Category / R & KE Operations

Serendipitous Impact and the Power of No: lessons from CEMP’s Research Away Day

On Friday February 13, 2015 eighteen researchers across all stages of their careers came together for our CEMP Research Away Day. Hosted at the Old School House By the Sea in Boscombe, the day focused on how we can foster our media & education research culture, from REF strategy to collaboration building, both at BU and beyond.

Kicking us off with REF and Impact, Rebecca Edwards from RKEO spoke about key issues including the new Open Access Guidelines and how we can work to evidence our impact. She summed up 8 key points to takeaway:

1. Know your Open Access
2. Go Gold when possible – use RKEO fund
3. Collaborate with other institutions and international colleagues
4. Identify and developing Impact Case Studies
5. Evidencing your Impact as you go along (testimonials, visitor counts, etc)
6. Promote your research on the BU research website
7. Aim to increase research income
8. Focus on PhD registrations and completions

Sound like a gigantic task for just one person? These goals are not for individuals to accomplish alone. Working in teams and groups is key for doing innovative research, producing outputs and building successful bids. Making connections between our work is a necessary beginning.

Isabella Rega’s Making Connections session got the group talking about where our interests intersect. Using three different coloured post-it notes, we wrote down the issues (green), methods (pink) and stakeholders (yellow) that we work with. Participatory research methods, HE teaching and learning, and Education and Social Change emerged as key overlaps.

Out of these connections some concrete plans emerged, including turning fusion project output into educational resources and a participatory methods workshop day.

From project plans to project afterlife, we shifted to speak about documenting and evidencing impact. We looked at four case studies of research projects including ETAG and Copyrightuser.org, their significance and who they reached. Rebecca Edwards provided advice on how we evidence, measure and track our project’s impact. Sometimes these impacts can be anticipated, but more often there is serendipity and surprise.

Tracking Impact

-Tiers of influence
-Is influencing an organisation enough? How do we understand what this was?
-Testimonials
-Formal letters from key institutions
-If you’ve done research at another institution it doesn’t count at our institution. Impact stays at institution. Reason is because it is usually about groups.
-Entire groups can be rewarded for impact
-Demonstrate the evidence of impact on policy —> Following the story
-Distinct contribution of the University
-Can’t always see the impact from the outset —> serendipity involved, not always
-visitors counts and the result of them

After a tasty, if unidentifiable food-filled lunch from Bosconova, we ran a reflection session on barriers to research bidding and publishing. Designed to get us thinking about the personal and structural constraints on our research, the session helped us room-source practical solutions to common challenges.

Richard Wallis got us back up on our feet with a enthusiastic round of Research Speed Dating. Partnering up with colleagues for short bursts of time, we quickly exchanged project ideas offering feedback and fostering more research connections. Julian McDougall and Richard Berger rounded out the afternoon with a go-around. Everyone shared their upcoming plans and outlined the support they would need to achieve them.

Described by participants as a “fantastic day,” we left feeling the best kind of inspired: more excited and less exhausted about the research plans that lay ahead for CEMP’s growing educational research community.

Anna Feigenbaum is a CEMP Fellow. To find out more about CEMP and how to get involved, check out the website: http://www.cemp.ac.uk/

Introducing Eva Papadopoulou the New Research Ethics and Governance Advisor

Hi, for those who do not know me, I am Eva Papadopoulou and I have been since September 2014, the new Research Ethics and Governance Advisor.

I am responsible for providing support and advice to students and academic colleagues on all aspects of ethics queries, process and governance. I am part of the Project Delivery Team, for more info of the team, see Shelly’s yesterday post

I look after the Online Ethics Checklist, which filters all ethics applications and collaborate with students and colleagues of all Faculties for the progress of their ethics relating to Undergraduate, Masters, PhD and staff studies/research. I am also the secretary of the Science, Technology & Health Research Ethics Panel, the Social Science & Humanities Panel and the University Research Ethics Committee.

