Category / PG research

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

Vice-Chancellor Doctoral (Fee Waive) Scholarships 2013 – now available

We are delighted to announce the launch of the 2013 Vice-Chancellor Doctoral (Fee Waive) Scholarships which will offer support to up to 25 outstanding postgraduate research students.  The VC PhD Scholarships will provide a full fee waive for up to 36 months in the case of full-time students and exceptionally 48 months in the case of part-time students.  Stipends (to cover living expenses) are not included in the scholarships and these must be provided by the student themselves or by a sponsor. 

This Scholarship programme will open on 4 March 2013 and will roll until 31 July 2013.  There are up to 25 scholarships available, which are nominally split between the 6 Academic Schools and Schools can take up more or less than their allotted share.  There is no requirement for a School to accept candidates.

The focus of the VC PhD Scholarships is on the outstanding nature of the candidate who must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • All candidates must demonstrate truly outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years full-time or 4 years part-time.
  • All candidates must satisfy the University’s minimum doctoral entry criteria for studentships of an honors degree at Upper Second Class (2:1) and/or an appropriate Masters degree or equivalent.
  • An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful and timely completion.  It is important to consider that in most cases the interpretation of ‘truly outstanding’ is likely to be those candidates with a First Class (Hons) degrees and/or a distinction at Masters, with clear documented evidence of drive, commitment and relevant skills.

Only the most outstanding candidates will be supported.  Full details and criteria are set out in the BU VC Scholarship 2013 Policy. Staff are asked to check the eligibility criteria carefully before nominating. 

The VC PhD Scholarship process will be managed and overseen by the Graduate School but administered through the Academic Schools.

The VC PhD Scholarships applications (available on the Graduate School website from Monday 4 March 2013) should be submitted to the relevant School Research Administrator at any time but no later than 31 July 2013.

Erasmus Mundus mobility to South Caucasus region and Ukraine for students and staff available now! -Deadline 28th February-

BU students and staff have been invited by Georg-August Universität Göttingen to apply for mobility at ALRAKIS II.

ALRAKIS II is one of the awarded Erasmus Mundus action 2 projects that promotes exchange mobility in the South Caucasus region and Ukraine. The beneficiary countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine. Our students and staff would be looking at applying at Target Group 2.

For more information please visit the project website and if you have any queries please contact Eva Papadopoulou at and 01202 968252

Please note that the deadline for this is 28th February 2013.

FREE workshop for researchers (PGRs and Researchers): Charting an entrepreneurial career: how researchers can control their professional destiny

Vitae and the Entrepreneurial Institution are pleased to announce two new enterprise workshops on the 5th March in Bristol and on the 7th March in London.

Wherever you are in your research career, whether you are applying for research funding, moving into a new career or starting your own business (commercial or social) this day will enable you to understand your enterprising potential to create impact through research and take your ideas into a business.

During the day, you will:

  • explore your own skills in relation to entrepreneurship
  • explore research impact in relation to grant applications and REF
  • explore different types of enterprise
  • hear from successful entrepreneurs
  • hear about social enterprise, commercialisation and knowledge exchange
  • network and plan next steps

To book your place on the workhops, please visit:

Tuesday 5th March 2013 –
Thursday 7th March 2013 –

PGR Mentoring Skills Workshops – new dates announced

Are you involved in mentoring within your School – or would you like to be?

Many people find themselves with this role and sometimes feel unprepared as if they are “making it up” as they go along. Being involved as a Mentor can be one of the more satisfying aspects being a PGR and also provide you with valuable skills and insights to apply to your own career development.

Mentoring can provide practical tools enabling you to get the best out of people – starting with yourself – and this experience can contribute to building your CV.

At the end of this session participants will

  • Be clear about the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor
  • Be clear about the support available to you as Mentor
  • Have verbal and non-verbal skills to build rapport

You have a choice of two dates:

Monday 4th March 2013 – 2 pm – 5 pm – PG146 – Thomas Hardy Suite – Poole House, Talbot OR
Tuesday 5th March 2013 – 9.30 am – 12.30 pm – EB202 – Executive Business Centre – Lansdowne

Numbers are restricted, so book early to avoid disappointment!  Email your preferred date to:




Transfer viva? Only 10 000 words(!)

"Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham


Preparing for your transfer viva – a mere 10 000 words and a separate 500 abstract.

After a bit of nudging from a few staff @HSC-BU, I thought to write a short on how to prepare for the transfer viva. I had mine in Dec 2012 and these are few things at the time that helped and a few I got the hang of post-viva. By now you should have done an RD6 and 1 Annual Review. These forms, available from your school administrator, help you put down what you are going to do for the next few years (sigh) and how you will ‘physically’ do it (double sigh). When I started my transfer viva, I took (i.e. copy and pasted) a lot of what was in my RD6 research plan and used it as the skeleton in order to write the 10000 words. I then looked at the BU PhD bible  – Code of Practice for Resarch Degrees booklet and borrowed a transfer viva from the school admins. The older ones  helped me for structure and format. And the same rules apply, be concise and write you abstract last.

The timeline for transfer from MPhil to PhD is usually a  year/and a half after you start (or submit your RD6, 24-36months for PT), once you hand it in, after your supervisors are ‘happy’, you will have a month before your viva. Have a chat with your school admin (for HSC, it is Paula Cooper and Sara Glithro), and your supervisors as they will read it, then look for examiners (2), an independent chair and a supervisor (if you wish; I asked mine, you don’t have to, so as to gain feedback, as he also took notes and could comment on my ‘performance’; all towards the final viva). There is a one page form that you and your supervisors need to fill in, hand in duplicates of form and of bound thesis and done. Not quite.

Take it very ‘seriously’, I took it for granted once written and discussed you would carry on the PhD (this is not always the case read the BU PhD bible), the quality of the document and performance in the viva voce matters. It should ressemble as much as possible the ‘final product’. Once you hand in your 10 000 words, read it the week before or the night before. I was really nervous but the best piece of advice I got was ‘go in and talk’ – you know your work the ‘best’: so pretend like you want your best friend to understand your work. A few things I could have done better? Better writing, made sure I did not repeat myself and written it more as a ‘story’. Using power point where each slide helps you plan what you will write. For me the viva was the best time to say this is my work and to gain (brutal) feedback from people from a similar field as it gives you time to plan your final product. One major thing I realised I needed to put my study in context and what it means to ‘science’.

Essentially it looked something like this:

  • Title page (Name, Title, Supervisors, School, University)
  • Acknowledgements (Thank you to your supervisors, school, funders…)
  • Abstract (500 words)
  • Table of contents (in a table with invisible borders)
  • List of Abbreviations (in a table with invisible borders)
  • Introduction (which is your literature review)
  • Research Plan: Methodology and justification of method(s) used (your literature review will help here)
  • Aim and Objectives – which are drawn from your research question
  • Progress to date: Research contribution to the field (a PhD means a new contribution to the field or new tools); Findings (Here – I only included the findings that I had ‘cleaned’ for the final table and I was sure I would be able to discuss if asked) and a discussion of your findings.
  • Ethical considerations (Ethics body and in the appendix letter of ethics body);
  • Conclusion & future work (what I infer from what is done so far and how it will lead to the next stage).
  • Reference list
  • Appendix (Tables, survey questionnaire, letters…)

Start with the ‘niggly’ bits, making sure your endnoteTM lets you insert during cite and write (the librarian can help you with this if you haven’t done the course, Emma Crowly for graduate school). So that it should only take a click to insert your bibliography as BU Harvard. I chose headings in the layout so that when I write my final thesis it will be a matter of adding heading and sub-heading titles. So for the table of contents: Use a table from excel or use Home>Headings, e.g. Heading 5. Abbreviations can be sorted with the function ‘sort’ in WordTM.

A few useful resources for writing:

Good luck!

PhD student at HSC? BEACON needs you

Ref: (

Wondered if you had thought of writing a few lines for this years Beacon on your PhD study.

Just a short summary.  It could be as little as 150 words, nothing to big.  Just to raise the awareness of your work internally.

Please email <> Thanks Sheetal!



14-15 February 2013

This two day Masterclass will be an introduction to Grounded Theory – theory developed from the data.  The masterclass has been designed to suit postgraduate students, academics and professionals who may wish to use grounded theory (GT) in their research but do not yet have full knowledge of the approach.  The masterclass can also be taken as a stand-alone Master’s level unit of study – Contact Dr Caroline Ellis-Hill for details:


Immy Holloway, Professor Emeritus in the School of Health & Social Care at BU.  Immy is a sociologist and has taught and supervised qualitative research for several decades.  She still actively pursues her interest in qualitative research by supervising PhD students and writing articles and books.  Immy used GT in her PhD before the proliferation of books and articles on GT.

Liz Norton is a Senior Lecturer at BU.  Her professional background is in education and nursing and her current academic interest and work is in public health.  Liz has a particular interest in Glaserian GT and her experience of using GT in practice includes completion of environment and health-related grounded theory studies for MPhil and PhD qualifications.

 Quotes from previous masterclass attendees:

“Their knowledge and expertise felt like a valuable resource open to all”

“Presenters were very experienced . . . particularly high quality and effective teaching methods”

Full details of the Masterclass and the online booking form can be found at:

5th Annual PGR Conference @ BU – REMINDER

A Celebration of BU PGR Research

Our annual conference is designed to showcase the best of BU’s postgraduate research and to provide a unique opportunity for you as PGRs to present your work within a safe learning environment. Our multi-disciplinary conference will allow for cross-school interaction as well as opportunities for collaboration, where appropriate.

The 2013 conference will build on the great success of the previous PGR Conferences held in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Call for Abstracts

We are inviting abstracts for oral, poster presentations AND new for 2013, a photography presentation – no matter at what stage you are in your Research Project. Presentations may focus on:

  • Research area
  • Specific methodological approach
  • Initial findings
  • Experience of your research journey e.g. transfer

There will be prizes for the best poster, oral and photography presentations. Please be aware that there are limited number of oral presentation slots.

We are also looking for volunteers to help chair sessions, so if you are interested please email the Graduate School.


Please see

How to Register

You will all need to register, whether you are contributing or just attending.  Please complete the booking form (conference booking form) and send via email to:


For submitting abstracts: Monday 25 March 2013
For attending the conference: Friday 12th April 2013

PGR Development Programme – February workshops

I just wanted to remind you about what’s on offer in February!  I’m still taking bookings for the following workshops, so please email if you would like to attend:

  • Action Research
    The aim of the workshop is to provide an overview of Action Research and its origins.  You will look at the introduction to the concept of “communicative spaces” and discuss the use of Action Research for a dissertation
  • Preparing for your Viva
    The aim of the workshop is to familiarise students with the purpose and the format of the oral examination of their thesis. The workshop will familiarise participants with the role of the internal and external examiner and the judgements they will be making in the course of the viva. The session will also include input from the subject Librarians on copyright procedures
  • Introduction to Focus Groups
    The session will briefly outline the origin of Focus Group Research, its underlying philosophy, and its place among qualitative methods.  The session will also address some more practical issues and the strengths and weaknesses of this particular qualitative method.
  • Practice- Led Research
    This workshop will provide an overview of what makes practice-led research different from other academic research, looking at some case studies.  This will be followed by a discussion around the issues and rewarding events that participants have encountered as practice-led researchers.

A full programme including dates and times can be found here: PGR Development Framework Prog _Feb workshops

Santander PGR Grants – Round Two is now open


This is an excellent opportunity for you to apply for funds to travel to at least one university from either the UK Santander Universities Network or to one of the Overseas Santander Partner Universities, to undertake a specific piece of work and build or develop links with international Researchers.  For this round, Santander are offering 10 x £2,000 grants for BU Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs).

Successful applicants will be expected to participate in general PR activities about their research. This may involve attending events and promoting the benefits of the funding.  

For further information, please read the GS Santander Travel Grants – Policy.

To apply, please complete the GS Santander Travel Grants – Application Form and submit it by email to the Graduate School (email: by 5 pm, Friday 8th March 2013.

PGR Development Framework Programme – new workshops announced

An additional workshop – An Introduction to Case Studies – has been added to the March Programme:

An Introduction to Case Studies
This introductory session will provide a general overview of case methodology. Key questions to be discussed are: When should case studies be used? What characterises a convincing case study research? What criticisms are commonly put forward against case study research and how can they be addressed?”

Date: Wednesday 20 March 2013
Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Room: EB303, Executive Business Centre – Lansdowne
Facilitator: Dr Fabian Homberg

A full list of March workshops can be found here:  PGR Development Framework Prog _ March workshops

April Events

PGR induction (Repeat workshop)
Outline: Introduction to BU’s academic and professional support for your research degree.  The session will also include an introduction to the Research Development Framework and how to map your personal development.
Date: Wednesday 24 April 2013
Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Room: PG22 – Poole House – Talbot Campus
Facilitator: Graduate School

Research Philosophy
Outline: The aim of this workshop is to examine the meanings of some key terms in the philosophy of science, with the objective of enhancing understanding of, and stimulating reflection on, some basic issues in research philosophy.
Date: Wednesday 24 April 2013
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Room: PG22 – Poole House – Talbot Campus
Facilitators: Professor Barry Richards



The Graduate School invites all PGR Students at BU to our PGR FILM NIGHT!

 It is the first of this year’s film nights which will be held regularly as part of the Graduates School’s social events calendar for Postgraduate Research students.

On WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY at 6pm the 1998 comedy hit ‘Rushmore’ will be screened in KG03.


For more details about the film please visit

NUMBERS ARE RESTRICTED so if you’d like to come along please email by midnight on Thursday 25 January

We hope to see you there!

PGR Development Scheme – Round 2 Applications for Funding now open

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that applications are now invited for Round 2 of the competition.

PGRs eligible to apply must submit an application form (below) to the Graduate School by 28 February 2013.

The funding is available for activities taking place between March 2013 and July 2013 (and exceptionally up to and including September 2013).

PGRs awarded funding under Round 1 will not be eligible to apply for further funding in Round 2.

The PGR Development Scheme 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).

Individual awards will provide financial support of normally up to £2,000 (and exceptionally £5,000) for research activities related to an individual PGR’s research project or personal development.

Examples of research activities covered by the Scheme include:

  • Research Activities
    • Conference attendance
    • Additional fieldwork
    • Other activities required to advance research e.g. visiting major libraries, museums, other research institutions (UK, EU or International)
    • Preparation of specialist material or data
    • In exceptional circumstances, research consumables and equipment (providing it is clear these would not normally be purchased by the School as part of the research degree)
  • Developmental Activities
    • Research development e.g. attending external training events specific to research activity
    • Personal development e.g. attending external personal development training events
  • Networking
    • Organisation of an academic conference at BU with external participants
    • Attendance at external networking events leading to advance of the research
    • 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 the Supervisory Team and the relevant Deputy Dean (Research & Enterprise) of the relevant Academic School.

PGRs wishing to apply must submit a completed GS PGR Development Fund Scheme – Application Form to the Graduate School ( by Thursday 28th February 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 GS Researcher Scholarships Scheme – Policy (2)

PGR Development Programme – New arrangements for the Library Workshops on 16th January 2013

Due to high demand, we need to change the venue and time for both library sessions on Wednesday 16th January 2013.  The new arrangements are as follows:

Time: 9 am – 10.15 am:
Finding information and Using Researcher Tools
Outline: The session will include an introduction to advanced searching skills, using citations smartly and analytical tools
Facilitator: Chris Wentzell

Time: 10.30 am – 12 noon
Managing your citations using Endnote and Endnote Web (Repeat workshop)
Outline: The session will include an introduction to Endnote and Endnote Web, exporting from databases, Cite While You Write tool
Facilitator: Emma Crowley

Venue: S102 – Studland House, Lansdowne Campus

 If you haven’t reserved a place and would like to come along please email

Developing a working paper at BU

I would like to make you aware of an exciting development at BU.

A multi-disciplinary group of BU academics has been meeting over the last 6 months in order to design a online journal that is capable of acting as a central focus for the dissemination of the high quality research and scholarly outputs from UG and PG dissertations, post graduate researchers, early career researchers and established academic staff. The group has designed a developmental working paper online journal that will support ‘would be’ authors and their potential publications. Although particular emphasis has been given to maximising high quality outputs of UG and PG students and early career academics, this online journal will be capable of supporting the potential of all those engaged in research and scholarship at BU.

Below are a series of Q & As:


What’s the name of the working paper?

The provisional title is eBU: Working Papers Online


How is the working paper structured?

The working paper will not be limited to any one discipline or allied to any one particular methodology, but will aim to publish articles driven by the key BU Research Themes: (Creative and Digital Economies, Culture and Society, Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, Environmental Change and Biodiversity, Green Economy and Sustainability, Health, Wellbeing and Ageing, Leisure and Recreation, Technology and Design). Apart from the build-up to launch, the working paper will have no deadlines or specific calls for papers. Instead, the working paper will work on a rolling submission process.

A set of author guidelines and details about formats are currently being considered and written. However, the guidelines are likely to accommodate a wide range of formats.


What are the submission processes for staff and students?

It is envisaged that staff will act as gatekeepers and encourage undergraduate and master’s students to submit high quality work into a format this is publishable. Post-graduate researchers and academic members of staff will be able to submit papers on their own accord.

After a short review from the editorial board, two designated BU academics will provide an initial quality check. The paper will then be uploaded to the internal intranet working paper site. This will allow any member of staff or student to read and offer feedback. However, within a few weeks the two designed reviewers will then provide a more comprehensive and detailed critical review. All reviews will take place in a safe, secure and INTERNAL environment. After a detailed review, students will then be encouraged to make any recommended changes and submit to external publication/or make their work available to be published on external working paper website.

This working paper is set to go live in March.


Further information

If anyone is interested in becoming involved in helping to create this online journal, and/or at an editorial level please get in touch with Andrew Harding (, Andrew Adams ( or Fiona Knight (


Reminder – Santander Travel Grants – Deadline for applications: Monday 14 January 2013

The Graduate School and the Development Office are pleased to announce the launch of a number of Santander Grants.

BU works closely with Santander, who are committed to supporting higher education and as such, are offering 25 x £1,000 grants for BU Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs).  These grants are specifically designed to allow PGRs to travel to at least one university from either the UK Santander Universities Network or to one of the Overseas Santander Partner Universities, to undertake a specific piece of work and build or develop links with international Researchers.

Successful applicants will be expected to participate in general PR activities about their research. This may involve attending events and promoting the benefits of the funding.  *Unsuccessful submissions from the last round of the Santander Scholarship funding (run by the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO)) cannot be resubmitted to this round. Previous unsuccessful applicants can submit new projects/ideas to this round.

For further information, please read the GS Santander Travel Grants – Policy

To apply, please complete the GS Santander Travel Grants – Application Form and submit it by email to the Graduate School (email: by 5 pm, Monday 14 January 2013.