Category / PG research

This part of the blog features news and information for postgraduate research students and supervisors

A Review of Gaming Technologies for Stroke Patients

Our next Creative Technology Research Centre Research Seminar will be presented by Owen O’Neil.

Title: A Review of Gaming Technologies for Stroke Patients

Date: Wednesday 13th November 2013

Time: 2 – 3PM

Venue: P302 LTCentre For Digital Entertainment

Abstract: Stroke is a global pandemic and the largest cause of severe adult disability in the world. Incidence rates in the UK suggest that over 150,000 suffer a first time stroke, and over 80% of survivors will suffer some form of motor disability. Rehabilitation typically consists of high volumes of motor practice to engage the mechanism of neural plasticity, a form of cortical rewiring that allows the brain to adapt after damage. Meeting the rehabilitation needs for this population through one-to-one physiotherapy care is currently not possible.  There is a growing impetus on research institutions to explore cost-effective methods for increasing access to rehabilitation that may promote improved functional recovery for patients at home and in the clinic. Recent approaches include the use of video game technology as a method of increasing patient engagement and upkeep to rehabilitation programs. Of particular interest is the emergence of low cost commercial off-the-shelf devices such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect.  In this presentation we introduce the state-of-the art application of video game technology as a modality of upper limb motor practice. We translate current approaches and technology in the literature that show particular promise to meet the needs of this population.

Congratulations again to Sheetal Sharma!


Having won the poster prize at last Friday’s GLOW conference in Birmingham,  Sheetal Sharma found out today that she has also been awarded a travel grant from one of the organisations supporting the ECTMIC 2013 Conference she attended in September. 

Sheetal presented a poster at the 8th European Congress on Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2013 (ECTMIH-2013) which took place 10-13 September 2013 in Copenhagen (Denmark).  Sheetal’s abstract of the poster is officially published see

The reference is:

Sharma, S., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Stephens J.,  Simkhada, P., Angell, C.,  Sicuri, E., Belizan, J.M. (2013) Mixed-methods evaluation of a maternity care intervention in rural Nepal: measuring what works, Poster P.2.3.004 (A), Tropical Medicine & International Health  18 (Suppl. 1): 108–231.


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
School of Health & Social Care

CMMPH PhD students steal the show at the GLOW maternal health conference

The second Global Women’s Health Conference, held in Birmingham on November 1st, highlighted the work that still needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality. Prof Wendy Graham from the University of Aberdeen opened the conference outlining the progress to date but reminding us that there was much still to do. Her hard hitting presentation showed the unacceptable conditions of birthing rooms in many countries. She urged the audience to remember that “we do not want universal health care of poor quality.”

Rachel Arnold

This was followed by a short film produced by BU Visiting Professor Gwyneth Lewis, which tells the story of Mrs X and why she died in childbirth.

A number of presenters highlighted hospital conditions and disrespectful staff as a disincentive for women in seeking facility birth. However, Rachel Arnold, PhD student in CMMPH,  reminded the audience that the carers were women too. She noted that it is all too easy to blame health care professionals, forgetting the challenging conditions that they have to work in. In her excellent and moving presentation Rachel presented quotes from midwives and doctors in Afghanistan that brought a number of audience members to tears.

BU Prof Vanora Hundley presented work from Pakistan evaluating a decision tool to support policy makers and programme managers who are considering the potential role of clean birth kits in their strategy for care at birth.


Sheetal Sharma

While PhD student Sheetal Sharma’s poster presentation Getting women to care in Nepal: A Difference in Difference analysis of a health promotion intervention stole the day winning best poster prize.   Sheetal has a unique international supervisory team led by BU and her PhD is supported by Bournemouth University with a studentship and a Santander grant.

The event was also an opportunity to publicise next year’s international conference on Midwifery and the post-MDG agenda, which will be held at Bournemouth University.

Prof. Ben Azvine, Global Head of Security Research and Innovation at BT. Monday the 11th of November, PG16

The next of our research seminars will take on Monday, the 11th of November, PG16 at 15:00.
Our distinguished guest is Professor Ben Azvine, the Global Head of Security Research and Innovation at BT; invited by our colleague Prof. Bogdan Gabrys.

Professor Azvine holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, an MSc in Control Engineering, a PhD in Intelligent Control Systems all from Manchester University and an MBA from Imperial College, London. Having held research fellowship and lectureship posts in several universities, he joined British Telecom Research in 1995 and set up a research programme to develop and exploit intelligent systems technologies within BT.
Since then he has held senior, principal and chief research scientist as well as head of research centre posts at Adastral Park, the head quarter of BT R&D. Ben has edited several books and published more than 100 scientific articles. He is an inventor on 50 patents, has won two BCS gold medals, and the IET award for innovation in IT, holds visiting professorships at Universities of Bristol, Cranfield and Bournemouth in the UK.

