Category / Fusion

Fusion Investment Fund: Strengthening the Links of Bournemouth University with China

The University has provided 360 degree of support to encourage staff to participate in various research activities. The Fusion Investment Fund (FIF) is a brilliant opportunity to seed future research development projects and forge collaborations with internal and external partners.  I was inspired to apply the FIF through a number of interesting discussions with Prof. Jian J. Zhang looking at the evidence of the increasing influence from China in both economic and scientific worlds. Links with Chinese institutions will no doubt benefit Bournemouth University through various education and scientific research activities. I also owe my gratitude to the continuous support and encouragement from Dr. Corrina Dickson, Prof. Barry Richard and Prof. Mathew Bennett during the preparation of my FIF application.


The FIF allows me to develop network activities leading to the establishment of a strategic partnership between the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) of Bournemouth University (BU) and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), and to create opportunities in joint research, enterprise and education endeavours. UESTC has been among the top ranked Chinese universities, and has been the best educational base in China for computer science and electronic engineering. It is located in Chengdu, one of the largest cities in Western China. The formation of the strategic partnership will strengthen the link of BU to China and in particular will bring BU’s influence that is currently absent to the western part of China.


I have been in contact with Prof. Zhiguang Qin (UESTC), Dean of School of Information and Software Engineering and Dean of School of Computer Science and Engineering, and the international office of UESTC to discuss possibilities on collaboration at various levels since 2010. Strong interest has been identified on the development of hardware and software algorithms of haptic devices for virtual reality applications, where the research excellence of UESTC in computer science, as a complementary element, matches well with the expertise of the NCCA in virtual reality and computer animation. The collaboration can be further extended to cover other research topics based on the mutual interest of both institutions.

Challenge: Collaborate with fellow researchers across BU…Solution: Join one or more of BU’s Research Themes

The BU Research Themes were launched in December at the first of the BU-wide Fusion events. The Themes are society-led, encourage cross-School working and collaboration, and will be the main vehicle through which BU research is presented externally in future.

We’re now encouraging staff and postgraduate research students to sign up to one or more of the Themes! This is a great way to get involved in the BU research environment and to meet other academics and students from across the University. Many of the themes are now starting to hold meetings to determine how to move the themes forward and this is your chance to get involved.

There are eight BU Research Themes:

  • Creative & Digital Economies
  • Culture & Society
  • Entrepreneurship & Economic Growth
  • Environmental Change & Biodiversity
  • Green Economy & Sustainability
  • Health, Wellbeing & Aging
  • Leisure & Recreation
  • Technology & Design

If you would like to join one or more of the Themes, then complete the form below and I will add you to the list.

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your School / Professional Service (required)

    Staff or PGR student? (required)


    Please select the themes that you are interested in (required)

    My FIF Study Leave Strand Success

    The University has provided an excellent opportunity for staff to engage in Fusion through the University FIF (Fusion Investment Fund) initiative. I found FIF an excellent chance to take advantage for furthering my research, education and professional engagement with my international partners. Over the years I have developed international links in the US, India, China and Pakistan. These international links have played a significant role in my research activities through joint publications, developing research proposal(s) and submitting for external funding.

    I met Professor Ramesh Chinakurli, a professor at PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India in the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) Conference in the US in 2010. Our shared research interests are in the characterisation of aluminium based composites/ electrocomposites, surface engineering, in particular HVOF (high velocity oxy-fuel) coatings and premetallic coated sheets (thrust-automotive industries) and mutual interests in PGT, PGR and U/G students’ research informed education. This provided a catalyst for us to publish 2 conference papers this year, the nomination of Professor Ramesh as BU visiting professor, develop a proposal for external funding (DST-EPSRC) and application to FIF.

    Through the BU FIF initiative Fusion will be showcased as a global entity by strengthening existing cross-continent collaboration in education (introducing an international perspective and pedagogy), research (further research ideas to bid for external funding founded on existing work in nano-tribology) and professional practice (existing BU, PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore and industrial partners links will be further strengthened). This process will significantly benefit BU students, staff, existing industrial partners, myself and the co-Investigator.

