Category / News from the PVC


Most of us know someone touched by dementia – a friend, relative or loved one.  As the average age of our population grows ever older, the chances are some of us will be affected.

As such dementia is emerging as a new strategic priority for BU, with investment from our HEIF funds to create the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute, or BUDI as the team like to call it.  The team is growing rapidly working on a range of funded dementia projects with more in the pipeline. Working with the Director of BUDI Anthea Innes, Lee-Ann Fenge, Sue Barker, Vanessa Healsip, Michele Board have recently completed a review of Higher Education Dementia Curriculums on behalf of the Higher Education Dementia Network.  Work that reflects Anthea’s previous experience leading masters and undergraduate programmes in Dementia Studies and the dementia focus of social work and nursing colleagues within the School of Health and Social Care.  A number of research and knowledge exchange projects are underway including:

  • An ongoing programme of work funded by Bournemouth Borough Council involves the BUDI team delivering a range of activities via two different programmes; a ‘cupcake club’ and a technology group.  The evaluation report isn’t due until February 2013 so a lot is happening over the autumn months.
  • A BU Research Development Grant enabled an early collaboration between the Schools of Tourism and Health and Social Care.  This project led by Anthea Innes (HSC) and Stephen Page (Tourism) is currently being written up for publication and dissemination.  It is the first study to conceptualise ‘Dementia Friendly Tourism’ as an area worth investigation to try and improve the leisure opportunities for those with dementia and their families; but the project will also produce recommendations to  help advise tourism and leisure providers to enhance their provision to promote inclusion of those with dementia.
  • An international study GRIID (Gateway Rural International Initiatives in Dementia), involving partners from Australia, Canada, India, Sweden and the UK is also in the writing up stages following a policy synthesis and survey of Alzheimer Disease International ( members.
  • European work is on-going too, focused on Malta where Anthea has long established links working on improving the quality of care offered in Maltese hospital wards
  • A multi-site NIHR project has just commenced exploring site loss and dementia for people who continue to live at home.  This is a collaboration between the Universities of York, BU, Cambridge, Worcester and consumer organisations; the Housing and Dementia Research Consortium (HDRC); Pocklington Trust supported by the Alzheimer Society and the Macular Disease Society

But this is just the start with money being committed by many of large funding agencies this is a societal theme of the moment.  BU is part of a large FP7 grant application currently first reserve for funding, and BU is coordinating a multimillion ESRC grant application with 12 other institution due for submission this autumn.  Working locally is also very much on the agenda.  Staff in BUDI are working for example in partnership with commissioners and clinicians across Dorset to secure funding via the NHS South of England Dementia Challenge fund with BU as the evaluator for a number of innovative local projects proposed by those delivering dementia care every day.

BUDI launched 16 May 2012 just three months ago and the progress is impressive, but there is also a long way to go to achieve its objectives of making a real contribution to improving the lives of those with dementia and those who provide support whether they be family or paid clinicians and carers.  This is not just an initiative launched from HSC but a cross BU one and I am delighted to announce the secondment of Samuel Nyman (Psychology, DEC) to BUDI to strengthen its work force and continue his existing collaboration with Anthea which includes a match funded BU PhD Studentship with Anthea Innes and Marilyn Cash which is looking at the role of gaming technology to support older men with dementia in rural areas.  BUDI is looking for staff who wish to engage from across BU and is truly multidisciplinary in its approach and reach.  There may be other who are interested in similar secondments and I would encourage them to get in touch with Anthea.  DEC and Tourism are already involved with BUDI contributing staff and time but there is huge scope for others to get involved for example in the Media School.  Why not drop Anthea a line and get in touch?

Also starting in September is Patricia McParland as BUDI Project Manager or Engagement Consultant, a post-doc appointment is pending, PhD student Ben Hicks will start soon and we will be advertising for an Associate Director for BUDI soon.  BUDI has the full support of UET and is receiving strategic investment to make things happen quickly; dementia is of the moment as illustrated by the Prime Minister Dementia Challenge launched earlier this year and it’s for BU to cease this moment.  BUDI offers the opportunity to have a real impact, to make a difference in our society, to develop practice and research and to do it quickly.  Please get involved and get in touch with Anthea or myself directly.


Displacement, Orwell & Academic Prose

Displacement is a wonderful thing!  I have millions of pressing emails, a paper to revise and several strategy documents to perfect but I have had the pleasure this evening of hunting my book shelves for a lost book, well four in fact.  The books in question are penguin editions of the George Orwell’s Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters.  I found the first three quickly, but the fourth was elusive lost behind a double stack of paperbacks ranging from a Quiet Flame, Solo, Trinity Six, Death Zone, Outliers, Frozen in Time amongst many others, which gives just a hint of the lack of order on my shelves and the eclectic nature of my reading habits.  Most of my shelves are double, or in some cases triple, stacked with book cases in the living room, bedrooms, on the landing and in my office in the roof!  So why the fuss about Orwell’s collected essays?  Well my mother – a former English teacher, turned academic – set me reading Orwell’s journalism (which is far better than his more famous novels in my humble opinion) in my late teens as a model of good written style.  With titles like Boy’s Weeklies, The Decline of the English Murder, Death of an Elephant, Good Bad Books and What is Science who could resist?  The piece I was actually looking for was Politics and the English Language in which Orwell spells out his rules for good prose, basically five simple rules to good style.  Sadly, and to my amazement, you can find these rules on the Internet now; in fact on the British Council web site as guidance for foreign students wanting to write good English!

I have always consciously, and now largely unconsciously, followed these rules when I can and they are pasted at the end for those who are interested.  Any way I was put in mind of these rules last week while on leave and reading a book entitled Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword published by Harvard University Press.  The book is a classy piece of work on writing good academic prose and is based on an exhaustive survey of over a thousand academic papers across ten disciplines and amusingly a survey of leading academic style guides and self-help books.  This thought provoking book provides useful information for social scientists, scientist, lawyers and psychologists; in fact all flavours of researcher.  The central thesis is about choice; the choice of academics in the matter of style, to challenge the stifling prose of academic convention!  Off course this is going to appeal to me and is elegantly summed up by ‘choice is the stylish writer’s best weapon against the numbing forces of conformity and inertia’ (p. 30).  I think you get the idea that I quite like this book and I would recommend it to both seasoned and novice academic writers, but in truth Orwell’s rules will always reign supreme with me!