The title of his exciting talk will be “Industrial applications of novel Intelligent Systems”. Intelligent systems play an important role in industry for managing customer relationship, providing business intelligence, helping organisations analyse their data and protecting organisations against Cyber-attacks. In this talk I’ll present a number of case studies within BT where we have used intelligent system originating from within our research organisation and successfully downstreamed them into our operations.

I strongly encourage academics and PhD students not to miss the opportunity to attend to the seminar and to discuss potential collaborations.


Santander Mobility and Scholarship Awards 2013 14

Santander is committed to supporting higher education and are once again, through the Graduate School, offering Scholarships and Mobility Awards to any registered BU Postgraduate Research Student.



4 x £5,000 Scholarships

Scholarships are available to PGRs to undertake a specific piece of work and build or develop links with international researchers through travel to:

4 x £2,000 Mobility Awards

Mobility Awards are available to PGRs to:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • USA
  • UAE
  • Uruguay


Full details, including application forms and the relevant policy documents can be found on myBU – Graduate School PGR Community (follow the Funding – Development and Mobility Awards Tab).  Remember you will need to log on to myBU with your student username and password.

The closing date for applications is 5 pm on Thursday 9th January 2013.


BU well represented at Global Women’s (GLOW) Research Conference


At tomorrow’s Global Women’s (GLOW) Research Conference at the University of Birmingham BU’s Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health is very well presented.  Prof. Vanora Hundley presents her poster Clean Birth Kits to promote safe childbirth, which reports the views of policy makers and district health officers in Pakistan regarding the potential for CBKs to facilitate clean birth practices.


PhD student Sheetal Sharma also presents a poster on her thesis under the title: Getting women to care in Nepal: A Difference in Difference analysis of a health promotion intervention.  Sheetal’s work is supervised by BU Professors Edwin van Teijlingen and Vanora Hundley, BU Senior Lecturer in Midwifery Catherine Angell, BU Visiting Fellow Dr. Padam Simkhada (ScHARR, University of Sheffield) and Dr. Elisa Sicuri from CRESIB (Barcelona Centre for International Health Research) in Spain and Prof. José M. Belizán from IECS (Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy) in Argentina.  Sheetal’s PhD evaluates a community-based health promotion intervention in Nepal which aims to improve the uptake of maternity care.  The intervention is sponsored by the London-based Buddhist charity Green Tara Trust (see: ).


Whilst PhD student Rachel Arnold will give an oral presentation of her PhD research under the title:  Afghan women: a qualitative study of the culture of care in an Afghan maternity hospital.   This PhD, supervised by BU Professors Immy Holloway and Edwin van Teijlingen and BU Visiting Professor Kath Ryan (La Trobe University, Australia), analyses the culture of care within a maternity hospital in the Afghan capital Kabul and examines the perspectives of midwives, doctors and cleaners on their role and care within that hospital. In a country striving to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality the provision of quality intrapartum care for women in Kabul’s maternity hospitals is vital.


BU Professors Vanora Hundley and Edwin van Teijlingen will also take the opportunity at the GLOW conference to promote the forthcoming BU conference on what will happen after the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 ‘Midwifery and the post MDG agenda’ ( ).


Vanora Hundley is Professor of Midwifery

Edwin van Teijlingen is Professor of Reproductive Health Research


Santander and BU Research mobility link continues.

As sponsors of Formula One, Santander were lucky enough to secure some time with the Formula One racing driver Jenson Button to meet some of the Formula Santander Scholars, along with Santander Chairman, Emilio Botin. Two research students from the Media School and one from HSC were able to travel for research purposes as recipients of the Santander Award and to a reception at the British Medical Association House on Tavistock Square, London on Wednesday 26th June for an address from the Chairman and some words from Jensen. The recipients received certificates and there was an opportunity for a Question and Answer session with Jensen.