    There are two visits planned, a visit to India later in October to conduct joint research in nano-materials for tribological applications and identify further opportunities of collaborations in all areas of Fusion. There will be a visit from an Indian Visiting Professor in November, to participate in teaching activities and research seminars aimed at both staff and students.

    The Fusion application has provided an excellent opportunity to further strengthen international collaboration with our Indian partners and showcase our research, education and professional practice activities, resources and capabilities to them. Also further increase collaborative work in terms of all areas of fusion.

    Finally I would like to thank Professor Jim Roach and Professor Mark Hadfield who provided their continued support and encouragement for this application.

    BU Centre for Face Processing Disorders featured in the Independent

    Bournemouth University’s new Centre for Face Processing Disorders (supported by HEIF and Fusion funds) was recently featured in an article in the Independent newspaper,  together with quotes from BU’s Dr Sarah Bate.

    Sarah’s work to date has explored the cognitive presentation and treatment of face processing deficits in adults and children with a range of neuropsychological conditions, such as developmental or acquired prosopagnosia (face blindness), autistic spectrum disorder, and Moebius syndrome.  The Face Centre was launched in response to the large amount of media attention generated by Sarah’s research.  After Sarah’s work was featured in The Guardian newspaper and in a BBC1 documentary last year, she has been contacted by over 700 people who believe they have prosopagnosia and would like to participate in her research.  Given that most investigations into prosopagnosia to date have examined relatively small numbers of cases, Sarah now has the unique opportunity to develop large-scale academic and societal impact by having the resources to test this large patient group.

    You can read the full article in the Independent here.

    Follow the events in the Centre on their webpage or via Twitter (@BUfacecentre).

    Fusion Investment Fund: Strengthening Service Computing Research in Bournemouth University

    I was inspired to send a proposal to the fusion investment fund on a hint by Prof. Mark Hadfield. I was helping with DEC internationalisation affairs, and in a meeting Mark  mentioned that we would like to have more international visiting professors in DEC. As I have built up an extensive international network,  together with my co-investigator Dr. Paul de Vrieze, we asked a number of distinguished Professors in The Netherlands, Australia and China to apply for visiting professorships. Four full professors with world wide research reputations were willing to accept the offer.

    Their visiting can strongly enhance research culture and postgraduate teaching especially in relation to our newly validated MSc. Enterprise Information Systems and PhD research in the area of service computing, e-government, computational intelligence and ubiquitous computing. 

    As all four visiting professors hold rich research funding and experience, the project allows face-to-face opportunities to collaborate on project proposals, research papers and other research activities that can kick start discussions for collaboration and joined project proposals.

    Based on our new MSc Enterprise Information Systems we have already received inquiries on professional practice. Prof. Keith Phalp, our third co-applicant has been contacted by Welsh Government Chief Information Officer Michael Eaton. We are going to organize public panels or other industrial engagement opportunities by our visiting professors.

    To prepare the application I looked at the call for proposals for the FIF and attended one of the workshops about the fund. At the workshop I explained my ideas to Prof. Matthew Bennett, with the question which Fusion Investment Fund strand to follow. Matthew gave very clear direction that the appropriate strand would be to apply for (inward) study leave from the Fusion Investment Fund. In general, we saw that our proposal has a great opportunity to integrate education, research and professional practice. The project will run from Nov 2012 to May 2013, and we hope it will bring many further opportunities to Bournemouth University.

    Fusion Investment Funding/Fund

    Within the new Fusion Funding prospect here at Bournemouth University, I have just had success for a project examining  teaching practice and the use of media in the classroom.  The specific focus relates bullying, and name calling in school, and how media may be used to educate young learners.  I am very excited about this project, as it extends my foundational research in media representation and sexual diversity, allowing me to consider how teachers might relate issues of minority social identity.  Its very early days, as the project does not officially start until the 1st of October, and to be honest I have never done a blog before, and I (deliberately) have no presence on Facebook, Twitter etc, so the purpose of the blog is to reflect back on my progress for myself, as much as anything else, and if anyone reading this finds some interest, that’s great!

