to do this three times a day.

3. Let things settle and go gently

The pelvis and abdominal muscles also need time to recover from carrying a baby. Many women have a normal stretch and separation of their tummy muscles, which in a lot of cases improves around eight weeks after delivery, for others it can take six months. The tummy helps to support the pelvis so rushing back to activity too quickly can put unnecessary strain on these areas.

Opt instead for a gentle increase in activity to help the muscles and joints settle such as walking, yoga or pilates rather than starting higher impact activity, like running, too early.

4. Check your mental health

The pressures on women postnatally can feel overwhelming and combined with sleep deprivation things can take a toll mentally. The National Perinatal Mental Health Project Report focuses on improving mental health support for women after they have given birth by providing more support services. These services can be accessed by speaking to your GP, midwife, health visitor or pelvic health physiotherapist.

Although a good level of activity can improve mental health, over-training can have a negative effect on the body, so take it steady and keep checking in with yourself to make sure you’re functioning at a pace that feels comfortable and that you’re not overdoing it. Listen to your body and avoid comparison as everybody and every pregnancy is different.

Above all else, remember to be kind to yourself, your body has just gone through a massive change. Looking after your mental health and concentrating on your pelvic floor are good starting points. Getting more active with the muscles around your pelvis, including your tummy, can all help during the natural recovery time frame. But listen to your body and take things at your own pace.The Conversation

Rosie C Harper, Clinical academic PhD candidate, Bournemouth University and Malika Felton, Senior Lecturer in Health and Exercise Physiology, Bournemouth University

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

INRC seminar by Dr Jie Sui, Friday the 8th of September at 14.00 h, Share Lecture Theatre (Fusion).

We want to draw your attention to a seminar organized by the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Research Centre on this Friday, the 8th of September, from 14:00 h to 15:00 h at the Share Lecture Theatre (Fusion Building). There will be a networking event after the talk with coffee and biscuits.

Our guest speaker is Dr. Jie Sui (University of Aberdeen), invited by Dr. Ellen Seiss. Prof Dr Sui is renowned for her studies investigating the unique self, self-representation, and social interactions in VR. Her research combines multiple neural recording modalities, such as EEG and fMRI, with computational modelling.

The title of this exciting talk is: “Understanding the Self: Prospects for Translation”. Please find the abstract below.

We warmly invite you to attend this seminar.

Kind regards,

Ellen and Emili, on behalf of all of us.

Abstract:

“An understanding of the self helps explain not only human thoughts, feelings, and attitudes but also many aspects of everyday behaviours. This talk focuses on a particular perspective on self-processes. This perspective highlights the dynamics of the self that best connects with the development of the self over time and its realist orientation. We are using psychological experiments and data mining to comprehend the stability and flexibility of the self in different populations.

In this talk, I integrate experimental psychology, associative learning theory, computational neuroscience, and machine learning approaches to demonstrate why and how self-association affects cognition and how it is modulated by various social experiences and situational factors.”

INRC seminar by Dr Jie Sui, Friday the 8th of September at 14.00 h, Share Lecture Theatre (Fusion).

We want to draw your attention to a seminar organized by the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Research Centre on Friday, the 8th of September, from 14:00 h to 15:00 h at the Share Lecture Theatre (Fusion Building). There will be a networking event after the talk with coffee and biscuits.

Our guest speaker is Dr. Jie Sui (University of Aberdeen), invited by Dr. Ellen Seiss. Prof Dr Sui is renowned for her studies investigating the unique self, self-representation, and social interactions in VR. Her research combines multiple neural recording modalities, such as EEG and fMRI, with computational modelling.

The title of this exciting talk is: “Understanding the Self: Prospects for Translation”. Please find the abstract below.

We warmly invite you to attend this seminar.

Kind regards,

Ellen and Emili, on behalf of all of us.