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word-out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

George Orwell, Politics & the English Language, p169 Collected Essays, Journalism & Letters Volume 4, Penguin 1970

Open Data?

Following on from the recent posts on Open Access Publishing I wanted to pick up on something else that appeared recently in a similar vein, specifically the call by the Royal Society for Open Access Datasets in their report Science as an Open Enterprise: Open Data for Open Science.  The report argues that open inquiry is at the heart of research and that ‘publication of scientific theories – and of experimental and observational data on which they are based – permits others to identify errors, to support, reject or refine theories and to reuse data for further understanding and knowledge.  Science’s powerful capacity for self-correction comes from this openness to scrutiny and challenge.’  These are very fine words and are applicable to all areas of research whether it be scientific or not, but they also go against the inherent element of human nature epitomised by the school kid crouched over their exercise book in case their neighbour should steal an advantage!  Protecting ones sources and ones data is a natural instinct in the competitive research culture in which we live.  The report argues for a culture of change in which we open up our data to other scientists and to the public at large and that by being more open we can increasingly maximise the value of that data for the research community and crucially for society as a whole. 

On a personal level as someone who has had a line of research and a field site stolen from them by petty academic politics and rivalries the ability to gain access to data held by others is very appealing especially when you have something valuable to add.  It is why in my current research grant I gave a commitment which I will honour later this year to make all my data – thousands of digital footprint scans from sites across the World – available via a project website.  The pleasure in doing so lies in knowing that the data will be used by others to explore new ideas and agenda in the future, long after I have moved on to other topics.  This ideal is not without some challenges however.  Issues of data security and accessibility are considerable, as is the need to future proof such archives against changes in technology.  These are the challenges faced by any long term archiving project.  As a real illustration of these challenges I draw your attention to a local example.  Around ten years ago Bournemouth University was a partner in a Heritage Lottery project entitled the Dorset Coastal Digital Archive, a resource of digitised and geo-rectified maps and charts from along the Dorset Coast supported by a range of learning packages.  This web-based archive was hosted by the University and was recently subject to a malicious cyber-attack corrupting both the site and the data back-up and as a result the site has had to be taken down for the time being while a solution is sought.  I also know from personal experience the difficulty and frustration involved in extracting raw data linked to publications several decades old that was deposited in national data repositories.  But despite these issues the benefits are clear or at least they are to me.  There has already been some discussion here at BU in the Research & Knowledge Exchange Forum about whether to establish our own data repository similar to BURO and while this debate has yet to conclude it is an idea which would be in line with the proposals from the Royal Society. 

The working group at the Royal Society behind the report was chaired by Professor Geoffrey Boulton who just happens to be my former PhD supervisor but notwithstanding this association it is a really fine document and makes six clear recommendations:

  • Scientists need to be more open with respect to their data among themselves, with the public and media.
  • Greater recognition needs to be given to the value of data gathering, analysis and communication for example through recognition in future research assessment exercises or in the promotion criteria for academics.
  • There needs to a drive towards common standards for sharing information so that it can be accessed by all.
  • They argue that publishing data in a reusable form to support findings should be a mandatory part or a pre-requisite for publication and a requirement of all the main funding bodies.
  • They suggest that we need more experts in managing and supporting the use of digital data to maximise the potential that it provides to researchers and society as a whole.
  • Finally they recognise that new software tools need to be developed to analyse the growing amount of data being gathered.

Interestingly it is the reference to the role of datasets in research assessment’s such as REF that was picked up in the news, particularly by the THE.  According to this article, if REF panels were to treat datasets on a par with publications there would be a huge revolution in open data access.  Interestingly REF criteria does not currently exclude datasets and 132 datasets were evaluated as part RAE-2008.  This is an interesting and important idea and is no different from the evaluation of artefacts or similar outputs.    Whether we will see datasets more explicitly mentioned in future exercises will be something to watch for with interest.  As an aside I remember a conversation with my former supervisor about defining key research questions; his reply was that there are lots of questions but very little good data available!  The other observation that I would make here is that our own Smart Technology Research Centre is leading the way in the production of new software tools to deal with the ever growing amount of data available. 

So in conclusion I would encourage you to read the report by the Royal Society and would welcome your thoughts and suggestions about how we could incorporate these ideas into our research strategy here at BU.

Decisions, decisions: where do I publish?

My beloved cat – Tilman Bennett – is sitting on the key board right now trying to help write this post as he often does.  We will ignore the fact that he has just dribbled in my tea and focus instead on when we first met in August 1997.  In those days academic publishing was relatively decision free – you wrote the paper, selected the journal from the one or two in your field and committed it to the post to await the verdict of an editor and reviewer in due course.  Fifteen years later everything is online with a bewildering array of journal titles to choose from and academics now keep libraries of PDF’s instead of cat-eared photocopies.  Despite these changes traditional publishing models remain largely the same; free to the author with the reader having to pay for the privilege of reading your work. 

This model has been challenged in the last few years by Open Access Publishing in which articles are free to read and the author has to pay for the privilege of being published.  There are also some new online journal titles which are free at the point of submission and for the reader as well.  This debate has been stoked further in recent weeks by the publication of the Finch Report which advocated a move to Open Access Publishing for all government funded research, a view endorsed recently in an article in the Guardian, although not funded, by Willets the Minster for Higher Education. 