I have been working at BU for the last 9 years, first at HSC as the administrator of the PDU scheme, then moved on to be the HSC Research Administrator and two years ago moved to the R&KEOps and worked with Business School, SciTec and finally EU projects. I am a BU School of Tourism Graduate and received my MSc in Tourism Management at 2003.

Outside of work I am a happily busy mama to 4,5 year old Kally and trying unsuccessfully to teach her Greek, latest approach is to find all words that derive from Greek, so far so good, hmm. I like to travel, usually back home to Greece and the East of England to see the family and also enjoy reading, my Kindle is like my second child, cooking and watching films.

 

Introducing Alice Brown, your Funding Development Officer (SciTech)

I am a Funding Development Officer supporting the endeavours of the Faculty of Science & Technology to succeed in being awarded research funding. I am here to provide assistance in the pre-award process. My work days are Tuesdays to Fridays. I will either be at Melbury House or in Christchurch House (phone number 01202 68247). Please do not hesitate to leave me emails any time and I will attend to them as soon as possible.

As a brief background to myself, just before commencing in this role, I was the Senior Research & Knowledge Exchange Officer at the Arts University Bournemouth as secondment cover. During that time, I managed research degree students and academic research, under which there was funding development work. Before that, I have relocated with my family from Australia, having worked for 7 years in the Western Australian State Government in legal, policy and research roles.

My interests are travelling, hiking, painting and fine dining.

Introducing Kerri Jones – RKEO Funding Development Officer for the Faculty of Science and Technology

I am a Funding Development Officer within RKEO, supporting the Faculty of Science and Technology. I am here to support academic colleagues in identifying suitable funding opportunities and applying for research funding. I can guide you through the proposal process  and provide advice on funder guidelines, terms and conditions and the costing process.

So, if you are thinking about applying for funding or have an idea that you would like to develop, please get in touch.

Previously I was part of the administration team in the school of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of Science Technology, as an Academic Quality Administrator. I was responsible for supporting colleagues with quality and regulatory matters.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling. I am also a big Formula 1 fan.

Free money! Free money! Fusion Investment Fund closes soon.

Okay so it’s not exactly free….you will have to do something for it but what if I told you that you will be hailed within BU, and who knows, maybe the world, as a researcher/support staff member extraordinaire! Your peers will bow down in the corridors in your honour, you will be met with applause when you enter the atrium.*

I know what you’re thinking….’This sounds brilliant! Where can I find out more?’ Just point your mouse here, my friend, and all will be revealed.

Applications close at 12pm this Friday 17th October, so don’t delay!

 

*This may not actually happen.

 

Please direct all initial enquiries to the Fusion Investment Fund Co-ordinator, Sue Townrow, at Fusion Fund.

The Fusion Investment Fund is managed by Samantha Leahy-Harland.

BRAD – Upcoming Opportunities

 Public Engagement Workshop Wednesday 23rd April 2014, 11:00-12:30 Talbot Campus
This session will be facilitated by Barry Squires, Public Engagement & Impact Manager, Research and Knowledge Exchange will explore how public engagement is conceptualised,
how it is developing across the higher education sector and why engaging the public with your research is increasingly essential for your career.

 Impact in Research Workshop Wednesday 23rd April 2014, 09:30-11:00, Talbot Campus
This workshop will be facilitated by Dr Rebecca Edwards, Research Development Officer, Research and Knowledge Exchange will explore what we mean by impact and why it is an increasingly important part of your research career.

 Financial Management Workshop Wednesday 14th May 2014, 15:00-16:00, Lansdowne Campus
This workshop will cover several topics ranging from; financial management, income and funding budgeting, financial resourcing and strategic financial planning.
This workshop will be facilitated by Jennifer Roddis and Paul Lynch, Research and Knowledge Exchange.

For more information about the above workshops and to book on please visit the Staff Development and Engagement Pages on the Staff Intranet,

 

Come along to the first RKEO coffee morning!