Hai Chung said that “I came to know that the extensive Southeast Asia collection at Yale University is an impressive and influential resource for any researcher on South East Asia across the world. Thanks to Santander, I got a rare chance this year to visit Yale University where I was able to update myself on the latest research and discuss with professors there about my work. In relation to actual outputs, the trip gives me additional evidence and elaborates upon my analysis in my findings. I was impressed with the number of scholarships funded by the Santander this year and appreciated a chance to meet formula 1 driver Jenson Button yesterday in London. Thanks again Santander for their generosity in supporting and creating chances for researchers in UK.”
Marketa Zezulkova’s cross-cultural project explores how is children’s media literacy being formed during the first years of their compulsory education; in order to contribute to the international development and implementation of suitable media education for primary and elementary school children. Marketa was in the USA, collecting primary data and undertaking position of a Visiting Scholar at Emerson College (Boston, MA) and at Media Education Lab, the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI) as part of Santander?
Sheetal Sharma who this summer is again a Santander visiting PhD researcher at IsGlobal, Cresib – the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB) part of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, and the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS); supported by the Generalitat de Catalunya. She is supervised in health economic evaluations by Dr. Elisa Sicuri aiming to use novel techniques in the evaluations of health programmes in Nepal:
The suggestion from this event was to organize a BU Santander Scholars session with a representative from Santander Universities (UK) in the near future to try and give back in terms of lessons that can be learnt from research mobility.

Opportunities for BU Researchers in Ecuador

The Ecuadorian government has recently launched the Prometeo Project, an initiative designed to bring top scholars to the country to develop research and teaching for periods of 2-12 months.  Proposals in all areas of research and teaching are currently being accepted on a rolling basis and generally take a couple of months to process in total.  Once the application is submitted, assistance in adjusting the initial research proposal is available from the Prometeo office.

Prometeo fellows are assigned to public institutions. These generally include universities, government offices and research institutes. Although Spanish knowledge is recommended, it is not a pre-requisite for doing research in Ecuador.  Research grants range from $4000-6000 USD/month and teaching grants range from $2000-$4000/ month.  Return airfare and orientation sessions are also included as part of the Prometeo package.

 Applications are assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Publications (indexed papers, not indexed, books, articles)
  • Hirsch Index
  • Research projects (led or coordinated / assistant)
  • Academic experience / teaching
  • Conferences, seminars, workshops, discussion panels (speaker, moderator)
  • Consultancies
  • Scholarships, awards and recognitions
  • Letters of recommendation -optional (two letters in digital format)

For further information, visit the Prometeo website or email:

SDRC PGRs’ Social Media Engagement

PGRs within BU Sustainable Design Research Centre have recently launched facebook page, for showcasing their research and professional practice engagement and activities.

The activities of SDRC include four areas 1; “Tribology”, 2; Renewable Technology & Sustainable Design 3; Structural Integrity and 4; Design Education. The Centre has extensive experimental and analytical resources to assess wear mechanisms of rolling and sliding contacts, corrosion simulation, renewable technology and surface analyses. These include rotary tribometer, micro-friction machine, corrosion simulation chamber, solar-thermal heat transfer & thermal expansion bench testing, 2D and 3D surface analysis techniques.

SDRC has formed strong partnerships with national and multinational companies such as SK&F (Netherlands), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Future Energy Source Ltd, Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Ministry of Defence, Schaeffler, Energetix, The Tank Museum, Poole Tidal Energy Partnership, Balmain Trust and has secured funding for conducting collaborative research.

Collaborative work is also being carried out with other universities such as Oviedo University in Spain, County Carlow Institute of Technology in Ireland, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee USA, PES Institute of Technology Bangalore India and National Institute of Technology Srinagar India.

Current SDRC Research Projects

A Condition Based Approach to the Tribology of RNLI Marine Systems

A Market Driven Standard for a High Quality Graduate

Defect Tolerance Assessment of Silicon Nitride in Rolling Contact

Electroplated composite coatings with incorporated nano particles for tribological systems with the focus on water lubrication

Element, Use and Meaning: Between the Vernacular and Current Interiors in Saudi Arabia, Eastern Region.

Experimental investigation and mathematical modelling of dynamic equilibrium of novel thermo fluids for renewable technology applications

In-situ corrosion health monitoring and prediction in military vehicles

Optimisation of Braking Systems and Sustainable Design in Traction Drive Passenger and Goods Lifts

Practice Based Design Research: Development of research models, methodologies and evaluation criteria appropriate to its intellectual culture.

Research and development in novel alternative renewable energy technology

Sustainable Methodology of Conserving Historic Vehicles

Tribological Properties and Performance of Bio-fuels on Internal Combustion Engines: an application to the Life Cycle Analysis of Refined Palm Oil (RPO) Bio-diesel


For research, enterprise or professional practice inquiries within SDRC themes please contact

Dr Zulfiqar Khan (Associate Professor)

Director SDRC


Congratulations to Emily Norton – School of Applied Sciences!