The Finch Report proposes three different models of Open Access Publishing:

  • Gold Open Access: where the costs of peer review, editing and production are met by charging an author’s fee, but the article on publication is free to readers.
  • Green Open Access: where articles are published in subscription based journals as now, but a copy is place in an open access repository.
  • Green Open Access (Overlay): where articles are placed in repositories which are only open up to the public once peer review has been access logo, Public Library of Science

The government supports the use of Gold Open Access which they estimate will cost the research community around £40 to 50 million a year to ensure that all publically funded research is available free to the user.  This assumes that publishing models remain largely as they are now, with existing journals and the publishing houses that produce them simply switching production fees from the subscriber to the submitter.  This is a point worth returning to, but if one accepts this for the moment then you have to ask where this additional money is to come from and sadly the answer is from existing research budgets.  There is no new money on the table although publishing costs will become eligible expenditure within government funded research in the future.  The alternative of course is that researchers will change their publishing habits, especially where they don’t have access to publication costs from research grants or where institutional open access funds like our own [the BU Open Access Publication Fund] become increasingly stretched, to favour those publications which are free to both the submitter and subscriber.  This is an intriguing question; will open access change publishing habits?  One would like to think so especially in the face of the shifting cost burden, but in reality journal rankings and the perception of what constitutes a quality journal are so ingrained in UK academics, particularly as the unofficial currency of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), it is perhaps unlikely at least in the short term.

This creates a rather negative view on something which is actually a real positive to the research community.  Ultimately it is about allowing the free movement of knowledge between researchers, the public and business/industry to help drive innovation, societal gain and economic growth.  Removing the restrictions on the dissemination of knowledge is a big deal and one we should actively support as an academic community, or at least in my opinion.  The only questions are around the implementation of this ideal and where the burden of cost will lie between the producer and user of that knowledge.  The point here is that there are some excellent low cost solutions to Open Access.  A couple of weeks back I read a piece in the Guardian about how physicist’s use a discipline specific archive (arXiv, curated by Cornell University) to provide free access to their publications, in addition to publishing in a mainstream and conventional journal.

It is of course possible to do the same using our own institutional repository BURO which is now even more accessible given the new interface provided by BRIAN.  So there are lots of ways to follow the Open Access philosophy without necessarily incurring big costs.  It is perhaps a shame that one method was so openly favoured by the Finch report.

So far the response to the Finch Report from academics has been very positive since most researchers want to be read, but it is also a change and as we all know academics can be quite conventional in their outlook.  In this respect you can understand how the model of Gold Open Access appeals since it simply involves the journals we know and love just changing the cost from reader to author and most big publishing houses already offer this service.  There has been some negative reaction from Russell Group institutions who are concerned about the cost implications given the output of their staff and the high proportion of RCUK funding they receive, but otherwise it has been welcomed by most.  I have seen some comment from journals based around learned societies dependent on their income who feel threatened by a shift in publication models; something which is understandable and potentially an issue if the publishing landscape was really to change radically. 

This is the big question – will it change the publishing landscape for research in the future, or will the status quo remain with a simple shift in who pays?  This is an intriguing question since part of me would like to see the growth of free publishing options – free at point of submission and free to the reader – and there are some online journals that are growing in reputation that do just that, but in truth I suspect that as conventional souls academics will simply continue to publish in the same journals they have and look to their institutions or research funder to bear the cost.  I would love to see the publishing landscape change but I suspect that Tilman and I are living in an utopian dream if we believe this is likely. What is clear however is that Open Access is now something that all researchers will need to actively consider in deciding where and how to publish our results.

So where does this leave academics within BU?  Well we have had the BU Open Access Publishing Fund for the last 15 months supported centrally and we will continue to monitor its use and invest further in this fund to ensure that this caters for academic demand within BU.  There is no doubt that this fund will need to grow in future and while one could expect subscription packages to decline I doubt, being a little cynical about the publishing industry, that this will happen very quickly or in pace with the needs to invest further in our Open Access Fund.  I would encourage all academics with Charity or RCUK based funding to start to embrace Open Access Publishing at least as part of the dissemination strategy for all their current grants and to ensure that they bid for open access funds as part of future grants as this becomes possible (it is already possible with some funders, including Research Councils).  This already entered my own planning with respect to dissemination of the results from own NERC grant.  In short Open Access Publishing is set to increase and to be a big part of our futures and as publishing model change we will need to change with them.  Increasing our academic reach through Open Access is in line with BU’s research strategy to be more societally focused and to impact on the world in which we live.  In the meantime periods of transition and change require one to be adaptable and I have no doubt that we will need to be.  For those wanting a cat update, he is now asleep on the floor dreaming of a day when open access extends to the cat food cupboard!

Internal Promotion – Associate Professor, Professor 1 and Professor 2

Dear Colleagues

We are pleased to invite applications for Associate Professor, Professor 1 and Professor 2 appointments.

The title of Associate Professor will be conferred on staff normally with a Doctorate and track record of excellence in one of the following areas: Education, Research, Enterprise or Professional Practice, with an evidence based potential to develop significant national/international standing.

A Professorship is awarded to individuals who have achieved distinction and esteem both at national and international level over and above that of a Reader or Associate Professor in one of the following areas: Education, Research, Enterprise and Professional Practice.

Full details regarding the role, application process, including job descriptions and person specifications are available here:

 I Drive\OVC\Public\Professors & Associate Professors

There will be 2 sessions held during August with the Pro Vice-Chancellor and members of the Professoriate to outline the promotion process, define the role and expectations of Associate Professor and Professorial post holders and outline the evidence you would be expected to demonstrate as part of your application.  If you are considering applying for one these posts you are strongly encouraged and expected to attend one of the following sessions:

Applying for Associate Professor – Monday 6 August 2012 at 2pm .

Applying for Professor 1 or Professor 2 – Wednesday 8 August at 2pm.

If for reasons of annual leave you are unable to attend one of these sessions then please contact the Pro-Vice Chancellor for an appointment via Kathryn Hill (ext. 65868) and he will endeavour where possible to meet you individually.

Please contact click here to book on to one of these events. If you are off-campus and experiencing difficulty accessing the staff intranet please email your booking to

The closing date for all applications will be Wednesday 5 September 2012

It is expected that applications for Associate Professors will be assessed during September 2012 and shortlisted applicants invited to attend an interview during October 2012 subject to panel availability.

It is expected that applications for Professor 1 or 2 will be assessed during September 2012 and shortlisted applicants invited to attend an interview during December 2012 subject to panel availability.