You said in our recent survey that you would like to see a quarterly coffee morning where you could have a chat with people from the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office. So we’ve organised some! The first event is on 22 May 2014, starting at 9.30am in the Retreat (Talbot campus). You’re welcome to come along and have a chat with us, or just to enjoy a coffee and cake. The next event (please note the change of date) will take place on 19 June in R303, Royal London House between 9am and 10am.

If you can’t make either of these dates, we have several more coffee mornings arranged for the next academic year; the first event of 2014-15 will be in the Retreat on 30 October.

We look forward to seeing you on 22 May!

Hot beverage and cupcake

Deadline! Panic. Click Submit: Grants Academy Diary Part 3

Email flurries. Cut-and-paste frenzies. Forgetting if draft v3.1.5 is most recent despite diligent attempts to effectively dropbox. Sound familiar? Grant deadline time demands we are at our sharpest, but more often finds us high on caffeine and flung headlong into chaos. Whether one clicks submit with confidence, hesitation or blind faith, when the closing hour comes, we breathe a sigh of relief. It’s out of our hands and into the 1 in 12 success rate abyss.

Like many colleagues, I’ve been on grant teams where ‘click submit’ was done with varying shades of satisfaction. But this time, something felt different. This wasn’t any ordinary bid. This was my Grants Academy bid. A bid that had gone through three days of extensive surgery via R&KE OP’s staff development programme on bid writing run by expert consultant Dr. Martin Pickard. It benefited from Martin’s expertise, as well as the critical eyes of five interdisciplinary BU colleagues also attending the workshop. Further developed by two CI collaborators,  two external peer reviewers,  BU Quality Approver Richard Berger and the devoted attention of my research officer Pengpeng Ooi, never before had I been on a grant handled with so much personalised and professional care.  This time when I clicked submit, there wasn’t a sentence worth changing.

In two earlier diary posts I discussed the daunting task of getting started with bid writing and my (somewhat unfounded) fears of impact agendas. After the first two workshops we each went off, brains buzzing with new tips and tricks, to independently work on our bid drafts. But rather than spend hours crafting confident cases for support, those two weeks during the start of spring semester saw little time to devote to redrafting. Like the students we sometimes bemoan, most of us ended up in a last minute ‘meet the deadline’ whirlwind, turning in work we were only half proud of.

Building on session one’s tips about project formulation and session two’s insights on expressing the wider value of our research, session three provided a simulated peer review process to help us better understand how bids are evaluated and scored.  This final stage of the Grants Academy began with a discussion of review criteria, followed by a tally of the scores we gave fellow academy members, and then individual rounds of feedback on each of our six draft bid submissions. While none of us broke most research funder’s thresholds of 70% approval, few of us felt we deserved to, at least not yet.

Offering a supportive environment to watch our work get torn apart — a necessary if uncomfortable part of the bid enhancement process — day three of Grants Academy proved as beneficial as the first two. Rather than disheartening, the patterns and repetition of criticism shared across our cross-disciplinary colleagues’ reviews helped us to hone in on what desperately needed fixing. This peer review process was topped off with one-to-one feedback from Martin on where to go next with our bid’s development.

After the session a few of us stayed behind, manically typing away, not wanting to forget any of our colleagues’ sage advice. I knew my deadline was only a few weeks away and I wanted that 60 up to a 90, to fill the gap of the 1 in 12 success rate with sure-fire reasons why we deserved funding. Over the next two weeks my CIs and I racked up 57 emails, 3 hours of skype meetings and 5 budget drafts — all for just a £10,000 bid. In the words of our Grants Academy Guru, “To compete, we train.”

My biggest takeaway tip for colleagues registered in an upcoming Grants Academy session, or those thinking about enrolling, would be to come with a bid in the early to mid-stages of development. (NOT something either brand new or nearly finished.) This will allow you to get the most out of the developmental process of the workshops. Attending the sessions forces you to make time for drafting by providing structured deadlines and feedback to carry forward. I chose to develop a small Fusion Funded pilot project. 