Abstract:

“An understanding of the self helps explain not only human thoughts, feelings, and attitudes but also many aspects of everyday behaviours. This talk focuses on a particular perspective on self-processes. This perspective highlights the dynamics of the self that best connects with the development of the self over time and its realist orientation. We are using psychological experiments and data mining to comprehend the stability and flexibility of the self in different populations.

In this talk, I integrate experimental psychology, associative learning theory, computational neuroscience, and machine learning approaches to demonstrate why and how self-association affects cognition and how it is modulated by various social experiences and situational factors.”

Conversation article: Fans are finding out just how disappointing merchandise for women’s football is

Dr Keith Parry co-authors this article for The Conversation about the choice and availability of kits for women’s football fans…

Fans are finding out just how disappointing merchandise for women’s football is

Keith Parry, Bournemouth University; Beth Clarkson, University of Portsmouth, and Katie Sveinson, UMass Amherst

England goalkeeper Mary Earps was named player of the match in England’s victory over Nigeria in the Fifa Women’s World Cup. She has played a key role in England’s recent successes, not just at the World Cup but in previous tournaments. Her performances have made her a hero to her fans.

But Earps’ fans are unable to emulate her by wearing a replica of her goalkeeper shirt: it is not being put up for sale by team kit manufacturer Nike. Earps has said that her goalkeeping shirt not being available to buy is “hurtful”, and a petition by fans calling for the shirt to be produced has reached over 35,000 signatures.

We are currently researching the availability of kits for women’s football fans, together with colleague Jess Richards. The merchandise and clothing available to female fans and male fans of women’s teams is often limited, undesirable or just not available.

Female fans have expressed dissatisfaction with merchandise offered in varying shades of pink. A women’s Manchester United shirt with a low neckline produced in 2015 was criticised for sexualising fans.

Or women may feel obliged to buy a shirt that doesn’t fit them if women’s cuts (shirts made to fit the shape of a female torso) of men’s team shirts are unavailable.

Here, we’ve looked at the kits women can buy on the official online stores for six teams to explore some of these issues.

World Cup clothing

The official online store for England football kits currently highlights the women’s home kit on their home page. Fans can buy a men’s cut – a shirt fitted to the shape of a male torso – of the Lionesses’ shirt, including personalised versions with player names on.

But female fans have fewer items available specifically for them in the store. There are no women’s fit versions of the men’s national team jersey.

The same is true for France – men can buy a men’s fit of the women’s team kit, but there is no women’s fit of the men’s team jersey currently available.

In their official online shop the Republic of Ireland offer women the women’s national team jersey in two different fits. They do also have the women’s national team goalkeeper kit for sale. However, the men’s team shirts are available in both long and short sleeved versions, but the women’s team shirts only come with short sleeves.

The online store for Canada Soccer also features the women’s kit prominently, but the high-end “authentic jersey” is only available for the men’s team, and only in men’s sizes. A women’s fit of the men’s jersey is not available at all.

US soccer fans hoping to emulate women’s team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher are currently only able to buy outfield shirts with her name on it on the official kit website. The only goalkeeper jersey on offer is for the men’s national team and it is only available in a men’s fit. The store has many more items for men than for women, even for products replicating the women’s national team kit.

In 2020 in Australia the away version of the Matildas’ kit, produced by Nike, was not initially available in a women’s cut. Football Australia now has equal availability in terms of the replica jerseys and there are more items for women than for men. But the replica shirts that are currently available for the men’s team are only offered in men’s sizes.

Buying merchandise and especially replica shirts is important to fans. It is a way to show loyalty to a team and helps to develop a sense of identity.

The fan clothing worn by women can affect whether they feel they are considered as “authentic” fans. Sporting culture continues to be dominated by men.

Subtle differences in how women’s sport is treated, such as those we have found here, show that women are still disadvantaged. It is important that fans continue to push for equal opportunities on and off the pitch.The Conversation

Keith Parry, Head Of Department in Department of Sport & Event Management, Bournemouth University; Beth Clarkson, Senior Lecturer in Sports Management, University of Portsmouth, and Katie Sveinson, Assistant professor, UMass Amherst

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

 

Conversation article: How community markets for all could be a sustainable alternative to food banks

Dr Rounaq Nayak writes for The Conversation about his research into the value of community food banks…

How community markets for all could be a sustainable alternative to food banks

Troyan/Shutterstock

Rounaq Nayak, Bournemouth University

The number of people using food banks in the UK has increased from 26,000 in 2008-09 to more than 100 times that in 2023. Nearly one in five British households experienced moderate to severe food insecurity in September 2022.

In the financial year to April 2023, Trussell Trust, the largest (but not the only) network of food banks in the UK, distributed emergency food parcels to nearly three million people.

Food banks provide free, pre-prepared parcels of food to those most in need. They have provided a great deal of support for low-income families, especially during the cost of living crisis.

However, they are not perfect. Food banks offer people little choice, are dependent on unreliable supply chains. Research has also shown that people who use food banks often experience shame and stigma when doing so.

My research, with colleague Heather Hartwell at Bournemouth University, has found a viable alternative. Community markets selling food and household items at subsidised rates to all could be a sustainable solution to the problems with existing food support programmes.

Food banks rely heavily on donations. But rising food prices means even would-be donors are struggling to buy that extra can of beans and other items. Beneficiaries of food banks also told us that parcels were mostly made up of dried, tinned and processed foods.

While it is important that parcels have a long shelf life, people experiencing food poverty want a choice of fresh and frozen food items, including meat. The constraints in the range and quality of food available are also associated with health problems such as diabetes, asthma and obesity.

Food banks also do not empower people who use them to become self-sufficient. Rather, they often result in long-term reliance on food aid. Hence, food banks offer temporary relief from hunger without addressing the bigger issues that lead to food insecurity.

Community markets

Community markets operate differently to food banks. They are open to everyone in the local community, regardless of income level, and provide a range of food choices along with other items such as school uniforms and toiletries.

We interviewed 38 people who regularly used or were involved in the operation of these programmes in the UK. Through these discussions, we assessed how well community markets address the challenges of food security, and found that they are a possible solution to the limitations of food banks and parcel distribution.

Community markets do not solely rely on donations from the public or businesses. They pay a subscription to charity networks such as FareShare, which provide the market with items in bulk, which are sold to the community at a subsidised rate. All revenue from sales is reinvested to pay for future bulk purchases.

People with low incomes who shop at community markets told us they enjoyed having food at affordable food prices and felt a stronger sense of autonomy, and being part of the community. They did not feel their reliance on food support was a barrier to being part of society. As one person said:

I very much prefer being able to choose my food instead of being given parcels. … It just feels dignified to be able to pay for goods, even if it is at subsidised rates, and then being able to choose what I want based on what I would like to eat.

A middle-aged man wearing a face mask and carrying a shopping basket in front of refrigerator cases in a supermarket
People across social classes are struggling with high food prices.
Anna Nahabed/Shutterstock

Food for all

These markets can be used by people from across the community, including those on a higher income. People who were more well-off told us they wanted to shop at the markets because they felt they were giving back, spending their money to be reinvested in the programme:

I thought that people who would come to the market … would be very needy, not only financially but mentally as well but it isn’t like that … I like shopping here because the money I pay is invested back into the community.

Additionally, community markets serve as a hub, offering organised group activities and services for people, such as cooking and gardening classes, yoga and sewing. Through these activities, the community markets are tackling loneliness and other health issues – not just hunger.

Community markets are economically self-sufficient. They use revenue generated from selling products at subsidised rates to subscribe to charitable food surplus redistribution organisations. This financial independence sets them apart from food banks, which often rely on grants. They can also be environmentally sustainable, actively reducing food waste and their carbon footprint by redistributing surplus food to local emergency services and farms.

As more people rely on food aid, it’s important that local councils and national governments support alternatives to food banks. For the family struggling to fill the fridge or the student coping with higher rent, our findings show community markets could be of significant help, while allowing people to maintain their dignity and be part of their community.The Conversation

Rounaq Nayak, Lecturer in Sustainable Agri-Food Systems, Bournemouth University

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

Women’s World Cup Forum hosted by Sport and Physical Activity Centre (SPARC)

Against the backdrop of the Women’s World Cup, the Sport & Physical Activity Centre (SPARC) hosted the Women’s World Cup (WWC) Forum on July 17th.

Featuring presentations from Dr Beth Fielding-Lloyd (Sheffield Hallam University), Anika Leslie-Walker (Nottingham Trent University) and Dr Rafaelle Nicholson (Faculty of Media & Communication, BU), the forum set out to explore the contemporary nature of women’s football and how academic work aligns to the apparent pace of growth. Attendees were invited back the following day and spent a productive day unpacking issues raised at the Forum and explored potential areas for further academic exploration.

One week prior to the event, former England International Karen Carney, authored an Independent Report for DCMS, titled Raising the Bar: Re-Framing the Opportunity in Women’s Football. The report offers a comprehensive review of the growth opportunities for the game at professional and grassroots level, but also highlights the significant challenges facing the game. The report, and indeed the SPARC Forum, invited us to look behind the mask of the landmark event and how narratives of ‘progress’ at such landmark events (attendances, media interest, coverage, taglines: the WWC for example is branded ‘Beyond Greatness’) can present a false picture of progress, highlight myths of women’s empowerment and indeed mask new/existing expressions of power.

In particular, discussion at the Forum focussed on developing a sustainable and inclusive fan base for the game (beyond landmark fixtures, average Women’s Super League (WSL) attendance stands at 2,800), funding and diversity issues within the talent pathway, safe fan experience/spaces (marked by religion, gender and race), gender pay disparities, the lessons of prior mergers and governance structures, and broadcasting rights (the UK’s domestic broadcasters offered just 8% of that which they paid for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar) and media representations (that oft tended to reinforce, as opposed to challenge, dominant gender power relations). Indeed, and even as the Forum was in full-swing, the Australian team (The Matildas) broadcast a video highlighting pay disparities, the England team expressed their disappointment over a lack of agreement over their bonuses, figures from the Carney report suggested that 71% of attendees at WSL games reported their experience was ‘short of expectation’, and highlighted that there exists a significant lack of understanding of minority ethnic fans.

As the women’s game grows and transitions from a Football Association-owned entity to a new independently owned management structure (currently named New Co.) this is indeed an exciting time for women’s football. However, the Forum & workshop reinforced the need to peek behind the shiny spectacle of the World Cup and address some of the challenges that continue to be faced in the development of a sustainable, equitable and inclusive ‘product’. After two long, yet productive, days participants left with a compelling commitment to engage with key stakeholders and undertake a programme of work that aims to address inequalities in the game and influence policy, practice and strategy.

Conversation article: ChatGPT isn’t the death of homework – just an opportunity for schools to do things differently

Professor Andy Phippen writes for The Conversation about how educate can adapt to AI technology…

ChatGPT isn’t the death of homework – just an opportunity for schools to do things differently

Daisy Daisy/Shutterstock

Andy Phippen, Bournemouth University

ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence (AI) platform launched by research company Open AI, can write an essay in response to a short prompt. It can perform mathematical equations – and show its working.

ChatGPT is a generative AI system: an algorithm that can generate new content from existing bodies of documents, images or audio when prompted with a description or question. It’s unsurprising concerns have emerged that young people are using ChatGPT and similar technology as a shortcut when doing their homework.

But banning students from using ChatGPT, or expecting teachers to scour homework for its use, would be shortsighted. Education has adapted to – and embraced – online technology for decades. The approach to generative AI should be no different.