If you would like any further information regarding this process then please speak to Katherine Jabbari on 61145 or your Academic Manager in the first instance.

Kind regards

Human Resources

Jumping Trains

I am sitting on the train returning to BU after attending a rather dull function in London last night and my mind is racing over stuff as the countryside flashes by the train window.  It is funny where peoples mind goes while sitting on the train, there are those in the carriage who have their head down typing frantically at laptops and I-pads, others gossiping with colleagues and friends on route to meetings and days out, others engrossed in the newspapers whose headlines are screaming loudly about last nights penalty shoot out.

My own mind is racing free form over problems with my own research, worrying about the kids, thinking about BU’s regional strategy, interviews this afternoon when back on Talbot, the usual mix of stuff – unfocused, but aware of the passage of time, the approach of deadlines and challenges, all hurtling towards me like the landscape outside.  A week ago we launched BRIAN and despite teething problems it is looking good, new stuff to learn and the articulation between it and the VIVO which runs the new staff profiles is an added complication.  The idea of a system that can find your publications for its self and output them to the world is cool and the ability to tailor and modify your staff profile more easily,  potentially with weekly updates, is all quite exciting.  When I started out as an academic twenty years ago you used to get a nice pile of off prints through the post when ever you had published something and one of the tasks I was taught early on was to sit down with your address book and send them out not only to your parents and academic mates, but also to the key figures in your field.  Part of raising your own profile and getting read.  Those days are gone and paper off prints are largely a thing of the past, but the need to raise the profile of your work with fellow academics remains.  Tools like BRIAN, Twitter, Facebook,, and LinkedIn all allow you to do so, even for people like me who feel uneasy about the social networking revolution.

We commissioned some work recently from Elsevier looking at the academic reach of work at BU – who was citing it, where and how often.  Interesting stuff which has been passed on to the research leads in each School – why not ask them about it?  The message from this work was not great while we do some really cool research at BU, to be honest it is not getting read and cited as much as it should be.  We intend to launch a bit of a campaign in the autumn to tackle this issue and help staff understand how to maximize their academic reach and get read/cited more often.  Optimizing ones profiles on Scopus, Web of Science, use of social media, using BRIAN to enhance your external profile are all things that we will advise and encourage on.  But lurking here is a train analogy inspired by the train I am sitting on.

We are good as academics of working within an existing networks like rail networks – for example South West Trains – our work is read and cited by our colleagues within BU, our academic mates and collaborators, and others in our network.  There are other networks out there however – Southern Trains or just now looking out of the window Cross Country Trains – with academics in other countries, national regions, or social/academic networks doing similar work whether or not they identify themselves with the same network or discipline badges as we or not.  The key to improving ones own academic impact, getting read and cited is being able to jump between those networks; to be the linking track.  It is easier said than done – rail networks meet at stations, which in our parlance are academic conferences, not just those which rally our own discipline but also those of cognate disciplines providing the chance to meet other academics, collaborate and be remembered.  The problem is that conferences are a bit like last nights chip paper full of promise when hot with chips but quickly forgotten and confined to the bin when home with a real meal.   I suppose I am saying it is often hard to capitalize on the contacts made at conference and ensure your work is remembered.  Follow through is essential to make sure these contact see your written work which is what counts.  Reaching out directly by cold emails with PDF’s copies of your work is one way, asking to collaborate directly is another, but the one I want to emphasis here is study leave.  There is nothing like a period of study leave to build new networks and with the study leaving funding available now as part of the Fusion Investment Fund there is no excuse; the idea way of jumping tracks for a bit.  It looks as if the first round of study leave funding will be under subscribed, in contrast to the other strands, but with another opportunity to come in December it is worth perhaps thinking about how one can use such opportunities to jump trains for a bit and widen your academic network?

The Quest for Innovation

This time last year I was coordinating and drafting a new Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) Strategy and I thought it worth updating you on progress as part of my weekly column.  As some of you may know the strategy was submitted in July 2011 and approved by HEFCE in September. The basic thrust of the strategy was to invest in a series of key sector specific themes, while also appointing a senior Business Engagement Leader.  The initial themes where: Soho-on-Sea, prosthetic engineering, a tourism academy, a science hub and Centre for Entrepreneurship, with additional themes coming on line each year of the strategy as each developed and became sustainable.  The basic strategy remains the same although some of the themes have changed a little along the way.

Soho-on-Sea was the first of the themes to get underway in the autumn.  Having since been rebranded externally as the INTERNATIONAL VFX HUB, the theme has attracted a number of industry ‘Friends’. For the full list and additional information on the Hub’s 8–Key Projects visit: Partnered with Arts University College Bournemouth and supported by Skillset, the VFX Hub aims to solidify Bournemouth’s international reputation as a leader in excellence within the animation and VFX industries. UK Trade & Investment recently identified Bournemouth as a key provider of ‘creative industry services’ and is attracting investment to the area from international partners, allowing Bournemouth to compete with London’s Soho on both price and value. Upon approaching industry for feedback, Project Director Peter Truckel and Business Engagement Consultant Lindsay Watson have been overwhelmed by positive responses. Many companies have already committed in principle to having their work produced by the VFX Hub. As a whole, the 8-Key Projects combine to deliver an industry bridge allowing professionals to collaborate with academics and students on commercial projects, research, training development and profile building.  At the centre of this initiative is a VFX Festival which will run from summer 2013. The initiative is developing rapidly; having recently returned from Los Angles, Professor Tim McIntyre–Bhatty and the VFX Team hosted a series of meeting with key animation studios.  Dreamworks, Pixar and Lucas Films are all interested in taking part in various VFX Hub activities. BAFTA have also confirmed their interest in the Festival and the Hub will have it’s first interview with the Guardian newspaper in the coming weeks. Sign-up today to receive regular Email Updates from the VFX Hub –

In terms of the Science Hub, this is proceeding through the initial stages of trying to secure large-scale EU Investment in setting up a regional science facility where local companies can get access to laboratories to engage in ‘R&D’ work especially around the bio-environmental issues.   The bid has already passed through some of the initial pre-application stages and shows promise of proceeding to a full application later this summer.

