Category / Fusion themes

PATH Final Conference – November 16th

PATH perinatal mental health final conference

The final conference for the PATH project is in Antwerp on 16th November, 2022.

The cross-border Interreg PATH initiative aims to improve perinatal mental health and includes a wide communications campaign, training for healthcare professionals and new services for families.

PATH involves thirteen partners from France, Belgium the Netherlands and the UK, including Bournemouth University. Leading BU’s project contribution is Professor Wen Tang, from the Faculty of Science and Technology.

For more information about the project and the conference, please contact Zequn Li or Timothy Devlin.

New BU PhD education paper

This week the editor of the journal Journal of Education & Research informed us that our paper ‘Reflections on variations in PhD viva regulations: “And the options are….”’ has been accepted for publication [1].  This paper grew out of a discussion between the six authors about the apparent differences between the outcomes of the PhD viva at different universities.  We have all acted as internal or external examiners for a PhD viva and had noted inconsistencies between universities, either in the regulations or in the interpretation of their PhD regulations.  The authors are based at three different universities, on two different continents and, between them, have examined PhD theses submitted to universities based in at least ten different countries.  Three authors are based in BU’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Pramod Regmi & Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen), two authors are based in the School of Human & Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield (Prof. Padam Simkhada & Dr. Bibha Simkhada and both are Visiting Faculty at BU), and one author is based in the Institute for Global Health in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA (Prof. Krishna C. Poudel).

This paper outlines the range of outcomes of a PhD examination.  It also includes four short case studies, each reflecting on a particular aspect /differences we experienced as examinees or as examiners. The authors aim to alert PhD candidates and examiners to study the examination rules set by the awarding university, as the details of the PhD examination outcome, and hence the options available to both examiners and the students, may differ more than one might expect.  This is the latest CMMPH education publication around aspects of the PhD [2-5].

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, B., Regmi, P., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V., Poudel, K.C. (2022) Reflections on variations in PhD viva regulations: “And the options are….”, Journal of Education and Research (accepted).
  2. Way, S, Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E, Walton, G., Westwood, G. (2016) Dr Know. Midwives 19: 66-7.
  3. Wasti, S.P. Regmi, P.R., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2022) Writing a PhD Proposal, In: Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P.P., Hundely, V. & Shreeh, K. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 176-183.
  4. Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Converting your Master’s or Doctoral Thesis into an Academic Paper for Publication, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 184-189.
  5. Regmi, P., Poobalan, A., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2021) PhD supervision in Public Health, Health Prospect: Journal of Public Health 20(1):1-4. https://www.nepjol.info/index.php/HPROSPECT/article/view/32735/28111

Congratulations to Dr. Orlanda Harvey on her latest paper

This week the journal Performance Enhancement & Health published Orlanda’s latest paper.  This time a Response to a Commentary under the title ‘The case for ‘anabolics’ coaches: selflessness versus self-interest?’ [1].   It is good to see Orlanda making her name in this research field, and the invitation by the journal to write this Response is evidence of this. Dr. Harvey is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences & Social Work.

The authors highlight that in the UK AAS (Anabolics Androgenic Steroid) are classified as Class C substances and supplying AAS, including via online from outside the UK, sharing or giving them away free, is unlawful and can lead to a jail sentence. However,Despite being banned in many sports, the use of AAS per se is not illegal and, therefore, health promoters should offer advice, information and support to users as a pragmatic, although not perfect, solution. Since an ‘informal’ structure already exists, health promotion agencies should consider using ‘anabolics coaches’ in their endeavours. If ‘anabolics coaches’ could bring together the prevention-focused medical profession, a harm-minimisation approach, and those from the users’ subculture to develop a platform whereby they can take an inter-disciplinary approach then an opportunity exists to do a lot of good.

References:

  1. Harvey, O., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) The case for ‘anabolics’ coaches: selflessness versus self-interest? Performance Enhancement & Health, 10(3) August, 100230

Breaking hearts at BU…

Every beat of the heart is finely tuned to eject a certain amount of blood. As we exercise, more blood flows into the heart, the cardiac muscle stretches and this leads to an increased force of contraction. Known as the Frank-Starling law, it is one of the most important aspects of human cardiac physiology but the molecular mechanisms are not entirely understood.

We do know that increases to the calcium levels in the heart cells (cardiomyocytes) support stronger contractions (anyone remember the ‘sliding ratchet model’ from GCSE biology!?) but how this calcium is regulated by stretch is not fully understood. What my colleagues and I have established (to be published in Frontiers of Physiology) is that a ‘mechanosensitive’ protein known as Piezo helps increase calcium when the cardiomyocytes are stretched. A lot of this work was done at BU’s Drosophila (fruit fly) genetics facility in Dorset House, using physiological tests of heart function in flies without the Piezo protein. When stretched, normal hearts respond by releasing more calcium and they continue to beat. In Piezo mutants, there’s no increase in calcium and the hearts often stop beating.

