Category / Fusion themes

Migration & health research in Middle East & Malaysia

Yesterday the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health published the final version of Dr. Pratik Adhikary’s paper ‘Workplace Accidents Among Nepali Male Workers in the Middle East and Malaysia: A Qualitative Study’ [1].  This is the fourth paper originating from Pratik’s Ph.D. research conducted in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, the first three papers appeared in the period 2011-2018 [2-4].

The paper highlights that many Nepali men work in the Middle East and Malaysia and media reports and anecdotal evidence suggests they are at a high risk of workplace-related accidents and injuries for male Nepali workers.   Pratik’s Ph.D. study used face-to-face interviews to explore the personal experiences of twenty male Nepali migrants of unintentional injuries at their place of work.  His study found that almost half of study participants experienced work-related accident abroad. The Participants suggested that the reasons behind this are not only health and safety at work but also poor communication, taking risks by workers themselves, and perceived work pressure. Some participants experienced serious incidents causing life-long disability, extreme and harrowing accounts of injury but received no support from their employer or host countries.

The paper concludes that Nepali migrant workers are at a high risk of occupational injuries owing to a number of interrelated factors poor health and safety at work, pressure of work, risk taking practices, language barriers, and their general work environment. Both the Government of Nepal and host countries need to be better policing   existing policies; introduce better legislation where necessary; ensure universal health (insurance) coverage for labour migrants; and improve preventive measures to minimize the number and severity of accidents and injuries among migrant workers.

 

References:

  1. Adhikary P, van Teijlingen E., Keen S. (2019) Workplace accidents among Nepali male workers in the Middle East and Malaysia: A qualitative study, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 21(5): 1115–1122. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10903-018-0801-y
  2. Adhikary P., Keen S., van Teijlingen E (2011) Health Issues among Nepalese migrant workers in Middle East. Health Science Journal 5: 169-75. www.hsj.gr/volume5/issue3/532.pdf
  3. Adhikary, P, Sheppard, Z., Keen, S., van Teijlingen, E. (2017) Risky work: accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar & Saudi Arabia, Health Prospect 16(2): 3-10.
  4. Adhikary P, Sheppard, Z., Keen S., van Teijlingen E. (2018) Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad, International Journal of Migration, Health & Social Care 14(1): 96-105.  https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-12-2015-0052

 

The importance of preservation and sustainability of digital data in the arts

The AHRC research project, ArtoP: The Visual Articulations of Politics in Nigeria sets out to collect and archive visual material that is produced by artists, animators, filmmakers, photographers in Nigeria around and following the elections in February 2019. As part of the project outputs, the research will culminate in a digital archive that will serve two purposes i) to preserve this collection over a period of 10 years and ii) to disseminate parts of the collection with a wider public through a web-based platform. These outputs present a number of challenges that highlight the importance of planning for digital archiving and ensuring its sustainability given the rapidity with which digital traces are created, disseminated and in turn disappear (Ernst, 2013). This post forms part of a longer paper in development that seeks to focus upon changes in archival practice in the arts, especially where contexts of contemporary image making practices tend to be based in the digital and circulate in virtual spaces. Additionally, the variances in technological landscapes across different geographies also present separate sets of challenges that a researcher may face – who has access to this data; which voices are included and excluded; how does one curate for fair access?  

Collecting Digital Images

In 2018, the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston) ran an exhibition on ‘Art in the Age of the Internet’, that examined how ‘the internet has radically changed the field of art, especially in its production, distribution, and reception’ (Respini, 2018). This exhibition is connected to a wider ongoing discourse within the arts on digital media (Gere, 2004, 2006) and the impact this is having upon museums and galleries. Therefore it is not surprising to see that in recent years there has been a growing recognition of the urgent need to actively collect and preserve digital art and digital graphics – material which is inherently ephemeral.  Archives have been tempted to wait until a top down collections management system is developed. This has resulted in gaps in collections.There is a consensus emerging that researchers and archivists urgently need to take a DIY, active approach to collecting digital content as near to the time of its publication as possible. Unlike physical collections, there is less chance of acquiring large collections of digital content at a later date, long after the material was created. This is because material on digital platforms are fleeting, with people entrusting storage of their digital creations to third-party proprietorial platforms whose commitment to the long term preservation of material is uncertain:     

“Digital works increasingly operate within a culture that replaces ownership with access. The idea that anything is accessible anytime online changes the motivation to collect and archive within the personal sphere. Personal cultural material is now embedded in proprietary software and third party platforms where responsibility for its longevity in a fast changing technological environment is ambiguous. Certainly, the ability to capture the online object within the context which makes it meaningful recedes as time passes […] digital collecting is best approached as a process of rapid response.” (CCDP 2018) 

One only needs to think of the demise of Myspace, a once-popular social media platform and a medium for sharing artwork and music, which recently lost all content uploaded by users before 2016, to recognise how transient and vulnerable our individual and collective digital heritage is. (Hern  2019)

Capturing Context and Circulation

Another challenge in collecting and archiving digital images and artworks is capturing the contexts and the patterns of circulation which make the images meaningful. Simply saving a digital graphic as an individual image file severs the image from its context. One challenge has been in capturing the interactive web environments in which digital graphics are published, republished and commented upon by users of Web 2.0. The sharing and modification of images online by a variety of actors is increasingly rapid and dynamic. For example, people can change the meaning of an image by reposting it on social media with a different caption, presenting new opportunities for engaged political citizenship and satire (Agbo 2018). This, along with the growing availability of digital editing tools, which are often embedded within the interface of social media platforms themselves, also allow users to easily edit the visual content of images, leaving them ripe for subversion and parody. Social media users quickly respond to each other in a humorous, conversational form, in ways which reframe images, reference earlier posts and trade ‘in-jokes’. In such exchanges users demonstrate their visual literacy and quick textual wit (Dike 2018). As both the content and context of digital images is endlessly mutating, it doesn’t make sense to archive once instance of an image, or even to think in terms of individual images. A recent report by the Collecting and Curating Digital Posters (CCDP) project recommends thinking in terms of “graphic events” rather than discrete images in order to reflect the ongoing social practices in which images are referenced, negotiated and transformed.  We should capture many iterations of the same image, the way in which they have migrated, the online environments in which they are encountered, and the ways audiences have interacted and commented on the images. The CCDP project recommends using the open-source tool Web-Recorder, in which collectors ‘record’ a web session, allowing them to capture their experience of browsing a website, trace the circulation of images online and record the ways in which it was possible to interact with digital graphics within native software and social media environments. These ‘sessions’ can be saved and played back by future users of the archive using the open source Web Recorder Player.  

There are problems in capturing such phenomenon in retrospect.  The rapidly changing appearance and technological environment of social media platforms introduces temporal distortion when searching social media platforms for, say, memes produced in response to a particular political controversy in 2014. We need to capture such phenomena as soon as possible. This requires us to be active and embedded users of the web in order to spot emerging visual trends as they occur.      

‘The archival infrastructure in the case of the Internet is only ever temporary, in response to its permanent dynamic rewriting. Ultimate knowledge (the old encyclopedia model) gives way to the principle of permanent rewriting or addition. ‘ (Ernst, 2013:85)

Storage and Access: Open Source Solutions.

‘Our obsession with memory functions as a reaction formation against the accelerating technical processes that our transforming our Lebenswelt (lifeworld) in quite distinct ways. [Memory] represents the attempt to slow down information processing, to resist the dissolution of time in the synchronicity of the archive, to recover a mode of contemplation outside the universe of simulation, and fast-speed information and cable networks, to claim some anchoring space in a world of puzzling and often threatening heterogeneity, non-synchronicity, and information overload’. (Husseyn, 1994)

Any discussion of a digital archive necessitates an active engagement with technological apparatus in order to consider the relationship between a technological environment and the production of (and obsession with) memory (Husseyn 1994). Storage and preservation are key aspects to any discussion on digital archiving, and as digital technologies accelerate their pace of change, paradoxically, so must a digital archive respond to this by mitigating against it. 

Storage and preservation

A question we faced in designing the ArtoP project was which software we should use for digital preservation and storage. Digital preservation can be difficult as the file formats we may take for granted now can become obsolescent in future – the software which opens them can disappear, rendering the contents of a file irretrievable. We therefore wanted to ensure that material was packaged in stable file formats, adhered to widely agreed-upon archival standards, and was stored securely. We identified Archivematica as the ideal software for our purposes. 

Archivematica is an open source, web-based digital preservation system that is used by a variety of institutions. The fact that the software is open access and free to install and operate actually ensures greater longevity. Proprietary software, tied to the variable fortunes of individual companies, are more liable to disappear than open source projects, which enjoy the support of an active community of users and developers. 

Archivematica is not a single piece of software but rather an ecosystem containing a number of tools, components and specifications which run the ‘microservices’ necessary to preserve digital content. For example, one of the microservices performed by Archivematica is called ‘normalisation’. During normalisation the files you upload are converted into preservation-friendly formats, using an active list of stable and accessible file formats compiled and updated by the UK National Archives. This provides some insurance against the rapid cycles of change and obsolescence which characterise the life of file formats. 

Archivematica’s core functions are as follows: 

  • User submits data to Archivematica in the form of Submission Information Packages (SIPs)
  • From the SIPs, Archivematica creates Archival Information Packages (AIPs) for the long term preservation of data.
  • Archivematica stores (and backs up) AIPs
  • Archivematica creates Dissemination Information Packages (DIPs) to export content to populate an archival access system, such as Access to Memory (AtoM), Archive Space, Figleaf etc.

Ensuring Access

As mentioned earlier, another priority of the project was to make a selected range of images from the archive available for public consumption through a public archive hosted on a web-based platform. Increasingly users of archives wish to be able to actively interact with collections and desire wider access (Fossati 2009), challenges which digital access and display offers potential solutions to.  For this process we are opting for the web-based access platform Access to Memory (AtoM).  

Like Archivematica, AtoM is open source – it is free to use, free to share and free to develop. All documentation is freely available online. This is complemented by a supportive community of users, who communicate and solve problems using a google mailing list, as well as by congregating in person at the UK User Group’s meetings, which are attended by a number of archivists and librarians from prestigious UK universities.

AtoM supports the use of a choice of widely agreed-upon archival standards for describing archival objects. This enables digital images to be presented along with explanatory context, or metadata, crucial to its understanding. Using archival descriptive standards also means there is the potential for us to link the material to larger aggregators of archival holdings, and material on our access page could be discovered by people using archival search portals such as Archives Hub.

Crucially, AtoM is also integrated into Archivematica – the two systems were developed by the same company and are configured to ‘speak’ to one another.  Archivematica produces Dissemination Information Packages (DIPs) that can populate AtoM with images, video and metadata. 

We also liked how AtoM can be customised according to the diverse needs of different organisations and audiences. We aim to hold workshops in Lagos to ask for feedback from Nigerians as to how they think material should be described and presented to the public, and we will attempt to customise our AtoM page accordingly. Rather than projecting our own assumptions on the material by presenting it in certain ways, we are eager to have this determined by local knowledge and needs, as well as local technological landscapes (see below). Moreover, Atom features multi-lingual support, with the potential to add translations, making the material relevant to different audiences. Our aspiration is for the public side of the archive to be a resource for Nigerian citizens, artists and researchers. 

We are inspired by the wide range of institutions that have used and customised AtoM in creative and innovative ways to present visual context, ranging from the Glasgow School of Arts to The Chinese Canadian Artefacts Project. We are currently exploring and brainstorming ways of customising AtoM. 