The tourism initiative is developing nicely around a consortium of local authorities who aim to develop a regional/national academy of tourism excellence here in Bournemouth.  With a successful project on Digital Destinations already awarded by the ESRC, the team are currently awaiting the outcome of a multi-million pound bid to the Coastal Communities Fund for the establishment of a National Coastal Tourism Academy in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council which will really set this theme alight if successful.  The project is being led by Professor Alan Fyall, Dr Phil Long and Dr Philip Alford with high-level presentations already delivered to tourist authorities in Belgium, Northern Ireland and across the UK to engage industry beyond the region.  The first external event is to be hosted at BU on 10 July 2012 where Dr Keith Dinnie from the Netherlands will deliver a one-day workshop on Destination Brand Ambassadors while from September onwards a variety of short-course and CPD opportunities will be launched for professionals in the area of destination marketing and management.  Although with a strong industry-engagement focus, this initiative is supported academically through the launch of Elsevier’s new Journal of Destination Marketing & Management by Professor Alan Fyall and a number of colleagues from the School of Tourism.

A decision was taken early in the academic year not to proceed at this point with the design sandpits around prosthetic engineering and after some delay this theme was replaced early in 2012 by one around Dementia with the aim of placing BU at the heart of regional dementia hub.  Around 100 people attended a public meeting that served as the launch of the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI; on 16 May.  There is huge interest locally from a range of stakeholders in taking dementia education, research and practice forward across Dorset.  This project led by Professor Anthea Innes is also accelerating rapidly, aided by the increased focus on Dementia afforded by the Prime Minsters commitment in the early spring to invest in this area. There is real potential in this area for BU to shine not only in terms of practice based research but as a community making a real difference to society.

The DM Centre for Entrepreneurship located on the 6th floor of the EBC has now gained four tenants in the form of media related businesses and is building a presence within the region.  In January 2012 the BU Board approved the creation of a subsidiary company to manage the Centre – BU Enterprises Ltd – and the this operation is already ahead of its planned business position this year.  The Centre has a new website and Professor Dean Patton as head of the Centre is gradually building a network of individuals in the local business community which will allow the Centre to flourish and develop further in the coming months.  Mark Painter, the Centre Manager, is currently meeting with a range of colleagues across BU to look for opportunities to work with and support other Schools. At the same time, the Centre is moving forward with a number of external events and seminars to be held at the EBC later in the year. Discussions are currently under way as to how we can expand the opportunities provided by the Centre especially in the area of student start-ups and in developing an internal culture of knowledge exchange.

We have also given a commitment to invest in the work under taken by Sarah Bate around Face Blindness (prosopagnosia) which has huge potential.  Sarah is using this investment to create a ‘Centre for Face Processing Disorders’ that aims to carry out the first large-scale investigations into the assessment and treatment of prosopagnosia.  In addition, the Centre will provide support for professionals who work with children with face processing deficits, provide unique educational placements for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and facilitate the networking of academics/practitioners interested in this field of study.  As illustrated by our commitment to Sarah’s work, we are always in the market for new themes which can help bring about our aspiration to deliver a step change in Knowledge Exchange Performance for BU with a strong focus on the creation of knowledge networks which unlock collaboration, information flow and new initiatives

The final component of the strategy was to appoint a Business Engagement Leader to help broker new business for BU, provide some corporate management of our key business clients, to help develop the sector specific themes and seek our new innovation.  The post was advertised back in January 2012 but unfortunately we were not able to make an appointment before Easter and are currently awaiting a second round of interviews.  It is vital that we get the right person, and while the delay is irritating to a naturally impatient person like my-self we hope to make an appointment in the next few weeks.

So that is in way of a brief update on progress and if you have any great ideas or suggestions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  HEIF is about finding and investing in innovation, so please step forward and innovate if you have a theme needing investment!



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.

The pursuit of mud

I am fortunate to have been let out of the office and into the sunshine this week to pursue a small piece of data collection I have wanted to do for ages as part of my NERC grant.  It involves standing knee deep in mud!

I have been working for a while on the control of substrate on footprint typology and believe firmly in working in natural depositional environments to do so when I can.  In recent years the team has done a lot of work on various beaches looking at the control of moisture content and walking speed on print form and linking this to plantar pressure data taken in the lab.  We have also done some really cool work in Namibia on footprint morphology and substrate properties, which one of my colleagues recently reported at the Annual American Physical Anthropology conference in Portland.  But testing the limits of print preservation needs some real mud!

Plotting BU’s research strategy and REF submission is no match in terms of fun when one could be wading bare foot and knee deep in mud, although the two feel quite similar at times!  This week I am collecting data from a range of estuarine muds – different grains sizes, moisture contents to explore the limits of footprint formation and typological variance.  Visiting different sites we make a trail of prints and then photograph each print, perhaps 30 or 40 times, from different angles and perspectives to provide the data to build three dimensional models using photogrammetry.  We will then combine these models to create an average print and compare this to the sedimentological data we are also collecting at each site.  In the past I have used an optical laser scanner to analyse foot prints, but no one in their right mind would let me loose with one of those in this mud!  So it’s a week of mud for me and I will see you all back in the office next week.


Launch of the Fusion Investment Fund

I am delighted today to launch the Fusion Investment Fund which, at c. £3m per annum for the first three years, represents the significant investment that BU is making in the development of staff and students, and the embedding of the Fusion philosophy.

At the heart of the BU2018 strategy is the powerful fusion of research, education and professional practice, creating a unique academic experience where the sum is greater than the component parts. Fusion is the key concept which underlies the BU2018 strategy and its delivery is critical to the University’s future mission. As a founding concept Fusion will allow the organisation to achieve its ambition of transforming the academic footprint of BU while remaining a similar academic size. It is the key academic strategy and central to the culture at BU. In essence Fusion is the combination of inspirational teaching, world-class research and the latest thinking in the professions which creates a continuous and fruitful exchange of knowledge that stimulates new ideas, learning and thought leadership.