    With this in mind, I thought I might share the background for the project.  A few years back in the late 198os, a secondary school teacher friend of mine often told me of instances when he used to play educational dramas about gay and lesbian youth identity issues.  I remember one time, he told me that he had played the television drama ‘The Two of  Us’ (Roger Tongue, 1988), which features a ‘kind of’ teen romance. This was quite daring, as at the time there was the backdrop of Clause 28, and the prohibition of educating school audiences about gay and lesbian identity.  Wind forward, many years later, and referencing an entirely different country, the work of Debra Chasnoff and her production company Groundspark, offered great insight.  Educational documentaries such as ‘Thats a Family’ (2000), and ‘Straighlaced’ (2009) produced by Groundspark offered insight into the diversity of families (adopted, single parent, same sex parents, diverse ethnicity etc) and the problem of stereotyping gender norms for teens.  Also Groundspark produced ‘Lets Get Real’ talking about issues of name calling in school.  At Bournemouth I had discussed the merits of these documentaries to students in the year 2 Media and Diversity option that I held.  I was inspired how students engaged with the subject area, and how they related these issues to their own productions.

    More recently, specifically September 2010, I was invited to speak at the Westminster Media Forum.  The conference subject area was LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) representation in mainstream media.  I was thrilled to present a very brief paper to quite a diverse audience, including media professionals, broadcasters, and government representatives. My paper had been related to a need for more diverse representations.   The day after the conference, I read in the Guardian about the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a first year student at Rutgers university in the US.  He had killed himself, as his roommate had secretly filmed Tytler with a same sex partner.  The alleged shame appeared too much to bear for Tyler.  This high profile case made me investigate this further online.  I then discovered the ‘It Gets better Project’, a web site that was produced to offer support for youth contemplating suicide, due to oppression for sexual diversity.  What I did not know was that in the month of September 2010, a number of other gay male youth committed suicide also, stimulating video contribution to the ‘It Gets better Project’. I have done some papers on this area, considering the use of the site, but increasingly I am interested in how name calling is a real issue for young learners, and how words such as ‘gay’, ‘dyke’, ‘queer’ and ‘faggot’, are often unchallenged within diverse social environments.

    So this is the very basic background to my research project.  Some great research has already taken place looking at LGBT identity issues in school, such as the No Outsiders Project (funded by the ESRC) a few years back relative to primary schools, but I am looking to extend these ideas, looking at how media is used in the secondary school classroom.

    As a precursor to this project, I recently presented a paper at the Screen Conference in Glasgow, considering how children may read representations.  I was particularly interested in how young learners may read irony, which enables youth to make complex judgments about ‘earnest’ or ‘hyper-real’ representations.

    So this is my starting point. I’ll add to this blog, as it all progresses.  Thanks again, supporters of this bid.

    School of Tourism’s Lorraine Brown on her upcoming Study Leave

    I am very pleased to be able to to share the first blog post for Fusion Investment Fund Projects.

    Our research has shown that posts by our academics sharing their projects are our most widely read posts.  So the coming weeks are set to be packed with stories our successful applicants will share in the lead up to and during their funded projects.  I hope this post will spark your interest in applying for Study Leave and in Dr Brown’s two trips abroad starting in November.    

    Dr Lorraine Brown from the School of Tourism has won funding from the Fusion Investment Fund Study leave strand to do research on literary tourism in both Paris and Berlin, She has been invited to visit the prestigious Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University as a visiting researcher in France’s leading tourism research centre (IREST), where she will based to do her primary research and where she will also network with colleagues in IREST’s interdisciplinary research centre.