Local technological landscapes 

One of the considerations we need to bear in mind when customising our web-based access system is the local technological landscapes used by our primary audience: Nigerians. Digital technology has been harnessed by Nigerian artists and citizens to make political critiques, and has afforded Nigerians with new strategic opportunities to produce and circulate indigenous knowledge within global flows of information. Many Nigerians primarily access the internet using smartphones. Thus we need to consider designing our web-based access system in ways which are suitable for mobile browsers.  Additionally, to align with the UN Sustainability Development Goals, we are keen to ensure that access to this archive for educational purposes is designed for Nigerian users and their specific technological landscape, in order for it to have the greatest impact in Nigeria (and other African countries). Therefore, we also need to ensure that our website is accessible to users whose bandwidth may be limited and for whom mobile data is a significant expense. This might involve customising file normalisation in Archivematica in order to produce lower resolution image and video files for access purposes, which will load much quicker for users with slower internet connections or limited data. 

We are still in a development phase and will be researching the local technological landscape in Nigeria further, as well as soliciting advice from Nigerians as to the form our access system should take. 

In the meantime we wanted to take this opportunity to share our experiences, and hope to forge new relations with academics that may also be considering approaches to digital archiving. We hope to see our research extending to considering a range of formats and elements that may contribute to the generation of digital still or moving images and that sit within a more complex pipelines such as those in CGI for example, and the implications of this to archival practices.

Therefore, any feedback from readers of this blogpost is of course welcome – please contact 

PI Dr. Paula Callus – pcallus@bournemouth.ac.uk

CoI Dr. Charles Gore – cg2@soas.ac.uk

RA Dr. Malcolm Corrigall – mcorrigall@bournemouth.ac.uk

Bibliography

Agbo, George Emeka, (2018).  “The Struggle Complex: Facebook, Visual Critique and the tussle for Political Power in Nigeria” Cariers D’étude Africaines 230, pp.469-89.

CCDP, (2018). Collecting and Curating Digital Posters Handbook, https://ccdgp.co.uk/index.html.  

Dike, Deborah N. (2018), “Countering Political Narratives through Nairaland Meme Pictures” Cahiers D’étude Africaines 230: pp.493–512

Ernst, W. (2013), Digital Memory and the Archive, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Gere, C. (2006), Art, Time and Technology, Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Fossati, G. (2009), From Grain to Pixel, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Hern, A. (2019) “Myspace loses all content uploaded before 2016”, The Guardian, March 18.  https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/18/myspace-loses-all-content-uploaded-before-2016 

Haskins, E. (2007), ‘Between Archive and Participation: Public Memory in a Digital Age’, in Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol.37, pp. 401-422.

Huyssen A. (1994), Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia, London p.253.

 

Assistive Technology Symposium 2019

Dr Huseyin Dogan and Dr Paul Whittington from the BU Human Computing Interaction Research Group, hosted the second Assistive Technology Symposium at Talbot Campus in support of the BU2025 Strategic Investment Area of Assistive Technology. The Symposium was a fusion of research domains, including digital health, education technologies and user experience.

The Symposium was opened by a keynote presentation by Steve Tyler, Assistive Technology Director at Leonard Cheshire, who discussed the current developments in Assistive Technologies and the potential challenges. Steve also described the Leonard Cheshire projects, including MySense, a Predictive Health Analytics system that non-intrusively monitors to provide a holistic view of the person.

Other presentations during the day included the current BU research projects of SmartAbility and FACETS, as well as by the BU Additional Learning Support department, who discussed learning strategies through metacognition. We also welcomed speakers from the Dorset Integrated Care System, London Grid for Learning and Diversity and Ability. The Symposium was concluded by a panel discussion with the speakers, to discuss the developments and challenges of assistive technology.

The Symposium delegates have expressed positive feedback from the event, including “a number of very useful and insightful presentations”, “the Symposium was beneficial because it was an opportunity to meet like-minded people” and “good to know what is going on at BU”.

BUHCI would like to thank all of the speakers and delegates for a successful Assistive Technology Symposium and we will host the third Symposium in 2020.

The presentations from the Symposium can be downloaded here.

BMC blog on latest HSS paper

Dr. Rachel Arnold’s recent paper in BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth was highlighted in a blog promoted by the publisher.  The paper ‘Villains or victims? An ethnography of Afghan maternity staff and the challenge of high quality respectful care‘ reports on the everyday lives of maternal healthcare providers working in a tertiary maternity hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan (1). BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth is an Open Access journal so the paper is available free of charge to anybody in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) with an internet connection.  The aim was to understand the staff’s notions of care, their varying levels of commitment to providing care for women in childbirth, and the obstacles and dilemmas that affected standards, and thereby gain insight into their contributions to respectful maternity care, whether as ‘villains’ or as ‘victims.’

Dr. Arnold is Postdoctoral Midwifery Researcher in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).  This is the third paper from Rachel’s excellent PhD project, the previous two papers appeared in BJOG and Social Science & Medicine (2-3).

Click here for BMC Blog post:

Villains or victims? The role of maternity staff in decreasing or enhancing respectful care

Reference:

  1. Arnold, R., van Teijlingen, E., Ryan, K., Holloway, I. (2019) Villains or victims? An ethnography of Afghan maternity staff and the challenge of high quality respectful care, BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 19 :307 https://rdcu.be/bPqlj
  2. Arnold R., van Teijlingen E, Ryan K., Holloway I. (2015) Understanding Afghan health care providers: Qualitative study of culture of care in Kabul maternity hospital, BJOG 122: 260-267.
  3. Arnold, R., van Teijlingen, E., Ryan, K., Holloway, I. (2018) Parallel worlds: an ethnography of care in an Afghan maternity hospital, Social Science & Medicine 126:33-40.

 

New paper published: Rihova, I., Moital, M., Buhalis, D. and Gouthro, M. (2019), “Practice-based segmentation: taxonomy of Customer to Customer (C2C) co-creation practice segments”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management,  https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-01-2018-0096

New paper published: Rihova, I., Moital, M., Buhalis, D. and Gouthro, M. (2019), “Practice-based segmentation: taxonomy of Customer to Customer (C2C) co-creation practice segments“, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management,  https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-01-2018-0096

Abstract

This paper aims to explore and evaluate practice-based segmentation as an alternative conceptual segmentation perspective that acknowledges the active role of consumers as value co-creators. Data comprising various aspects of customer-to-customer (C2C) co-creation practices of festival visitors were collected across five UK-based festivals, using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with naturally occurring social units (individuals, couples and groups). Data were analysed using a qualitative thematic analysis procedure within QSR NVivo 10. Private, sociable, tribal and communing practice segments are identified and profiled, using the interplay of specific subject- and situation-specific practice elements to highlight the “minimum” conditions for each C2C co-creation practice.

C2C

Unlike traditional segments, practice segment membership is shown to be fluid and overlapping, with fragmented consumers moving across different practice segments throughout their festival experience according to what makes most sense at a given time. Although practice-based segmentation is studied in the relatively limited context of C2C co-creation practices at festivals, the paper illustrates how this approach could be operationalised in the initial qualitative stages of segmentation research. By identifying how the interplay of subject- and situation-specific practice elements affects performance of practices, managers can facilitate relevant practice-based segments, leading to more sustainable business. The paper contributes to segmentation literature by empirically demonstrating the feasibility of practice-based segments and by evaluating the use of practice-based segmentation on a strategic, procedural and operational level. Possible methodological solutions for future research are offered.

 C2C

BU medical science in top immunology journal, ‘Immunity’.

 

Colleagues at Cornell University and I have used the fruit fly, Drosophila to tease apart the relationship between immunity and the gut microbiome. The work (which took six years to complete) is to be published in Immunity (impact factor 20 for the ‘metricists’ out there) and has major significance because it starts to explain how the human immune response ‘tolerates’ the billions of ‘good’ bacteria in our body.

Many animals carry billions of bacteria in their intestines which are critical for the digestion of ingested foods. This poses a problem for immune cells because signs of the bacteria regularly end up outside the gut and in circulation. Normally, bacterial signals would elicit a powerful immune system but it would be bad news if the gut microbiome was targeted for destruction by immune cells. How this cordial relationship is maintained is therefore of major interest to immunologists and medical science because it has implications for how we understand inflammatory diseases.

We show for the first time that cells called nephrocytes remove bacterial signals (proteoglycans that make bacterial cell walls) from circulation and that this dampens immune responses. Disruption of this removal system causes immune cells to be over-active – a state not unlike chronic inflammation.

I’m duty bound as a basic scientist to make the point that this work also impacts our understanding of insect ecology. Having an over-active immune system shortened the lifespan of Drosophila – an effect likely to be seen in ecologically and medically important species such as honeybees and mosquitoes. How immune responses are affected by the environment in these species is also a very hot topic of research – one that can also be modeled in Drosophila.

Best wishes,

Paul Hartley (Dept of Life and Environmental Sciences)

HE policy update for the w/e 23rd August 2019

A quieter week for HE policy, however, there’s news on the KEF and lots of other relevant content.

STEM for Britain

As a member of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee BU’s early career researchers and PhD and post-doc researchers all have the opportunity for exposure of their work through the annual poster competition. Posters are being accepted for the following areas:

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physics

Prizes will be awarded for the posters presented in each discipline which best communicate high level science, engineering or mathematics to a lay audience.

Please share this information with ECR, PhD and PDR colleagues and those who work directly with them. This is a rare opportunity to showcase work within parliament at this level. All the shortlisted posters will be shared during a parliamentary reception in March 2020 and there will be the opportunity to talk about the research directly with policy makers.

The poster competition is open now please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator, for more details and to enter.

www.stemforbritain.org.uk

Mental Health

The House of Commons library has a briefing paper setting out data on the prevalence of mental health conditions in higher education students in England and outlines the action higher education providers, the government and the Office for Students are taking to help students with mental health issues. It also flags up how students can get support.

From the briefing:

  • Student mental health has been the subject of a number of reports as students are increasingly declaring mental conditions and reporting issues with stress and poor mental wellbeing. It has been suggested that student mental health is in ‘crisis’.
  • The proportion of students who disclosed a mental health condition to their university has increased rapidly in recent years.
  • Surveys of students have found much higher rates of mental ill health than those disclosed to universities. A recent survey found that 21.5% had a current mental health diagnosis and 33.9% had experienced a serious psychological issue for which they felt they needed professional help. Survey responses are confidential and are likely to give a better idea of the full extent of mental ill health.
  • Many factors have been suggested as contributing to the rise in cases of mental ill health among higher education students – work pressures, moving away from home, financial worries, or more generally higher education institutions are said to be feeling the impact of the rise in metal health conditions among the 16-25 age population.
  • The effect of mental health issues on students can be serious and can lead to consequences such as: academic failure, dropping out of education, poorer career prospects and in the worst cases suicide.
  • Concern has been expressed about the availability of support for students with mental health conditions and the response of universities and higher education institutions.
  • In 2017 Universities UK, published Stepchange Mental health in higher education. Stepchange provides a framework to help higher education providers embed good mental health across all university activities.

Placement Premium

A Chartered Management Institute commissioned survey finds 3 in 4 parents believe that qualifications that combine with work experience and study are the best way to prepare young people for the workplace.

With record numbers of young people going through university clearing, the survey also shows that:

  • Parents rate degree programmes that combine work and study over traditional university degrees.
  • Nearly two thirds of parents (64%) favoured a degree apprenticeship with a major company like Rolls-Royce over a degree at Oxford or Cambridge (36%).
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) rated a degree that combines full-time work with study over a traditional 3 year university degree based on lectures and seminars alone (27%).
  • 71% of parents also wanted all graduates to have the opportunity to develop management, enterprise and leadership skills.

Rob Wall, Head of Policy at CMI said: “Innovations like degree apprenticeships – which bring together work and study, and allow apprentices to apply their learning in the workplace – are hugely attractive to employers. Our survey shows that they are now increasingly popular with parents, with the vast majority rating a degree apprenticeship with a FTSE 100 corporate over a traditional 3 year degree at a top university. Our message to all those young people receiving their GCSE results this week is that, whatever your results and whatever path you take next, developing those employability skills like self-management and leadership will always give you an edge in a competitive jobs market.”

 FE Funding Push

The Association of Colleges are capitalising on the recent announcement that there will be an accelerated spending round by the end of September. They have issued a paper to the Treasury and the DfE making recommendations for tertiary education. In headline their proposals cover the full remit of college work and request a one-off cash injection of £1,114m in revenue and £240m in capital. The paper capitalises on the Augar Review which discussed the lower funding rates and investment in FE education. It covers the items you would expect such as a higher funding rate for all FE provision, better pay and status for FE teachers. It also suggests a ten year funding plan for education. A larger adult education budget to support retraining, improve skills and develop lifelong learning (at a one-year cost of £250 million).

Of relevance to HE are the apprenticeship funding reforms they suggest (at a one year cost of £200m).

  • Increase funding for non-levy employers and for young people. The non-levy budget should increase by £200 million and all 16-to18 year olds should be funded through the education budget to guarantee their training opportunities.
  • The increase in degree apprenticeship numbers is a concern because these involve high costs and because it appears that obligations previously covered by tuition fees have been shifted onto the apprenticeship budget. It would seem more appropriate for apprenticeships at level 6 and above to be funded from the higher education teaching budget, regulated by the Office for Students and operated with the same rules on equivalent and lower qualifications as loan-supported programmes.

They also suggest a development fund for higher technical education (one year cost of £40m).

  • For students, it would be simple to offer the same tuition fee cap, student finance rules and teaching grant funding as offered for degree-level study. For colleges there needs to be a modest fund to support set-up costs which precede the relevant income because enrolments take time to build.

On regulating to protect students and employers while maximising impact:

  • Colleges spend a growing and disproportionate share of their budgets on administration and compliance and account for themselves to two different parts of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), to the Office for Student (OfS), to Ofsted, to local enterprise partnerships and combined authorities, to the Home Office, to lenders, pension funds and any other funding organisation. Some complexity is unavoidable but there is a case for the DfE group to consider whether there are ways to focus regulation more clearly on activities that benefit students and employers, to cut compliance costs and to place simpler duties on college governing bodies to account for the public investment they receive.

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges, said:  After making great efficiencies over the last decade, there is a strong consensus now that colleges need major investment to put them in a position to be able to thrive and from that position to be able to maximise the impact they can have. The UK’s industrial strategy identifies skills as an issue across a range of priority sectors and the need for action to avoid shortages. Without thriving colleges, this priority will not be met.

  • Total expenditure on 16-19 education fell by 17.5% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2016-17, while the funding allocated to 16-19 education fell by 13% in real terms between 2013-14 and 2017-18.
  • The funding rate for students aged 16 and 17 in education in 2018-19 has been frozen at £4,000 since 2013-14, while the funding rate for students who are already aged 18 has been frozen at £3,300 since it was cut by 17.5 % in 2014.
  • The government is currently consulting on ambitions to build a “new generation” of higher technical qualifications at levels 4 and 5 for T-level students to progress onto. The introduction date of 2022 has been set to fit with the first cohort of T-level students, who will start their two-year level 3 qualification in 2020.

Labour’s Education Policies

Recent news has detailed Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to amalgamate enough support that should the autumn vote of no confidence succeed he may be able to form a temporary caretaker Government. Labour are hoping for an early General Election and Wonkhe have covered all their recent Education related announcements into one blog.

KEF

Research England have published the outcomes of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) consultation and pilot exercise. Final decisions on the KEF will follow later in 2019.

  • 72% of responses agreed the KEF should be an annual, institutional-level, metrics driven exercise.
  • The respondents commented on the balance between running a low burden exercise at the expense of losing valuable detail.
  • Significant themes within the report were noted as:
    • The (mostly) output metrics do not necessarily capture the quality of knowledge exchange activity
    • Varied responses on how often the KEF should take place, although the report notes the majority favoured an annual exercise.

Below follow the main points picked out of the KEF report narrative

Clusters The KEF clusters institutions together, BU is in cluster E.

  • “The conceptual framework underpinning the analysis and the variables and methods employed were broadly well received, with the majority of respondents somewhat agreeing or agreeing with these aspects, and the resulting composition of the clusters. There was less consensus on whether the clusters would help fulfil the stated aims of the KEF (Q6.4), and the purpose of allowing fair comparison. Although a majority agreed to some extent, there was a higher level of ‘disagree’ responses than for Q6.1-6.3.”
  • “In regard to the overall approach to clustering (Q6.4) it is worth noting that the majority of negative responses were ‘somewhat disagree’. This is borne out by the associated commentary, with the most common response (105 respondents) welcoming the clustering approach, with only 10 respondents making critical comments on the overall concept. Respondents indicating an overall ‘slightly disagree’ or ‘disagree’ tended to be for very specific reasons. For example, while broadly welcoming the concept of clustering they disagreed with the range of variables used. Other more negative responses were driven by consideration of whether clustering helped the KEF meet its aims (and how businesses and other users might use or interpret them), with more agreement on their positive role in enabling fair comparison between HEIs.”

“There were a substantial number of points in the commentary focussing on the descriptions and presentation of the clusters:

  • There were a significant number of comments relating to the cluster descriptions – e.g. describing a cluster as having HEIs with ‘limited world leading research’ could be seen as negative in itself, and that it may be better to frame cluster descriptions on what the institution does do, rather than what it doesn’t.
  • Multiple requests to provide a brief introduction into what the clustering is for, how the descriptors work and how the cluster names (which are random letters) were assigned. It was noted that this was particularly important for external audiences.
  • Approximately 15% of responses suggested clusters may be confusing for businesses and other users or they suggested that there should be flexibility for users to be able to group institutions in different ways that were more relevant to them.
  • There was some concern that whatever the intent, the clusters will be seen as a hierarchy in their own right (10%).
  • That there is still too much variation within clusters (although we would argue that the KEF proposals include further steps to normalise for size, and the scaling of metrics mitigates this).
  • That specialist institutions are difficult to place in clusters, but most respondents making this point stated that this approach was still preferable to not using clustering or a comparable method to aid fair comparison.”

“There were also multiple comments and suggestions on the variables used to create the clusters, including on the role of professional services staff not being represented, concerns that variables were too heavily skewed towards research activities, and that 3* (as well as 4*) REF outputs should be used.

 “Overall, there was no clear consensus from the responses received on a course of action that would satisfy all and no appropriate alternative models were proposed that would meet the requirements of providing a means of fair comparison. Given that the concept of clustering was well received for those in the main clusters, it is unlikely the fundamental approach to this aspect of the KEF proposals will change….

Perspectives and metrics

“For the proposed perspectives and associated metrics, we asked for feedback on both the overall range and balance, and also views on the metrics proposed under each perspective.

  • A majority agreed that a sufficiently broad range of KE activity was captured (72%), although a sizeable minority of 26% disagreed to some extent”
  • The range of perspectives were welcome with around 40% of responses agreeing that they broadly captured a sufficient variety of KE activity. However, around 15% of responses felt that the individual metrics within the perspectives were too narrow to adequately capture the full range of KE activities undertaken by HEIs.”

“The majority of recommendations for KE activities that could be considered for inclusion in the KEF fell into four key areas:

  • Contribution to public policy
  • International partnerships
  • Partnerships with SMEs
  • HEI-HEI collaboration

Other common themes expressed in the commentary related to:

  • The timing of the HE-BCI review and the subsequent impact on the KEF. …
  • How the quality and sustainability of partnerships with business can be captured e.g. regular student placements, repeat business, voice of the customer.”

On working with business:

“A significant number of responses considered there was a disconnect between the broad nature of the perspective title ‘Working with business’ and the proposed income metrics. The metrics were considered by over a quarter of respondees to be very narrow, and not reflective of the full breadth of knowledge exchange activities undertaken in HEIs. In particular 15% of respondees felt that income from use of specialist facilities and equipment should be included as a useful indicator of interactions with business.”

“The nature of the metrics as income measures brought feedback across a number of points:

  • Some argued that income is not an appropriate proxy for impact and does not well reflect the quality of the interactions. A number of alternative metric areas were suggested such as repeat business, length of relationships or nature or number of strategic partnerships.
  • The opportunities for undertaking consultancy and contract research and the income value of that activity will be impacted by the local economic context, particularly for some types of interactions e.g. with SMEs.
  • Across all disciplines, but especially in the public and third sectors, it was considered that a significant proportion of knowledge exchange activity is not monetised and so not well reflected in the metrics.
  • The role of students is seen as significant by about 10% of respondents, either through the close relationships developed with businesses through degree apprenticeships or placement work, or directly by supervised services delivered as part of their course or extra curricula activity.

About a fifth of respondees provided feedback on the use of ‘academic FTE’ as the denominator for two of the metrics. While 4% expressed support for the use of academic FTE to account for the size of the institution, 10% considered it to be misleading to restrict it to academic staff when a signification proportion of knowledge exchange activity is undertaken by professional services staff or students. Some 5% requested a clearer definition of who is included in ‘academic FTE’ and 2% felt that it would be more relevant to restrict it to research active academic staff.”

On local growth and regeneration:

“We recognise that this metric on its own does not sufficiently capture the breadth of activity in this area and therefore have proposed the use of additional narrative. The feedback from respondents verified this view, with over a quarter expressing support for the use of narrative. The primary areas of concern expressed for the proposed metric were:

  • The metric was considered by over 20% of respondees as unhelpfully focused on income, it was felt that this is a less effective proxy for impact within local growth and regeneration.
  • Around 14% of respondees noted that the metric was very narrow as a standalone metric and needed to be part of a wider basket of metrics. A further 5% of respondees felt that the metric was too poor to be used at all and suggested that the perspective should be ‘greyed out’ until additional metrics could be identified. It was considered that the forthcoming HESA review of the HE-BCI survey may be an opportunity to find additional metrics. …
  • Inconsistency of returns to the HE-BCI survey were believed to impact this metric in particular, ….
  • A small number of respondees felt the use of academic FTE as a denominator was inappropriate, with a wide variety of reasons cited.

A number of alternative or additional metric areas were suggested by respondees:

  • The investment that individual institutions make to their local areas, either through the local supply chain, direct regeneration investment in cash or in kind was viewed by over 10% of respondees as a helpful addition.
  • While 9% suggested that activity and income related to local industrial strategies and related government funding such as city deals, regional growth funds or local growth funds should be included.

A small proportion of respondees (4%) also looked to create links to the strategies and action plans being developed by institutions who have signed up to the Civic University Commission’s Civic University Agreements.”

On IP and commercialisation:

“A wide range of comments concerned timeframes around these metrics including:

  • The concentrated nature of income-generating commercialisation activity within relatively few institutions and its ‘lumpy’ nature (i.e. that volumes vary significantly year-to-year) means the metrics in this perspective may not be relevant to some institutions, and that it would be hard for external audiences to draw conclusions from them (18% of respondees).
  • Whether the proposed three year time series and normalisation by research income was appropriate for measuring spin-out performance, given the long time-lags involved. Would a longer time series of 10+ years be more appropriate?
  • The time lags between research being undertaken and spin-out creation was seen as particularly problematic for the metric of ‘research resource per spin-out’. Several respondees also expressed concern that given the relative ease of creating a spinout that this metric may create a perverse incentive to incorporate spin-out companies too early, or where a more appropriate exploitation route existed.

This question also elicited specific suggestions for new metrics based on other areas of the HE-BCI collection:

  • In addition to licensing income, nearly 10% of respondees argued that the numbers of licenses granted (whether or not they generate income) may also give a useful indication of performance. Numbers of free licenses could (subject to a rigorous treatment that differentiated end-user licenses from other forms) indicate active exploitation of IP (the licensee having gone to the effort to enter a formal agreement) where impact rather than income generation was the primary driver.
  • Other common suggestions focused on proportions of patents or licenses generating income (indicating active exploitation), rates of disclosures, or ratios of disclosures to patents and IP income (indicating effective translation of disclosures).
  • There was also a group of suggestions for metrics which focused less on income and more on capturing results from enterprise structures and IP exploitation strategies that do not focus on income generation, such as social enterprises, open innovation strategies or open source products and software.”

On public and community engagement

‘Public and community engagement’ received the lowest average score when participants were asked to rate their percentage agreement…while the inclusion of the perspective in the KEF was broadly welcomed, there was also a clear message that the metric did not adequately capture the range of activities undertaken by HEIs in this area.

  • Around 17% of respondees suggested that the current metric of time per FTE was not adequate to capture performance or quality of the events recorded, with an additional 12% of respondees suggesting that this risked the role of professional services staff being overlooked.
  • The consistency of reporting in Table 5 of the HE-BCI return (Social, community and cultural engagement: designated public events) was a concern for 15% of respondees, highlighting the need for clearer guidance on how this information should be recorded across the sector.
  • The inclusion of narrative was welcome, but 10% of respondees raised the concern that it was not assessed and would therefore not be viewed as of equal value to metric element of the perspective.

Additional metrics that were suggested included:

  • The number of times that university assets are opened up to the community in some way
  • HEI investment in brokerage
  • Public involvement in research
  • Metrics collected by public relations and marketing departments e.g. the number of academics/professional staff blogging on external sites, social media interactions, media appearances by academics, or coverage of research
  • Number of performances or events and the associated number of attendees.”

Use of Narratives:

The NCCPE concluded that there is strong rationale for adopting and adapting the approach to narrative within the KEF. Whilst the proposed template delivers some effective prompts that elicited useful information, there was considerable variety in the level of specificity and supporting evidence provided in the pilot drafts.

The NCCPE have provided specific recommendations to Research England on how the templates and use of narrative could be improved to draw out more relevant and consistent information. Alongside the consultation responses these recommendations are informing the development of the KEF.

Respondees showed an exceptionally strong preference for the provision of an overarching institutional statement being provided by the HEI with 89% agreeing to some extent (and almost half strongly agreeing). 101. This was echoed through the written responses which expressed the broad view that an overarching narrative would be beneficial and that it should be provided by the institutions themselves. There was also a strong articulation that the local economic context needs to be considered to place knowledge exchange activities in context, and that it may be appropriate for Research England to provide this data in a standardised format

A number of respondees felt that an overarching statement could also be a useful tool to demonstrate an institution’s overall strategic goals in relation the perspectives. This may help mitigate any perceptions of relative ‘poor’ performance in areas that were not of strategic importance to a particular HEI. However, it was recognised that this would be difficult to achieve through the visualisation. Other voices expressed concern that the statements could become marketing tools with little added value.

And finally: We note the concerns expressed in both the consultation and pilot regarding timing of implementation and potential overlaps with the REF and TEF. We will pay regard to this when agreeing implementation timescales.

You can read the report in detail here.

Widening Participation and Access

  • National Care Leavers Week will be held on 24-31 October 2019.
  • Estranged Students Solidarity Week is 25-29 November 2019
  • Former Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced plans for a new body, the Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI), to monitor government efforts to tackle “deep-seated societal injustice”.

Inquiries and Consultations

Click here to view the updated consultation tracker. Email us on policy@bournemouth.ac.uk if you’d like to contribute to any of the current consultations.

New consultations and inquiries this week: Lords inquiry in Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living

Other news

Arts rise: The DfE published information on GCSE entries on results day. It highlights that entries to arts subjects have risen by 3.2% to 320,000. The DfE see this as positive new because previously the EBacc was criticised as squeezing these subjects out of the curriculum because of the opportunity to select them was less than other curriculum models. The news sits alongside a 3.7% rise in entries to EBacc subjects and an increase in foreign language entries (particularly Spanish and French). For more detail, including the key stats for other subjects click here.

T levels: The House of Commons Library have one of their helpful briefing papers on T Levels: Reforms to Technical Education which provides an overview of the proposals to reform the technical education system.

Student Debt Sanctions: the CMA have taken action causing the University of Liverpool to change their student debt penalty policy. They will no longer issue academic sanctions – such as the as the removal of library or email access – for students who have debts which are unrelated to their fees. Susan Lapworth, Director for Competition and Registration, at the Office for Students, said: “We welcome today’s announcement that, following CMA action, the University of Liverpool has formally committed to drop academic sanctions for students with debts, for example for accommodation costs, that are not related to their tuition fees. The fair treatment of students is important to us as a regulator. All universities and other higher education providers should be mindful of today’s CMA announcement and ensure that their debt collection policies comply with consumer law. Our own regulatory framework sets out the need for universities to demonstrate they are complying with consumer protection law, and we will continue to support the important work of the CMA on these issues.”

AI job displacement scheme: On Tuesday new Education Minister, Kemi Badenoch, announced an extension in the roll out of a pilot programme aiming to help adults whose jobs may change due to new technologies – such as automation and AI – to retrain and get on the path to a new career. The Get Help to Retrain digital service will now be rolled out to the West Midlands and the North East following success in Liverpool City during the summer.

Student Grants: The Student Loan Company are raising awareness of their practitioners’ page. They are also sharing information on their grants –  Childcare Grant; the Adult Dependants’ Grant; and the Parents’ Learning Allowance – to ensure those eligible apply for the funds.

Market Signalling: HEPI have a new blog exploring the marketisation of HE alongside the Augar Review and institutional autonomy.

Unconditional Admissions: The most effective and fairest admissions system continues to be debated this week. A provocative Wonkhe article makes the barest nod to grades asking what if all university offers were unconditional? The comments at the end are well worth a read too as sector colleagues suggest other alternatives and admissions tweaks, primarily moving away from the overreliance on A level grades. And The Guardian have an article which suggests social class is a barrier to good A level/exam performance.

PQA: Post qualification admissions. Mary Curnock Cook, ex-CEO of UCAS, explains the factors that made her turn from determined to implement post qualification admissions to remaining with the current system.

OfS Student Tool: The OfS have a new online tool for prospective students which launches in September: Discovering Uni: planning your HE journey.

NEETS: Office for National Statistics published the quarterly stats on 16-24 year olds who are classified as NEET (not in education, employment or training).

  • There were 792,000 young people in the UK who were NEET; this number increased by 28,000 from January to March 2019 and was up 14,000 when compared with April to June 2018.
  • The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 11.5%; the proportion was up 0.4 percentage points from January to March 2019 and up 0.3 percentage points from April to June 2018.
  • Of all young people in the UK who were NEET, 41.6% were looking for, and available for, work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.

The report details examples of specialist projects (Medway, Southwark, Blackpool) which have effectively decreased the NEET population.

Schools Funding: One of Boris’ campaigning objectives was his pledge to increase the minimum per pupil funding level for English schools – this House of Commons Insight Guide has an interactive mechanism which checks which schools within a constituency area will see an increase against the £4k (primary) and £5k (secondary) proposed thresholds.

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JANE FORSTER                                            |                       SARAH CARTER

Policy Advisor                                                                     Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Follow: @PolicyBU on Twitter                   |                       policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

 

Emerald Literati Highly Commended award for BU paper

Former PhD student, Dr Andy Harding, now at Lancaster University, and BU Professors Jonathan Parker, Sarah Head and Ann Hemingway have been highly commended for their paper Supply-side review of the UK specialist housing market and why it is failing older people published in Housing, Care and Support.

As a result, this paper has been made available on OpenAccess on the Emerald website for the next six months.

Promoting Nursing CPD in Nepal

Bournemouth University facilitated a Strategic planning meeting to develop a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework for Nepal last week in Kathmandu. The planning meeting was held on 30th July 2019 at the Institute of Medicine IOM Maharajgunj Nursing Campus.  Midwifery is not formally recognised in Nepal, i.e. as a profession separate from nursing, therefore when refer to nursing CPD in this blog we mean both ‘nurses’ and ‘nurse-midwives’.

Bournemouth University is collaborating in this project with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in the UK, the IOM Nursing Campus, the Nursing Association of Nepal (NAN), MIDSON, the Nepal Nursing Council (NNC) and several other key stakeholders in Nepal to support nursing regulatory bodies to establish mandatory CPD and/or post-registration training programmes relevant to their current practice in nursing. 

The Bournemouth team (led by Dr. Bibha Simkhada with Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr.Pramod Regmi) argued that CPD offers nurses the opportunity to maintain, improve and broaden knowledge, expertise and develop their personal and professional qualities to enhance practice and career development. Nepal has had limited process and progress in ensuring CPD for nurses and the uptake of post-registration education and training  programmes or CPD tends to be ad hoc.  Generally, CPD in Nepal remains under-developed as showing evidence of having received CPD is not currently a requirement of nurses when they re-register every five year.

This project is a good example of a BU FUSION project as our earlier Research in the form of a needs assessment will to the introduction of CPD which is of course, post-registration Education in nursing, helping to improve Practice in a low-income country.  We think we have had at least some impact on nursing in Nepal as the general feeling of our strategic planning meeting positive towards introducing CPD in the near future in Nepal.

 

 

BU PhD student Peter Wolfensberger has article accepted in Brit J Mental Health Nursing

Congratulations to FHSS PhD student Peter Wolfensberger whose article ‘Uncertainty in illness among people living with mental ill health – a mental health nursing perspective’ was accepted yesterday by the British Journal of Mental Health Nursing [1].   The paper introduces the concept of ‘uncertainty in illness’, which is a well-known concept in health care literature  and a considerable volume of research has investigated how people adapt to different health conditions and how the concept of uncertainty in illness relates to those populations. However, while there is substantial literature focusing on coping strategies and personal recovery, there is a paucity of research about uncertainty in illness among people living with mental ill health. 

This paper therefore, explores uncertainty in illness among mental health nurses and to provide an understanding of its relevance to people living with mental ill health.  The paper concludes that even though mental health nursing does not directly address uncertainty, the concept and its implications need to be considered and raised further among mental health professionals in order to improve support for people living with mental ill health in their process of personal recovery.

This paper originated from Peter’s PhD research on insights into mental health nursing in Switzerland, which has had input from Prof Fran Biley (before he passed away) and Dr. Zoe Sheppard (before she moved to her new job in Dorchester).  His current BU supervisors are: Dr. Sarah Thomas and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and his Swiss supervisor is Prof. Sabine Hahn (Berner Fachhochschule/ Bern University of Applied Sciences).

 

Reference:

  1. Wolfensberger P. Thomas, S., Sheppard, Z., Hahn, S, van Teijlingen, E.  ‘Uncertainty in illness among people living with mental ill health – a mental health nursing perspective’  British Journal of Mental Health Nursing (Accepted)

 

 

 

 

Congratulations on academic paper by BU PhD student Orlanda Harvey

Congratulations to Orlanda Harvey, PhD student in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences on her PhD publication “Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Scoping Review into what they want and what they access” in the Open Access journal BMC Public Health [1].  Since there is a paucity of research on support for people using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS), this article searched and synthesised the available evidence in this field. Gaining an understanding of the support both accessed and wanted by recreational AAS users will be of use to professionals who provide services to intravenous substance users and also to those working in the fields of public health and social care, with the aim to increase engagement of those using AAS.

This systematic scoping review identified 23 papers and one report for review, which indicated that AAS users access a range of sources of information on: how to inject, substance effectiveness, dosages and side effects, suggesting this is the type of information users want. AAS users sought support from a range of sources including medical professionals, needle and syringe programmes, friends, dealers, and via the internet, suggesting that, different sources were used dependent on the information or support sought.

The authors argue that AAS users tended to prefer peer advice and support over that of professionals , and access information online/specialist fora, reflecting the stigma that is experienced by AAS  users. These tendencies can act as barriers to accessing services provided by professionals.  The paper concludes that support needs to be specific and targeted towards AAS users. Sensitivity to their perceptions of their drug-use and the associated stigma of being classified in the same sub-set as other illicit drug users is relevant to facilitating successful engagement.

 

Reference: 

  1. Harvey, O., Keen, S., Parrish, M., van Teijlingen, E. (2019) Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Literature Review into what they want and what they access. BMS Public Health 19: 1024      https://rdcu.be/bMFon