The Fund exists to support a range of practical initiatives and pump prime activity around Fusion. Launched today are three of the funding strands available to BU staff:

  • Co-creation and co-production – this strand provides grants focused on supporting activity that drives fusion with specific emphasis on research and/or professional practice. The budget in 2012-13 for this strand is £400k and individual grants awarded will be between £10k and £75k each.
  • Study leave – this strand provides up to 50 opportunities per annum for paid study leave for staff to engage in business/industry secondments, international staff exchange, pedagogic development, and/or research practice. The grants are designed to buy individuals out of one semester/term of teaching and provide support for either overseas travel and subsistence or for expenditure associated with distance working within the UK. It is intended that these awards will be made primarily for study from BU rather than simply to provide staff with teaching relief.  Note that exceptionally awards may also be made to support incoming staff visiting BU who will material enhance Fusion or the development of international or business development.  In this case the BU sponsor should make the application for funding before any invitation is extended. The budget in 2012-13 for this strand is £750k and individual grants awarded will be up to £15k.
  • Staff mobility and networking – this strand provides support for staff to support UK or overseas travel and subsistence in pursuit of any aspect of Fusion – research, education, and/or professional practice. The budget in 2012-13 for this strand is £200k and individual grants awarded will be between £5k and £10k each.

These funding streams are in addition to the other Fusion Investment Fund initiatives already launched – the 100 annual doctoral opportunities advertised earlier this year and the Grants Academy that was launched last month. The other initiatives that form part of the Fund (such as the Student Mobility grants) will be announced in August 2012.

Strand Committees: Each strand will be managed by a small committee responsible for running and monitoring the allocation process – call, review, allocation and reporting. They also have responsibility for developing detailed application criteria as appropriate and developing FAQs. Committee members will usually serve for between two and five years and are not excluded from applying for funding via the strands.

We are now seeking to appoint committee members. If you would like to serve on one of the committees then please self-nominate via email to me (cc’d to Julie Northam) to express an interest by 27 April 2012.

For each committee we are seeking two Professors and two Senior Lecturers/Lecturers. You will need to confirm in the email which of the three strands you would like to be considered for. This is a prestigious opportunity to be involved in supporting colleagues and the University to meet the BU2018 aims and I look forward to receiving your nomination emails.


Applying to the strands: The first deadline for these strands is 1 July 2012, for awards in 2012-13; there will be subsequent deadlines later in the academic year for the mobility and co-creation/production strands. Applications to the Fund are made via one standard application form. Further information about the Fusion Investment Fund will be available shortly from the new Staff Portal when it is launch later this month. In the meantime you can access further details via the Research Blog:

HEIF-5 strategy approved by HEFCE

I am delighted to share with you the news that BU’s HEIF-5 Strategy was approved by HEFCE at the end of last week securing institutional investment for Knowledge Exchange for the next four years.  In broad terms this is worth around £700k per year in funding.  The strategy was submitted to HEFCE back in July and set out our approach to Knowledge Exchange (formerly referred as enterprise) activity within BU.  Outlined below are the key elements of our new HEIF strategy.  We will be developing the concepts and ideas further within the Fusion Strategy currently being developed.

The aim of the strategy is: to support Knowledge Exchange (KE) that enhances regional/national economic growth while strengthening Bournemouth University’s (BU’s) core business of research and education. At the heart of BU’s new Vision & Values launched July 2011 is the concept of fusion, in which education, research and professional engagement create a distinctive academic proposition in which the sum is greater than the component parts.  It is based on a mutual exchange of ideas with business, is grounded in our research and educational strengths and will drive both regional and national economic growth.  Previously KE (enterprise) has emphasised the revenue stream rather than the inflow of information, in terms of market and commercial intelligence, which is more aligned to our core business.  As a consequence KE has failed to gain widespread traction with staff and growth has been modest.  As part of our new strategy we seek a step change in performance starting with a fundamental change in culture and approach linked to our new Vision & Values that will make BU one of the most trusted knowledge brokers on the south coast driving economic growth and entrepreneurship in selected economic sectors.

Previous Approach (HEIF-4) – Revenue was invested in central infrastructure around innovation & commercialisation, employer engagement, entrepreneurship, and consultancy.  A feature of our investment plan was a fund to pump-prime activity across the entire academic footprint.  Thirty projects were funded and while many have been successful, stimulating valuable business interaction, the lack of strategic focus prevented rapid growth.  Investment returns from commercialisation have been modest.  Areas of strength lie in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) around Health, Engineering and Media where bespoke products have been developed for large organisations (e.g., NHS, Airbus, BBC & MoD). Applied research and consultancy is strong, but exposed to risk being linked to a limited number of clients. Since 2007 an average of 8 Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) schemes per year have generated £640k.  We need to: (1) be more focused, investing not in routine KE activity but in real innovation; (2) capitalise on existing strength in employer engagement; (3) focus on value gained rather than on income derived; (4) focus on, and expand, our key client base building lasting relationships; and (5) disinvest in commercialisation to focus on our strengths in applied research, consultancy and CPD. .


Our New Strategy – Best practice in the sector suggests that empowering academics to engage with KE directly through business consultants, minimising expenditure on central support and maximising targeted investment are keys to success.  Central to the new approach is a move away from ‘enterprise’ to ‘knowledge exchange’ where the emphasis is less no longer simply on income derived but value gained from the exchange of knowledge with industry or business.  The true value is the benefit to our core business of research and education.  Our HEIF strategy also distinguishes ‘business as usual’ activity (low-risk) undertaken and funded in all academic Schools from ‘innovation’ (high-risk) to be funded institutionally by HEIF through targeted investment in key themes.

We will create a Business Engagement Unit to coordinate this activity and provide a one stop-portal ensuring continuity in areas of existing success and investment.  We will invest in key innovation themes focused around the creation of networks and also in a modest ‘fusion fund’ to support all innovative ideas.  The Fusion Fund was launched at the start of September via the BU Research Blog (Launch of the BU Fusion Fund).  Outlined below are the five innovation themes to be funded this year (Year One), a further two themes will follow in subsequent years for which there will be an open call to seek the best ideas.