This is an important observation that contributes to our fundamental understanding of cardiac physiology and points to Piezo as a protein of considerable interest when considering the underlying causes of cardiac dysfunction in disease and ageing.

Paul Hartley.

(The image shows the contractile protein ‘scaffold’ within an insect heart)

Prof John Oliver appointed to Horizon & Foresight Scanning Board

Prof John Oliver has been appointed to the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology’s new Advisory Board responsible for Horizon & Foresight Scanning. The new board has been set up in response to an inquiry into the effectiveness and influence of the Select Committee system by the 2017–19 House of Commons Liaison Committee.

The advisory board aims to improve the efficacy of horizon and foresight scanning processes to inform the identification of Areas of Research Interest (ARI). ARIs are lists of policy issues or questions used by Select Committees, parliamentarians and by parliamentary staff to produce more research evidence in certain topics to scrutinize the government and to inform future policy work.

The advisory board will also be responsible for developing ‘futures thinking’ capabilities by developing training opportunities and resources for parliamentarians and staff to enable them to think more long-term and manage the uncertainty in policy-making.

Prof John Oliver commented that “the world is becoming more and more uncertain with Covid-19, Brexit, Russia-Ukraine War and global economic uncertainty. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund’s World Uncertainty Index recently reported that global uncertainty has reached “unprecedented levels” in recent years. This makes horizon and foresight scanning more of a priority for many policy-makers and organisations as it helps them manage the uncertainty around future dynamics”.

This new role builds on Prof Oliver’s previous scenario planning research and work with the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology and the House of Commons.

Pokhara workshop on academic writing 2022

This week from Sunday till Tuesday (21-23 August) Hotel Mount Kailash Resort hosts a three-day writing and publishing workshop for academics and researchers.  The workshop is led by Dr. Shovita Dhakal Adhikari, Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen all three from Bournemouth University in the south of England, Dr. Emma Pitchforth from the University of Exeter in the west of England, and Dr. Rashmee Rajkarnikar from the Central Department of Economics at Tribhuvan University.  Shovita highlighted: “As sociologist and a female researcher I think it is very important to address gender issues in all part of society, including academic writing and publishing.”

This workshop targeting young academics in and around Pokhara and it is funded by The British Academy.  The project builds research capacity of early career researchers researching gender in Nepal-based higher education institutions by improving their chances of getting published in international journals in English.   In Nepal the workshop is further supported by Social Science Baha and Green Tara Nepal.  The workshop centres around the 23 chapters of the textbook ‘Academic Writing and Publishing in Health and Social Sciences’ was published this year by Social Science Baha and Himal Books in Kathmandu. 

IMSET publishes position paper on long-term sustainability

Fabio Silva of the Institute for the Modelling of Socio-Environmental Transitions, together with a group of co-authors from 32 other institutions, has led the publication of a landmark position paper in the journal Sustainability entitled Developing Transdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability Challenges: The Need to Model Socio-Environmental Systems in the Longue Durée.

Stemming from a transdisciplinary workshop held online during 2020, the paper argues that current crises – in land use, biodiversity, novel pathogens, water management – can only be fully understood by doing research over timescales that greatly exceed the lifespan of any individual human. This so-called longue durée is the key to fully understanding the full extent of socio-environmental processes and their implications.

 

The spatial and temporal scales of key social and environmental processes of interest

 

As well as identifying key processes and challenges, IMSET and colleagues set out how key issues may be addressed by fully integrating humans into environmental modelling and planning. By including ancient human activity and future outcomes in our mission statement, we aim to provide a manifesto for developing an integrated approach towards socio-ecological systems in the long term.

Silva, Fabio, Fiona Coward, Kimberley Davies, Sarah Elliott, Emma Jenkins, Adrian C. Newton, Philip Riris, Marc Vander Linden, Jennifer Bates, Elena Cantarello, Daniel A. Contreras, Stefani A. Crabtree, Enrico R. Crema, Mary Edwards, Tatiana Filatova, Ben Fitzhugh, Hannah Fluck, Jacob Freeman, Kees Klein Goldewijk, Marta Krzyzanska, Daniel Lawrence, Helen Mackay, Marco Madella, Shira Yoshi Maezumi, Rob Marchant, Sophie Monsarrat, Kathleen D. Morrison, Ryan Rabett, Patrick Roberts, Mehdi Saqalli, Rick Stafford, Jens-Christian Svenning, Nicki J. Whithouse, and Alice Williams. 2022. “Developing Transdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability Challenges: The Need to Model Socio-Environmental Systems in the Longue Durée Sustainability 14: 10234. DOI: 10.3390/su14161023