The UK government has launched a consultation on the use of generative AI in education, following the publication of initial guidance on how schools might make best use of this technology.

In general, the advice is progressive and acknowledged the potential benefits of using these tools. It suggests that AI tools may have value in reducing teacher workload when producing teaching resources, marking, and in administrative tasks. But the guidance also states:

Schools and colleges may wish to review homework policies, to consider the approach to homework and other forms of unsupervised study as necessary to account for the availability of generative AI.

While little practical advice is offered on how to do this, the suggestion is that schools and colleges should consider the potential for cheating when students are using these tools.

Nothing new

Past research on student cheating suggested that students’ techniques were sophisticated and that they felt remorseful only if caught. They cheated because it was easy, especially with new online technologies.

But this research wasn’t investigating students’ use of Chat GPT or any kind of generative AI. It was conducted over 20 years ago, part of a body of literature that emerged at the turn of the century around the potential harm newly emerging internet search engines could do to student writing, homework and assessment.

We can look at past research to track the entry of new technologies into the classroom – and to infer the varying concerns about their use. In the 1990s, research explored the impact word processors might have on child literacy. It found that students writing on computers were more collaborative and focused on the task. In the 1970s, there were questions on the effect electronic calculators might have on children’s maths abilities.

In 2023, it would seem ludicrous to state that a child could not use a calculator, word processor or search engine in a homework task or piece of coursework. But the suspicion of new technology remains. It clouds the reality that emerging digital tools can be effective in supporting learning and developing crucial critical thinking and life skills.

Get on board

Punitive approaches and threats of detection make the use of such tools covert. A far more progressive position would be for teachers to embrace these technologies, learn how they work, and make this part of teaching on digital literacy, misinformation and critical thinking. This, in my experience, is what young people want from education on digital technology.

Children in class looking at tablets.
Young people should learn how to use these online tools.
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Children should learn the difference between acknowledging the use of these tools and claiming the work as their own. They should also learn whether – or not – to trust the information provided to them on the internet.

The educational charity SWGfL, of which I am a trustee, has recently launched an AI hub which provides further guidance on how to use these new tools in school settings. The charity also runs Project Evolve, a toolkit containing a large number of teaching resources around managing online information, which will help in these classroom discussions.

I expect to see generative AI tools being merged, eventually, into mainstream learning. Saying “do not use search engines” for an assignment is now ridiculous. The same might be said in the future about prohibitions on using generative AI.

Perhaps the homework that teachers set will be different. But as with search engines, word processors and calculators, schools are not going to be able to ignore their rapid advance. It is far better to embrace and adapt to change, rather than resisting (and failing to stop) it.The Conversation

Andy Phippen, Professor of IT Ethics and Digital Rights, Bournemouth University

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

BU case study included in knowledge exchange repository shared by Knowledge Exchange Concordat

The Knowledge Exchange Concordat (KEC) Advisory and Operational group has produced a repository of resources to support higher education providers improve their knowledge exchange (KE) practices.

The repository has been created in partnership with the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) and features good and innovative practice in knowledge exchange across eight different KE principles, including a set of toolkits and guides available for use by HE institutions.

BU’s IP Policy, Research Intellectual Property Strategy and Evaluation Committee (RIPSEC), and the IP commercialisation management framework are among the case studies being shared. Our approach was chosen specifically as an example of good practice and innovation in the sector.

The repository, which includes a set of knowledge exchange toolkits and guides available for use by higher education institutions, will be launched at the KEC Repository of Good Practice Launch event tomorrow (20th July 2023).

The event will be hosted on Zoom between 10am-11:15am. Lesley Hutchins, Research Commercialisation Manager at BU, will be a guest speaker at the event. You can register for the event on the Knowledge Exchange Concordat website.

Read the BU case study – Research and Intellectual Property (IP) Policy