 At the UK’s leading remote sensing and photogrammetry society’s annual conference Applied Sciences’ postgraduate researcher Emily Norton’s presentation was awarded the President’s Cup for the best oral presentation out of the 45 delivered over the course of the three day event.

The conference theme was ‘Earth Observation for Problem Solving’ and Emily’s paper “The Prospection for Mass Graves: A Multi-Platform Approach” looked at the role and her recent results of using remote sensing techniques to locate mass graves. Two other Applied Sciences’ postgraduate researchers, Heather Papworth and Matthew Sumnall, also presented papers at the conference. The Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) conference was held at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel between the 4th-6th September 2013, and was hosted by the University of Glasgow. The cup, after being engraved with Emily’s name as the 2013 winner, will be officially awarded at next year’s conference dinner by former BU Vice-Chancellor, Paul Curran, who is President of the Society.

Well Done Emily!

Paul Cheetham
School of Applied Sciences

Change of venue for eBU drop in session

The venue has changed for the first drop in session for prospective authors and those interested in eBU: Online Journal.

I had advertised sessions on Talbot on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th – both in PG30d. However, the Monday session will now take place in TAG01. I shall place a sign on the door of PG30d in order to redirect people!

The revised eBU drop in sessions are now as follows:

Monday 7th October 11am – 2pm TAG01

Tuesday 8th October 11am – 2pm PG30d

And on the Lansdowne:

Wednesday 9th 11am – 2pm EBC ground floor cafe

Co-producing and co-creating with eBU

As I’m sure you are all aware of, co-production and co-creation are key facets of Fusion. What better way of engaging in co-production and co-creation than through pursuing publications with students?

eBU is well placed to help academics co-produce and co-create outputs with students for peer review publications. eBU is encouraging academics to act as gatekeepers who, upon marking or seeing high quality student work, will approach students with the view to asking them if they wish to take this further and publish.

Putting your work ‘out there’ is daunting enough for anyone, let alone an early career scholar or student. Primarily as a publishing forum for internal peer review, eBU is a place where these types of outputs can be constructively critiqued in a safe internal environment. This provides students and/or early career scholars with some valuable experience of opening his/her work up to review internally, before doing so in the wider world.

eBU works on the basis of immediate publication (subject to an initial quality check) and open peer review. Once published on the internal site, we aim to upload reviews within 3 weeks. Authors are then encouraged to use the comments to aid publication in an external journal. Alternatively, authors also have the option of publishing on the external eBU site. Please note that only using eBU as a forum for internal peer review (with the intention to publish externally – which we encourage!) WILL NOT ENDANGER FURTHER PUBLICATION.

With the academic year only just underway it may not be the right time to identify high quality student output and enquire if they wish to make changes and reformat any output for publication. However, can I ask staff to make all students aware of eBU. It’s a win-win situation – engaging with eBU will boost your publication rate and give students something positive to put on their CV for their chosen career path.

To access eBU, when on campus simply type ‘ebu’ into your web browser address bar.

eBU PGT & PGR drop in sessions

Publishing should be high on the agenda of any early career scholar, and PGTs and PGRs should feel no different. For those who are concerned or intimidated by the harsh academic publishing world, eBU is here to help.

eBU: Online Journal is the new online working paper journal for the BU community. Putting your work ‘out there’ can be daunting. eBU is particularly useful for early career scholars, PGTs and PGRs who may wish and have something to publish, but have not yet dipped their toes into the world of academic peer reviewed publishing.

eBU works on the basis of immediate publication (subject to an initial quality check) and open peer review. Once published on the internal site, we aim to upload reviews within 3 weeks. Authors are then encouraged to use the comments to aid publication in an external journal. Alternatively, authors also have the option of publishing on the external eBU site. Please note that only using eBU as a forum for internal peer review (with the intention to publish externally – which we encourage!) WILL NOT ENDANGER FURTHER PUBLICATION.

I am holding drop in sessions (aimed at PGTs and PGRs – but anyone is welcome!) for anyone who wishes to discuss eBU further. These will be held on Talbot Campus:

Monday 7th October 11am – 2pm PG30d

Tuesday 8th October 11am – 2pm PG30d

And on the Lansdowne:

Wednesday 9th 11am – 2pm EBC ground floor cafe

To access eBU, when on campus simply type ‘ebu’ into your web browser address bar.


PGR Development Fund 2013/14 – REMINDER

Don’t forget that the PGR Development Fund is now open for applications

Applications will be considered at two points during 2013/14 and the deadline for the first round will be 17:00 on Monday 30th September 2013.