    In Berlin, she will be based in the Geography Department of the world-leading Humboldt University. A qualitative approach will be undertaken, involving observation and interviews over a six-week period at key literary tourist sites in Berlin, one of the top three literary tourism destinations in the world. In line with the Fusion agenda, findings will be published in top tourism journals; they will be disseminated to practitioners; and will inform the syllabus of one of the MSc units that the proposer leads.

    At both Universities, Lorraine will explore opportunities for ongoing research collaboration.

    If you would like further information on the fund please do get in touch by email with me.

    Best wishes,


    An update to all applicants to the Fusion Investment Fund!

    We received 65 proposals across the three strands which was very encouraging and with the workshops we ran in June being well attended, I am pleased there has been a lot of interest in this new initiative. 

    I received 39 applications for Co-Creation and Co-Production Strand (budget £400k), 7 for Study Leave Strand (budget £750k) and 19 for Staff Mobility & Networking Strand (budget £200k).  The committees meet this week to decide which proposals get funding and Matthew Bennett will be in touch to relay these decisions to all our applicants.  Applicants will know the outcome by 30th July.

    If you were not successful in this round, I hope you won’t be discouraged from applying again to the fund in December, which is when we will open again applications.  There is an opportunity to receive face to face feedback from a member of the panels, this is helpful in shaping future applications and our committee members are keen to help you secure funding in December.

    For any other queries about the fund, contact me Sam Furr.

    Fusion Investment Fund Applications Closed

    Thank you for all your applications to the Fusion Investment Fund!  

    The committees are meeting in July to decide which proposals will receive funding and Prof. Matthew Bennett will be in touch to relay these decisions to all of our applicants.

    I will be posting to the Research Blog details about the proposals that do secure funding.  If you do not manage to get funded in this round there will be a further opportunity to apply to the fund again in December when we will open to proposals again.  I do hope that you will apply again particularly if this is the first time you have applied for funding. 

    If you wish to develop your skills then we have a Grants Academy that can help.  The Academy recruits members to develop their potential for securing funds internal and external, you should be able to find all the information you need here.  The Academy is managed by Caroline o Kane who will also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Finally thank you for your interest in the Fund!

    Sam Furr

    Fusion Investment Fund – It is almost time to submit applications

    Good morning!

    This week I have received enquiries from colleagues trying to locate the Fusion Investment Fund application form.

    The FIF application form is available here, please remember to submit your applications by 2:00pm on Sunday 1st July.

    I would also like to clarify that the only costings which should be on the forms are salaries and research costs – not any overheads, as this is a BU-funded scheme.

    For clarification please see the Fusion Investment Fund FAQs V4. 

    Best of luck!

    Sam Furr

    Fusion Investment Fund – It is almost time to submit applications – 1st July Deadline!

    Criteria for the Fusion Investment Fund have now been compiled

    Good Morning! The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity; Friday saw the last Fusion Investment Fund Telephone surgery, with the opportunity for applicants to review their drafts with Matthew before they submit proposals.

    I also published the FAQs for the Fusion Investment Fund on Tuesday and do hope you have had the opportunity to review these.  The Criteria by which committee groups will judge the applications is included so it is an essential read if you plan to apply to the fund.  Click the link to see the FAQs FIF V3.

    The final thing for me to say is I really look forward to receiving your applications and want to remind you that the deadline is the 1st July (This Sunday) we will not be extending the deadline.

    Best of Luck!


    To apply to the fund please your application forms to

    Fusion Investment Fund Update – FAQ’s released

    Just a quick update on the Fusion Investment Fund.  The application deadline is fast approaching and I am aware of lots of activity.  Last week the selection committee for each of the three funding strands met for the first time and discussed the selection criteria they would use in making their assessments. 

    There was a range of different views but all three committees decided to adopt a very similar approach based on five criteria which would be scored one to four and supplemented with textural comments. 

    These assessment criteria are included within a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs FIF V3), based on questions that I have been asked in the last couple of weeks.  I would encourage you to read these carefully since there are some key hints in fine tuning your applications.

    The budget allowances for each funding stream have changed too following the committee’s first meetings; The committee for ‘Staff Mobility and Networking’ confirmed awards from £1,000 and up to £10,000 will now be made.  The committee for the Co-Creation and Co-Production strand confirmed awards from £5,000 and up to £75,000 will now be made. 

    The SL Committee recognises that in some cases it may need to make grants larger than £15k in order to support some periods of study leave.  Applicants requesting larger sums should make this clear on the application form and in the case of support.

    During the last few weeks we have run a series of surgeries and workshops to help staff in preparing their applications. There is still opportunity to gain further support:

    1. On Friday the 22 June I will be running a bid surgery between 11.00 and 13.00 in P403, details and the booking form are available on the Staff Portal.  Just bring your draft proposal or idea along and I will see what we can do to help.
    2. On Monday 25 June I will be running a telephone workshop between 10.00 and 11.30 simply drop an email to with your extension number or the number you will be on during that period and I will give you an individual call at some point during the session.  It is your chance to ask an individual or specific question.

     If you have any other queries don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly and I wish you all good luck with your applications.


    Matthew Bennett

    Digital Economy finds NEMODE

    Academics from multi-disciplinary backgrounds recently attended a two day Digital Economy Network+ event at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the event was to continue the process of building a network of people interested researching New Economic Models for the Digital Economy.

    The focus of the event was to share the diverse perspectives on new economic models for the digital economy and to develop and shape the research agenda on two key themes;

    • What are economic models and how do different communities define them?
    • Does an economic model differ from a business model?

    Both days consisted of a number of brainstorm and discussion activities that opened with each academic presenting their views on the ‘big questions’ in relation to their own subject domain, which in my case is Media Management. It was certainly interesting to look at the same research questions from very different perspectives, and it this has helped inform my thinking for the Advances in Media Management (AiMM) research group that I lead and our forthcoming symposium on New Economic Models.

    Further network events are planned, but for those BU academics researching within our own  Creative & Digital Economy Theme – the funding headlines are;

    • The EPSRC are managing the New Economic Models sub-theme of the Digital Economy
    • The network will now be known as NEMODE
    • NEMODE have £980k to support network activities including funding 10 small (£50k) feasibility/scoping studies. A call for the first two projects will be made in October this year.
    • Successful feasibility studies can be scaled up via direct applications to the RCUK Digital Economy.
    • Funding Applications that involve practitioners will be looked upon more favourably – which sits nicely with BU’s Fusion Strategy!


    If you are reading this the chances are that you have followed the new link on the blog and are expecting ‘news from the PVC’.  About a month ago I rashly promised to contribute a weekly column to the blog to let you know what was in my mind, what is new at BU or in prospect that has not yet made its way onto the blog.  The problem this morning is that the new link went live last night and I thought I had better write something but my brain is somewhat befuddled after a long week, it is also early on Friday morning and I am counting the minutes until the coffee shop opens and I get coffee to kick start my day!

    Much of this week has been taken up with the first panel meetings for three strands of the Fusion Investment Fund.  We have been discussing how to process and assess the applications which are due on the 1 July and I will be posting the agreed assessment criteria along with some FAQ’s on the staff portal and blog first thing on Monday.  I have run a number of surgeries and briefing session over the last two weeks and plan to run at least two more events before the deadline.  The ideas and innovation emerging are fantastic and most of the applications seem to be heading toward the Co-Production/Creation Strand, with Mobility & Networking close behind and Study Leave attracting less interest.  My only observation is that many of the schemes being put forward to the Co-Production/Creation Strand could be re-shaped as Study Leave or a Mobility grants.  I do believe that the Study Leave Strand is really powerful, but also understand that people don’t necessarily want to be away from home, although as someone pointed out this week there are lots of HEI’s and Businesses in the UK that are in commuting distance of Bournemouth; you don’t have to go over-seas to take study leave!  I would also like to remind people that it will also fund inward mobility; that is the costs of bringing someone to Bournemouth for a period of time.  I will try to capture some of this in the FAQ’s which are emerging from the sessions that I have run, but I also would be happy to talk to anyone directly who wants to talk through an idea.  My calendar is a bit of a nightmare so a meeting might not be possible but if you drop me an email with your number and some time slots when you are free I will try to call you between meetings next week.

    So it is now five to eight and the coffee shop beckons!  Have a nice weekend.

    Fusion Investment Fund Applications – Three weeks to go!

    I would like to remind you of the deadline for applications to the Fusion Investment Fund, which is the 1st July. 

    Last Fusion Investment Fund Workshops – Places are still available!

    Many of your colleagues have attended these workshop sessions in the last two weeks, bringing along draft proposals to show Matthew Bennett and his team of academics.  I attended the surgery session on Thursday 7th June, meeting colleagues taking the opportunity to attend and ask for specific advice and pointers from Matthew on how to make their applications stand out from the crowd. 

    Please be aware we re-scheduled the Study Leave Workshop – This is now taking place on Wednesday 13th June

    Study Leave Workshop:

    Wednesday 13th June 2012, 09:00-10:00 – PG146, Thomas Hardy Suite (TC).

    This workshop will provide academics preparing proposals for study leave funding with the opportunity to discuss issues around study leave, the contractual/HR side of the arrangements, and the benefits of undertaking study leave. The workshop will be lead by Matthew Bennett with support from HR and a couple of BU academics with experience of taking study leave as part of their careers. Max of 30 attendees.

    The Last Fusion Investment Fund surgery:

    Friday 22th June 2012, 12:00-14:00 – P403, Poole House (TC)

    These surgeries will provide academics preparing proposals for one of the FIF strands with the opportunity to bring their ideas and drafts to discuss with Matthew Bennett and a team of Professors and to test out what makes a good, fundable proposal with a competitive edge. Max of 30 attendees per session.

    • Booking onto a session is easy, simply click the link to be taken to Staff Development bookings page.


    Applying to the fund.

     To apply to the fund please see the information here on our intranet pages.

     If you have any queries about the fund please email

    Best of luck!


    Fusion Investment Fund Applications – Four Weeks to go!

    I hope you enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend.  With the help of our surgeries you might also be toasting a successful application to the FIF.

    We still have another four weeks to get applications in, let me remind you of our exciting series of workshop and surgeries booking now:

    Strengthening your FIF Proposal:

    Thursday 7th June 2012, 09:30-13:30 – EB202, EBC (LC)

    Thursday 7th June 2012, 12:30-16:30 – EB202, EBC (LC)

    This session will be lead by John Wakeford from the Missenden Centre and will provide academics who have drafted their FIF proposals with the opportunity to have their proposals reviewed by John Wakeford and to identify areas that could be strengthened. Max of 12 attendees per session. Lunch included from 12:30 to 13:30.

    Fusion Investment Fund surgeries:

    Thursday 7th June 2012, 12:00-14:00 – PG146, Thomas Hardy Suite (TC)

    Friday 22th June 2012, 12:00-14:00 – P403, Poole House (TC)

    These surgeries will provide academics preparing proposals for one of the FIF strands with the opportunity to bring their ideas and drafts to discuss with Matthew Bennett and a team of Professors and to test out what makes a good, fundable proposal with a competitive edge. Max of 30 attendees per session.

    The Perfect FIF Proposal:

    Friday 8th June 2012, 13:30-16:00 – MG01, Melbury House (LC)

    This session will be led by Matthew Bennett and will focus on writing the perfect proposal for the Fusion Investment Fund strands. Max of 30 attendees per session.

    •  Booking onto a session is easy, simply click the link to be taken to Staff Development bookings page.


    Applying to the fund:

    To apply to the fund please see the information here on our intranet pages.

    The email to submit to the fund and if you have any queries is



    Sam Furr