Anna Feigenbaum is a Lecturer in CMC group at the Media School. As part of her CEMP Fellowship she created this diary of her time at the Grants Academy.  You can read her Day One Diary post here and Day Two here.  

 

Grants Academy Diary – Day Two

After completing my homework, I arrived for day two of Grants Academy ready to watch my ‘one page proposal’ get ripped apart. Day one provided a new bag of tricks and background knowledge on funding bodies and their remits. Yet, rather than feeling more confident, I seemed to have developed a sudden outbreak of academic imposture syndrome. Taking a seat around our workshop table, I quickly realised I wasn’t alone. It seemed most of us participating in the Academy went home for a round of self-doubt:  Did our research really have any benefits? Were there enough people in our research networks? Do any of us actually have the skills (or time!) to coordinate a major research project?

Day two’s session was focused on locating benefits and articulating impact. Facilitator Martin Pickard once again dove right into the murky grant-writing world: The days of academic freedom are long gone. The only way to win funding is to wade into the dark waters and train for competition.

Our first job of the day was to learn how to uncover and articulate the outward-facing values of our research. While many of us in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities fear that impact must be financial, Martin showed us RCUK’s list of possible beneficiaries and impacts to diversify our thinking. These include the environment, health, society and citizenship among others. While all bids must clearly identify impacts to beneficiaries, our job is to ‘potentially impact,’ not to promise world change. Most of our research is making a minor contribution to a bigger problem. The task then is to make a strong case for the minor contributions we make.

To examine how an impact agenda reshapes the ways we present our projects, we workshopped Dr. Hywel Dix’s research proposal. Hywel and his collaborators are bidding for a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for a pilot study. Their research plan proposes to re-evaluate the tacit assumptions that work produced by contemporary authors late in their career is of inferior quality to their earlier work.

Martin put Hywel on the hot seat, asking him to identify impacts and beneficiaries.  At first it seemed difficult to think about this English literature project through the business-oriented language of impact agendas. But through collaborative brainstorming we came up with concrete ways groups of people would potentially benefit from Hywel and his team’s research:

Beneficiaries – Re-evaluating Literary Production in Later Life

  • Academic: scholars in literary studies
  • Cultural sector: contributes a new evaluative framework for making aesthetic judgement around authors work (i.e. impact prize competitions, Arts Council grants)
  • Students/Teachers: inform ways canonical literature is selected for curriculum and testing
  • People in later life:  placing value on these literary productions has the potential to impact people in later life with dementia and Alzheimer’s as writing and reading improves health and wellbeing

After lunch it was time for the dreaded peer reviews of our ‘one page proposal’ homework. Working in the silos of our own departments, on a day-to-day basis we rarely exchange ideas with colleagues across schools. As Communication Scholars read a Computer Science bid and a Business researchers evaluated a Social Work proposal, we realised what it takes to write clearly and convincingly outside our comfort zones. Having seven pairs of interdisciplinary eyes on each of our proposals was terrifying but invaluable. The peer review highlighted the importance of Martin’s advice to give reviewers exactly what they want to see. Use the remit and criteria to structure your arguments so a reviewer does not need to search through the document with a fine tooth comb to find key elements.

The peer review also pushed us to explain the basic tenants of our research. We easily come to take the big picture of our research for granted, when this is often what actually needs the most justification in our proposals.  We are accustomed to disciplinary conferences and peer review journals where we argue the fine points of theory, method and approach. While this does belong in the application to show rigour and expertise, without a clear case for why our research matters, we can’t win.

Anna Feigenbaum is a Lecturer in the Media School. As part of her CEMP Fellowship she is creating a diary of her time at the Grants Academy.  You can read here Day One Diary post here

Your chance to influence research and knowledge exchange support at BU – deadline looming

The deadline is looming for your chance to influence how you receive research and knowledge exchange support! The RKE Operations team are implementing improvements to the way we work and we want your feedback. Contribute by completing this short survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GTHQG3F by 9th February 2014 – and we’ll do our best to make sure you receive the kind of support you want.

Jenny Roddis

AHRC – So, why not apply?

At the end of our week focusing on AHRC, perhaps you are inspired and now want to see what opportunities are currently available….?

Please check the AHRC’s listing  for the most up to date information and specific closing dates and times for grants. The following are correct at the time of posting:

  • Data Exploration – creating new insight and value. This is collaboratively funded by the TSB, AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC and DSTL and involves an investment of up to £4.5m in collaborative research and development that addresses the technical challenges and business opportunities presented by the huge growth in data. Applicatants must register by 26/01/14 and the final application submitted by 05/03/14
  • Valuing Nature. A five year research programme which aims to better understand and represent the complexities of valuing the natural environment and to consider the wider societal and cultural value of ecosystems services. Funds of up to £1.1 million (80 per cent fEC) are available for a single grant of 5 years duration to support an interdisciplinary Programme Co-ordination Team. Closing date 20/03/14
  • New Generation Thinkers 2104, in collaboration with BBC Radio 3. Those selected will benefit from a unique opportunity to develop their own programmes for BBC Radio 3 and a chance to regularly appear on air. Closing date 06/02/14
  • Connected Communities Research Development Workshop on Addressing the Challenges of Disconnection, Division and Exclusion. Attendees at the workshop will have an opportunity to apply for ring-fenced funding for follow-up projects of up to £100,000 to support inter-disciplinary collaborative grants combining arts and humanities expertise with other research disciplines and community, policy and practice partners, to take forward the most innovative research ideas that emerge during the workshop. Closing date 30/01/2014
  • Digital Transformations Amplification Awards.  The aim of this call is to exploit the potential of digital technologies to transform research in the arts and humanities, to create exemplars of transformative approaches to digital arts and scholarship, and to ensure that arts and humanities researchers are at the forefront of tackling crucial issues such as intellectual property, cultural memory and identity, and communication and creativity in a digital age. Closing date 20/02/2014
  • Translating Cultures Innovation Grants. In a world seen to be increasingly characterized by transnational and globalized connections, the need for understanding and communication within, between and across diverse cultures is stronger than ever. The Translating Cultures theme addresses this need by studying the role of translation, understood in its broadest sense, in the transmission, interpretation, transformation and sharing of languages, values, beliefs, histories and narratives. Funding of between £150-200k is available. Closing date 06/03/2014
  • Science in Culture Innovation Awards. In the context of this call, innovation can take a number of forms: Exploring new inter-disciplinary concepts, methodologies and approaches drawing on both the arts and humanities and the sciences; Developing reciprocal collaborations of a new nature or in new or emerging fields of collaborative enquiry between the arts and humanities and the sciences and  Addressing innovative and inter-disciplinary research questions co-produced through dialogue between the arts and humanities and the sciences. Funding of up to £80,000 over a period of 12 months will be awarded to successful grants.  Up to 10 Innovation Awards are expected to be funded under the Science in Culture theme. Closing date 27/02/2014

The AHRC also supports other funding schemes:

Research Funding

 

Knowledge Exchange

 

International Research

 

Postgraduate Funding

You can read about BU’s success within the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Media School, and with the Block Grant Partnership. You can also read an overview of  the AHRC visit to BU on 20/1/14 and tips for submssion.

Please refer to previous posts on how to apply and make use of the AHRC’s own Research Funding Guide.

 You can search for opportunities on the AHRC website, but why not set up your own alerts in Research Professional so that you receive personalised emails regarding AHRC funding? You can, of course, set up tailored alerts for any other funders that meet your research needs.

You can also check the updates on the Research Blog for funding opportinities from major funders. This is normally posted by RKE  each week.

Please keep in touch with your RKE Operations Support Officer and seek their advice early in the application process. We all look forward to seeing an increase in AHRC bid submissions in the future!