  • Create an International Hub for Visual Film Effects (VFX) based on institutional and industry collaboration, levered from our ‘world class’ research (RAE; 2008 – 70% >3*, GPA 2.85) and our outstanding educational reputation evidenced by the 2010 NESTA report which stated that almost half of the UK VFX industry are BU Graduates. Why? Because the UK has an excellent reputation for VFX and the SW has the second largest Creative Industries sector outside London. The VFX industry is strategically important to the future of film in the UK. VFX was a significant lure for the £575 million of inward film investment in 2010 and is the fastest growing component of the industry growing revenue by 16.8% and its workforce by 16.4% (2006-08). Unlike other creative industry sectors, animation has modelled successful centres of excellence outside London. We have the opportunity to create an international hub for VFX creating jobs, driving economic growth and entrepreneurship on the South Coast while also enhancing BU’s research and education activities. How? By establishing, in collaboration with The Arts University College at Bournemouth, an international VFX Festival; offering office space for VFX firms; by building a training, production and consultancy service; and by linking with the DM Centre for Entrepreneurship.
  • Host an international programme of Design Sandpits for Prosthetic/Medical Engineering using our reputation in medical devices (evidenced by EPSRC grants with industrial partners – prosthetics & strokes; RAE-2008 40% >3* GPA 2.1) to draw in researchers to work with the UK’s leading manufacturers and BU’s visiting faculty of medical practitioners to tackle key design challenges.  Why? Over 25% of all prosthesis users do not use their artificial limbs due to discomfort; the lack of science in their design and fitting is the primary cause. In the UK alone there are around 60,000 below knee amputees. Simple medical devices can help stroke victims of which there are 150,000 each year in the UK with 450,000 severely disabled. The demand for effective medical devices is clear. Within our sub-region we have a number of major manufacturers of medical devices (e.g. Ossur, Otto Bock, Ohio Willow, Dorset Orthopaedics, & Blatchford) who will benefit via international exposure. How? Via sandpits which are intensive multidisciplinary forums which facilitate collaboration between academics, industry and other stakeholders undertaking analysis of pertinent issues, encouraging innovative problem solving that fosters future collaboration.
  • Launch the first National Tourism Business Academy (NTBA) in collaboration with Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Management Boards, the New Forest Tourism Association, and relevant local authorities. The NTBA will accelerate tourism business growth by focusing on visitor experience, ‘state of the art’ research & development, and the creation of a knowledge exchange for all stakeholders. Why? Tourism is a key sub-region industry. Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest collectively attract 2.32 million staying and 12.9 million day visitors per annum, generating £1035 million for their local economies and employing 20,400 people. How? The NTBA will be driven by successful private businesses, informed and guided by leading international tourism academics at BU, and supported by experienced destination management professionals and private-public partnerships in an outstanding coastal resort (Bournemouth) serving as a ‘learning laboratory’. This will be achieved, first regionally and then nationally, via blended learning to support tourism businesses, professional mentoring networks, workshops to improve local business performance and building the foundations for a national tourism business resource by 2014.
  • Create a Science & Technology Hub (STH) with a focus on Environmental Biotechnology, built on BU’s research excellence in Environmental Science (RAE-2008 45% >3* GPA 2.35), collaborative partnerships with businesses in the SW and by targeting EU development funds. Why? The UK’s Department of Trade and Industry estimated that 15-20% of the global environmental market in 2001 was biotech-based amounting to $250-300 billion US per year with projected ten-fold growth over the next five years. In the SW the environmental industry already contributes £220 million but growth is limited by the availability of skills and facilitates. How? Our aim is to first build a SW Science & Technology network focused on an Environmental Science & Technology Festival, providing a showcase for the SW, building capacity and networks to allow us to lever EU funding to develop a regional laboratory network for business and enhance the regional skills base to use it. For example, the SW is the only English region to qualify for convergence, competitiveness and employment funding (Operational Programme 2007-13) and the Competitiveness Programme is Priority 1, focused on knowledge transfer, with £3 million still uncommitted for projects.
  • BU appointed a Chair in Entrepreneurship in 2011 with support from the entrepreneur Dominic Marrocco as part of its commitment to create a Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) which aims to provide business development support and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the region. Why? Business creation and acceleration is a key objective of the Dorset LEP (See: Question Two). How? It will target sectors associated with creative and environmental industries and focus on the incubation of new ventures, the business acceleration of established firms and the creation of a community of practice, around these sectors, that fosters innovation. The Dominic Marrocco CfE will have a positive effect upon the regional eco-system, promote University/industry interaction, enhance curricular and create opportunities for applied research.

The above themes are identified as core to delivering a step change in BU’s KE performance, are identified for front loaded investment and will deliver maximum return as measured by income, regional/national economic growth, and value to our core business of research and education. We will continue to invest concurrently using BU Funds in our ‘business as usual’ activities in health, media, environmental science, market research, and business management.

Future information and news regarding the HEIF strategy will be published via the Blog.

You can access the BU Vision & Values website here:


Eating Cats & Top Journals

I have a big paper out today on the Laetoli footprints in Tanzania.  I am not first author, but still very proud of the paper.  Laetoli is the oldest footprint site known at over 3.75 million years and was first discovered in the late 1970s by the Leakey’s.  It consists of a couple of trails each of a dozen prints or so preserved in volcanic ash and is a site that has been argued over ever since its discovery with different teams interpreting the prints in different ways often basisng their arguements on specific prints.  The likely print maker is Australopithecus afarensis which is perhaps better known by the famous skelton called Lucy.  Some say the prints represent a primitive foot anatomy, function and gait, while other claim a more modern form and foot function.  One of the challenges here has been the lack of an objective methodology to allow different hypothesis to be explored.  At the heart of my current NERC grant with Liverpool University is a new objective approach based on calculating a mean footprint from a trail, which can then be statistically compared to others.  This provides the first objective method with which to interpret ancient footprint trails.  The paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface today applies this method to the Laetoli prints to good effect resolving, in our view at least, over 30 years of argument!

The paper is based on data that I collected back in 2008 during a rapid visit to Nairobi to scan casts of the prints during the height the post election troubles that year.  I remember the visit quite well not just for the 16 hours of plane flights in two days there and back stolen out of a busy term, but for the political tension still evident on the streets.  The paper it self stems from 2009 when Robin Crompton (Liverpool) and I first started to collaborate and has taken a while to gestate and find a home.  I suppose it’s the latter aspect that is worth mentioning because this paper was first tried in the top three science journals – Nature, Science and PNAS – without success or review.  In each case there was something of a jaundiced view from the editor ‘not yet another paper on Lateoli!’  Yet in our view the paper is top-notch and the science within it ground-breaking and we were very disappointed not to get the paper even reviewed.  There are several things here worth drawing out.  One is keeping faith with a paper as it is rejected by different journals and keeping your nerve, as you try and aspire to each top journal in turn.  Because it will find a home eventually if it is good and in truth the Journal of the Royal Society Interface is a great journal since not only does it have a high impact factor but there is much more space to describe the science!  The paper will be part of my REF submission that is for sure.  It has also attracted a fair amount of publicity today and my colleagues in Liverpool have been stars of local TV this evening.  The other aspect that is worth drawing out is around the sheer luck in getting things published in a top journal.  When I got my Science paper in 2009 not only was it based on a new discovery but there had not been many recent footprint papers so it had additional novelty.  When our current paper was doing the rounds this autumn we discovered subsequently that another team had submitted a Laetoli paper, and in our view an inferior paper, unsuccessfully a few months earlier making our research seem just that bit less noteworthy.  Journals such as Nature and Science have their pick of the best stories so want something to excite interest as well as be good science.  I suppose a headline of ‘Cat eats boy’ stands out when it is a rare event, but when there has been a run of stories about domestic cats eating boys it does not!  (And if you are wondering where this came from, the connection is that my cat is currently licking my abandoned desert bowl.)

This idea that success is not just about the sheer merits of something but is about the circumstances and timing is an interesting concept and goes to the heart of a book I have been reading recently entitled Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  He dissects a range of successful individuals – sports players, business men, billionaire etc – and shows how in most cases talent is not the sole reason for their success but the context and timing of their contribution is critical.  As is years of practice!  So in the context of trying to hit the top journals one could argue that it is all about timing and the current scientific context in vogue or considered to be novel.  If you talk to Ralph Clarke in ApSci who hit Science the same year I did he will tell you the same thing – you need a great a bit of research, but timing is also everything.  This cuts both ways in our case we did not know that other papers were hitting the editor’s desks at the same time, but if we had not tried then we would have been left always wondering if it could have made it.  But if you turn this around you also need to have an eye to what will hit the right buttons at any one moment and capitalise on it if you can.  Any way enough of this; time to do the washing up!

You can read the abstract here: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0258

And a review of the article here:

Footprints & Fieldwork!

Next week I get a chance to get out in to the field when I am due to visit the Roccamonfina footprint site in central Italy about 60 Km from Naples.  It is quite a well known footprint site and certainly the oldest in Europe.  Roccamonfina is a stratovolcano located north of the Campanian plain and the Devil’s footsteps are preserved in one of the ash layers on its flank and where first publicised by a group of Italian colleagues in 2003 (Mietto et al., 2003; Nature 422).  There are around 56 prints forming three trackways recording the movement of one or more individuals adopting a ziz-zag path as they negotiated a soft and potentially unstable slope formed of volcanic ash.  In terms of anatomical detail the prints are not perfect due to the slope and consistence of the ash, but at 350,000 years old they fill an important gap in our understanding of the evolution of gait which is the main thrust of my current NERC grant held jointly with Liverpool University.  We hope with Italian colleagues to document the prints using photogrammetry to preserve their digital signature for comparison with other footprint sites such as those we found in northern Kenya back in 2009.  Above all else for me it is nice to be let out of the office to enjoy a brief spell of fieldwork!

My last spell in the field was back in December when I was working in Namibia on a much younger footprint site (<2000 years old) which has some fantastic prints and provides a perfect laboratory with which to explore the control of substrate on print formation.  The research team made a short video clip during this trip which much to my embarrassment has just made it to the website in Applied Sciences, but despite my shyness it does give you an idea of what sort of tasks I get involved with when in the field.  You can watch the video if you are interested here: httpv://

I am keen to hear about your fieldwork or research experiences so why not post on the blog about these as well?

Professor Matthew Bennett

PVC (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation)

Learning from someone who is learning themselves

It’s early the day after Easter Monday and I am sitting in the office looking out at the view as the haze clears and another fresh spring day dawns.  Yes all very poetic!  I have in fact spent much of the weekend looking at the view while spending the mornings working hard on a conference paper for later this week – I am a keynote speaker at a primatology conference this week.  I also have a big project meeting attached to the conference since I am now one year into my current NERC project and it’s about time that we started to have something to show for it!  I have been running this really cool computer code in MATLAB to generate some new data which was written by some colleagues in Liverpool.  It takes an individual footprint – in this case some from Namibia – and translates, transforms and superimposes it on others to create a mean footprint.  So for example if you have a trail of ten prints then instead of trying to interpret all ten individually you can focus on the mean.  It is a great way forward since intra-trail variability is a key problem in making inferences from ancient footprint trails.  Took me a while to master MATLAB – well master is a bit of an overstatement, at least get it to work! But once I got it working I could set the code running to process data in batches, time consuming but the results are great.  This whole process has set me thinking about the fact that doing research is really about life long learning – learning new stuff whether it be concepts, software or skills – and that is what is fantastic about being an academic and makes the profession one that I feel privileged to be part.  Sharing this with students and giving them the skills and enthusiasms for a life time of learning is also one which is cool.  A week Wednesday is the BU Education Enhancement Conference; I am down to talk about research informed education something which I feel very strongly about.  I have to write the talk yet, but for me the key is the fundamental idea of ‘learning from someone who is learning themselves’.  I really like this concept and when people ask what research has to do with a good student experience I think the answer is summed up by this phrase and in the simple idea of passing on ones own wonder at new knowledge and learning!