The PGR Development Fund is open to BU postgraduate researchers (PGRs) irrespective of the mode of study (full-time/part-time) or funding status (BU studentships/externally funded/self-funded/ VC PhD Scholarship).

Individual awards will provide financial support of normally up to £1,000 for research activities related to an individual PGR’s research project or personal development.

Examples of research activities covered by the Scheme include:

  • Conferences (to present – either poster or oral and you must provide evidence that you have submitted either a poster or oral abstract for consideration);
  • Research development e.g. attending external training events specific to your research project;
  • Personal development e.g. attending external personal development training events;
  • Organisation of an academic conference at BU with external participants;
  • Attendance at external networking events leading to advance of the research;
  • Meetings or networking events linking to publications or dissemination of research.

You should also map the proposed activity onto the relevant sub-domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF):

Knowledge & Intellectual Abilities A1 – Knowledge base A2 – Cognitive abilities A3 – Creativity
Personal Effectiveness B1 – Personal qualities B2 – Self-management B3 – Professional & career development
Research Governance C1 – Professional conduct C2 – Research management C3 – Finance, funding & resources
Engagement, Influence & Impact D1 – Working with others D2 – Communication & dissemination D3 – Engagement & impact

Awards will only cover direct costs including travel, subsistence, training or development costs and all applications will need to include a precise breakdown of costs.  Applications should be supported by your Supervisory Team and the relevant Deputy Dean (Research & Enterprise) of your Academic School.  This year the Graduate School is keen to assist as many PGRs as possible and due to the competition for funding, will favour applications that can demonstrate good ‘value for money‘.

PGRs wishing to apply must submit a completed Application Form and email Graduate School Funding ( by 17:00 hrs – Monday 30th September 2013.

Applications to the Scheme will be reviewed independently and all decisions on funding will be made by the Graduate School.

For further information please read the PGR Development Scheme Policy

Advanced Notice! 2014 PhD Studentship Competition

At the end of September the Graduate School will be launching the 2014 PhD Studentship Competition. The Competition will open for project proposals (from Academics) seeking funding for projects to start in September 2014, as part of the Fusion Investment Fund.

This year there will be approximately 50 studentships available across two parallel strands

  1. Matched Funded Projects
  2. Fully Funded

There will be two rounds for proposals with the first round launching on Monday 30 September 2013 which will close on Monday 6th January 2014.  In the event that not all studentships are allocated in the first round, a second round will be run subsequently for projects starting in January 2015.

To assist academics, a one day workshop will be organised, by Staff Development, to cover topics such as how to target and develop relationships with external organisations; networking and project costings etc.  This workshop will take place in October and further details will be available when the Competition is launched.

Further details about the 2014 PhD Studentship Competition, including the policy document and project proposal forms, will be available when the competition is launched on the 30th September.


Dr Fiona Knight
Academic Manager
The Graduate School



HSC student wins Santander Travel Grant to go to Yale

Mrs. Anita Immanuel has just been awarded a travel award from Santander to visit the Yale Cancer Centre in the USA. Anita studies the quality of lives of adults in Dorset who have survived cancer of the blood or immune system. Cancer is a devastating disease and with the advances in treatment patients are living longer, however left with debilitating side effects which can negatively affect their quality of life.

Anita’s research will identify any unmet needs in this group of patients and will give a better understanding into comprehensive survivorship care thereby maximising quality of life. This study uses a mixed methods approach in examining the quality of lives of these patients who have been treated for a haematological cancer. Data will be collected across three Dorset hospitals: The Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Poole Hospital and Dorset County Hospital.

Dr. Helen McCarthy, Consultant Haematologist at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Anita’s clinical supervisor, highlighted: “At Yale Cancer Centre Survivorship Clinic, Anita will be introduced to their comprehensive survivorship care programme which can help improve the quality of lives of adults treated with cancer in Dorset.

Dr. Jane Hunt, the lead supervisor and senior lecturer at Bournemouth University’s School of Health & Social Care added: “The survivorship programme at the Yale Cancer Centre Survivorship Clinic integrates a multidisciplinary approach for following up patients treated for cancer by leading experts, which differs significantly from our own. I am convinced Anita’s PhD study will benefit from collaborating with the Yale experts.

BU Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Anita’s third supervisor, commented “We are grateful to Santander for this funding. We know Anita’s research will significantly contribute to the underdeveloped area of research on adult haematological cancer survivors”.

For more about Santander Awards see: