Category / Research communication

Representing BU at the North South Irish Criminology Conference

I had the pleasure of presenting two papers at last week’s international criminology conference at my alma mater, University College Dublin (UCD), representing BU for the first time since joining last September. As with all international conferences, there was an eclectic mix of personalities, researchers, academics and practitioners, representing both sides of the border, as well as the UK, Canada and further afield. The field of criminology remains a niche area in the Republic (but growing slowly) and it was a pleasant surprise to see over 100 delegates at the two day conference presenting papers on prisons, probation, policing, offending, criminal law, victims and prisoners’ rights.

The conference opened with a keynote address by Prof Eamonn Carrabine from the University of Essex who gave an inspiring paper on what he (and others) terms the new criminology of war. Drawing on Mann, Klein and Ruggiero‘s work, he emphasised how war is an “image event”. Using war photography to support this thesis, he demonstrated the way in which war is an intense cultural production, in particular drawing our attention to the impact it has on the towns and villages that are bombarded, and the consequential (de)structural barriers to cultural evolution.

Jane Healy presents research findings at UCD’s criminology conference

 

The conference topic was “New Frontiers in Criminology” and there was certainly plenty of food for thought as to where criminological study might develop in the future, with other presentations that considered indigenous criminology, online crime and labour trafficking, for example.  These were complimented with more ‘traditional’ discussions around rape myths, desistance and youth justice. The majority of papers focussed on prisons, probations and police with only a limited number on victimology itself. My own paper highlighted the more unique forms of hate crime targeted against disabled people, including accusations of benefit fraud, the fluidity of both online and offline abuse, and the use or threat of sexual violence as a method of hate crime.

I jointly presented the only other hate crime paper at the conference with Dr James Palfreman-Kay from Equality & Diversity at BU.  Our hate crime project, which provides students with forum theatre scenarios to enable them to discuss hate crime in an interactive – and safe – way, was recognised by the panel audience as an innovative method of engaging in such a sensitive topic.

As new frontiers go, hate crime is an area ripe for research development in contemporary Ireland. Despite almost a quarter of a century of hate studies here in the UK, there is limited research in the Republic on this topic, with the exception of course of sectarian violence. There is currently no  hate legislation in the Republic, despite recent efforts and encouragement from the likes of Dr Jennifer Schweppe at the University of Limerick and a recent publication by Jennifer, Seamus Taylor, and others. Given the increasing hate crimes and incidents being reported in the UK, I really do hope to see the introduction of hate legislation in the Republic at the very least and would encourage potential PhD students to consider it as an avenue to contributory research.

Given the dearth of victimological papers (and hate studies) presented at the conference, we hope that we achieved our goal of introducting new avenues and ‘frontiers’ for future criminological research with colleagues overseas. We welcome further enquiries from home and abroad who might want to adapt or explore our methods or areas of enquiries. Their absence however did not detract from an interesting and enthusiastic gathering that highlighted so many other fruitful areas of research for me in the future. As an ECR, I left wanting to know more about everything from the demise of prisoners’ rights movements to the question of whether the State’s criminal justice system can ever be constrained through proportionality.  I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the conference and would encourage others to look out for the “NSICC” in future years. Highlights of the event can be found by following @UCDLaw or #NSICC on Twitter.

Dr Jane Healy is a Lecturer in Sociology and Crime & Deviance in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and recently completed her PhD in disablist hate crime

NIHR and World Health Organisation joint statement – have your say!

There is an increasing emphasis on the need for researchers and sponsors to publish, and disseminate, the results of the clinical studies that they conduct. Timely disclosure of results is important ethically, morally, in the interests of research integrity and from a waste reduction perspective.
Dissemination of results, whether favourable or not, also achieves transparency – increasingly important from the perspective of the recent introduction of the GDPR.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have signed-up to the WHO’s joint statement on public disclosure of results from clinical trials. The policy sets out the expectations and support on offer in order for research communities to comply. The draft policy is available to read, with a quick survey open until 21st September, for you to have your say.

BU has access to the ClinicalTrials.gov system – get in touch for access and for the opportunity to register your study and results in the public domain.

Dr Gavin or: how I stopped worrying and learned to love research

A lesson on patience

It apparently took J.D. Salinger 10 years to write his first novel, The Catcher in the Rye. J.K. Rowling spent about 6 years writing and re-writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I suspect publisher pressure accelerated things thereafter). As an early career researcher, I feel that since graduating from my doctorate and becoming independent, I can be less patient and eager for instant results – a feeling encouraged by social media and continuous metricisation.

My own current project, inspiratory muscle training for care home residents at risk of falling, can’t be compared to great achievements like those novels. But it is my ambition to undertake my own research project as principal investigator – and so I intend to savour the experience (i.e. be task oriented), rather than just chasing the outputs (i.e. being outcome oriented). I have learned to value iterative research designs, in that, the initial study’s outcomes inform the subsequent study’s methodology, and so on. However, this method presents its own uncertainties, as the researcher has to relinquish their control over the study.

Several lessons on managing myself

That said, I am beginning to see the need to set regular targets to keep the momentum on a project like this going. Taking my research beyond the controlled ‘safety’ of the physiology laboratory (satisfying internal validity), into a brave new world of the care home setting (satisfying external validity), requires working with research ‘end users’, be it: service managers, staff or residents. I’m finding the process: i) slow, care providers have additional administrative requirements, ii) essential, in laying trusted foundations for a long-term project, and iii) rewarding, by implementing research into the real world and establishing impact from the outset.

Since being awarded ACORN funding, my summer has been spent: writing for ethical approval, satisfying HR admin, recruiting care home partners, revising protocols, creating Plan B, writing Plan B ethical approval, piloting testing, revising participant selection criteria, and being trained by my PhD student (a lesson in humility, if nothing else). Even supported by an industrious research assistant this has felt a slow journey, with weekly peaks and troughs. I have even begun an 8 week period of inspiratory muscle training myself, to understand how care home residents can improve, feel challenged, and require further support. This has been equally useful to highlight practicalities – my challenges have been fitting 30 breaths, morning and night, into my daily routine; in contrast care residents’ challenges are likely to relate to effort, guidance, and motivation for training.

 

 

 

 

 

Research is an intellectual and logistical marathon

My initial participant selection criteria excluded all people with: dementia, COPD and respiratory difficulties, and cardiovascular diseases. My journey has presented three worries thus far: i) the funding expenditure deadline, ii) recruiting care homes and, iii) the selection criteria. In academia, the deadlines, targets and metrics are omnipresent, arguably more so since the increase in tuition fees.

Following the joy of being awarded research funding, comes the deadlines of expenditure (simple, if it were not for standard processes – ethical clearance, securing HR contracts, recruitment, and piloting) and the deliverables. I’m highly grateful of the ongoing support I receive, however I strongly believe that HE institutions must be realistic when financing projects and staff. Research is a slow process; outcomes cannot always be constrained to exact dates, as much as quality research cannot be established in rushed expenditure.

Mostly recently my challenge has been in recruiting care homes, particularly due to my selection criteria. This presents the methodological conflict between internal validity (i.e. the controlled laboratory) and external validity (i.e. the unpredictable care environment). Should I maintain my exclusion criteria, even though the majority of care home residents have dementia and/or COPD? Or relax the criteria to reflect the real environment and achieve recruitment? The former would make for more publishable data; the latter would support a Research Council funding bid (ah, I nearly forgot…must submit one of those by April 2019). Again, tempus fugit.

Self-experimentation

In this this social media age, time can appear condensed; two days can seem like an age, an afternoon of no replies, an epoch. A study in the 2017 Altmetric Top 100 provides compelling evidence that regular Smartphone use impairs cognitive performance by re-orienting attention. I’ve ‘disconnected’ from using a Smartphone and Facebook; this works for me. Regardless, I still have to exercise discipline in unnecessary email checking and now time-block my diary for: education, research or practice. I seriously recommend, as an academic, experiment on yourself. J.B.S. Haldane was a notable and prolific example of a self-experimenting physiologist. Yet whether it’s inspiratory muscle training or reducing Smartphone use, experiment on yourself – assess how you respond, identify influential variables and intervene if you wish.

 

 

 

 

How my ACORN grows

The simple truth is I don’t have a study finish date. The logic is if I am flexible on time, and put lots of my own effort in, then I will ultimately be able to generate both output and impact. There’s the psychological advantage too: by not having a finish date, I also stop the project becoming ‘work’. Pressures, missed opportunities, worrying others are publishing – these would stop research being fun. Academic success is not proportional to effort alone, however developing partnerships beyond academia is.

Being an academic is great – relative freedom, interesting colleagues, working with students, and contributing to societal value. Personally I’m not sure I’ll ever stop worrying, nevertheless, I have learnt to expect challenge on a near daily basis. This is notably relevant for the early career researcher looking to develop into an independent researcher, capable of sustaining their own work. Academia will always have a mountain to climb. I learnt to relax, stop worrying and love research by:

  1. Indulging in ‘quiet time’ – think, talk and share ideas
  2. Accepting failure
  3. Avoiding perfectionism
  4. Prioritising – day by day, week by week, time-block based on what tasks arise
  5. Avoiding distraction – e.g. social media detox / only read emails after late morning

Dr James Gavin

Dept. Sport & Physical Activity

Faculty of Management

Email jgavin@bournemouth.ac.uk

Phone 012029 66303

Conference on Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators: Contemporary insights from Research and Practice

On 18th July, the conference titled “Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators- Contemporary Insights from Research and Practice” was held at the Talbot Campus. The conference brought together academics, entrepreneurs, professionals, and students to discuss cutting edge insights from theory and practice of women entrepreneurship.

The day started with Dr Mili Shrivastava, organiser of the conference, highlighting the importance of women entrepreneurship and introducing the speakers.  The first speaker was Professor Claire Leitch from Lancaster University. Prof Leitch is the editor of International Small Business Journal, a leading entrepreneurship field Journal. She presented her work on women entrepreneurship as a gendered niche and its implications for regional development policy. Following this stimulating talk emphasizing the role of geography for women entrepreneurship, Professor Helen Lawton Smith from University of London, discussed academic women entrepreneurs and research commercialisation by them at UK Universities. The third speaker was Erin Thomas Wang, founder of Makingmumpreneurs. com. She shared unique perspectives from her start- up journey.

In the afternoon session, Professor Lynn Martin, an academic entrepreneur from Angela Ruskin University, discussed her perspectives on women entrepreneurship from both research and practice. Following her talk, Dr Mili Shrivastava presented contemporary insights from her project with Gabriel Glixelli on women entrepreneurs in High technology industries. Finally, Ms Sarah Veakins, Marketing advisor of Outset, a government organisation advocating women enterprise talked about her experiences in supporting women entrepreneurs in the region and her perspectives on starting-up.

The Conference organically developed into a forum for compelling discussion on various aspects of women innovation and entrepreneurship such as gender, society, regional context and role of education that emerged throughout the day.  It became an innovative setting for stimulating discussion on cutting-edge research and practice of women entrepreneurship and innovation with entrepreneurs and academics coming together for an insightful and enriching day.

 

Updated HRA and HCRW Statement of Activities and Schedule of Events published

What is the significance of the Statement of Activities and Schedule of Events?

When the Health Research Authority (HRA) approval process was introduced in March 2016, the Statement of Activities (SoA) and Schedule of Events (SoE) documents were made mandatory for non-commercial studies – those initiated and managed by non-commercial organisations such as Universities, NHS Trusts, charities etc.
The two documents must be submitted alongside your study documents when seeking NHS Research Ethics Committee approval, and the approval of the HRA, as the ‘umbrella organisation’.

With the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations, the HRA and HCRW have amended the two documents. They may be found here.

Who is ‘HCRW’?

HCRW stands for Health and Care Research Wales, and they have recently aligned its processes and paperwork with the HRA’s, so as to streamline and make consistent the research application process within England and Wales. Until recently the HRA was the umbrella organisation in England only, and a separate process was required if you wished to include research sites in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland*.

*If you wish to include sites from Scotland and Ireland, then the ‘old process’ is still to be followed. Contact Research Ethics for guidance.

What do I need to do?

If you are currently awaiting your approvals from the REC and HRA/HCRW, you do not need to do anything unless otherwise instructed by the HRA/HCRW. If you are concerned please get in touch with your HRA assessor, or their queries line.

If you are simply thinking of introducing your research into the NHS, are at your beginning stages, or you are currently compiling your study documents, then please remember to use the new versions of the SoA and SoE.
Please get in touch with Research Ethics for guidance on any aspects of clinical research, guidance, and if not already obtained, to request sponsorship of your study. Guidance and useful documents may also be found on the Clinical Governance blog.

Plan S – Making Open Access a reality by 2020

On 4 September 2018, 11 national research funding organisations, with the support of the European Commission including the European Research Council (ERC), announced the launch of cOAlition S, an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles.

cOAlition S signals the commitment to implement, by 1 January 2020, the necessary measures to fulfil its main principle: “By 2020 scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.”

Further information on cOAlition S can be found here – https://www.scienceeurope.org/coalition-s/

Some reactions can be found here –

LERU

Nature

Science

STM

NIHR call for peer reviewers

The National Institute for Health Research are in urgent need of psychiatrists and psychologists to peer review funding applications.

See the original tweet here advertising this opportunity, and how to apply here*.

*The link takes you to how to apply as a professional peer reviewer, from any clinical speciality. You can review for the NIHR for professional development (amongst other initiatives), and they need a wide range of expertise:

  • Academics
  • Clinicians
  • Health service managers and clinicians
  • Practitioners
  • Public health and related professionals
  • Social care sector workers
  • Patients and the Public
  • Anyone whose work has a potential impact on health.

 

Updated HRA and HCRW Statement of Activities and Schedule of Events published

What is the significance of the Statement of Activities and Schedule of Events?

When the Health Research Authority (HRA) approval process was introduced in March 2016, the Statement of Activities (SoA) and Schedule of Events (SoE) documents were made mandatory for non-commercial studies – those initiated and managed by non-commercial organisations such as Universities, NHS Trusts, charities etc.
The two documents must be submitted alongside your study documents when seeking NHS Research Ethics Committee approval, and the approval of the HRA, as the ‘umbrella organisation’.

With the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations, the HRA and HCRW have amended the two documents. They may be found here.

Who is ‘HCRW’?

HCRW stands for Health and Care Research Wales, and they have recently aligned its processes and paperwork with the HRA’s, so as to streamline and make consistent the research application process within England and Wales. Until recently the HRA was the umbrella organisation in England only, and a separate process was required if you wished to include research sites in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland*.

*If you wish to include sites from Scotland and Ireland, then the ‘old process’ is still to be followed. Contact Research Ethics for guidance.

What do I need to do?

If you are currently awaiting your approvals from the REC and HRA/HCRW, you do not need to do anything unless otherwise instructed by the HRA/HCRW. If you are concerned please get in touch with your HRA assessor, or their queries line.

If you are simply thinking of introducing your research into the NHS, are at your beginning stages, or you are currently compiling your study documents, then please remember to use the new versions of the SoA and SoE.
Please get in touch with Research Ethics for guidance on any aspects of clinical research, guidance, and if not already obtained, to request sponsorship of your study. Guidance and useful documents may also be found on the Clinical Governance blog.

 

‘Research changed my life’ – NIHR stories

The National Institute for Health Research have gathered some inspiring stories from people across England, whose lives have been transformed by clinical research. The stories cover a wide range of health conditions.

You can read them here.

Remember that support is on offer at BU if you are thinking of introducing your research ideas into the NHS – email Research Ethics and take a look at the Clinical Governance blog.

Dr Paul Whittington attends Life Beyond the PhD 2018 Conference

Dr Paul Whittington pictured front far left

Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cumberland Lodge – an educational charity which tackles social divisions by promoting creative thinking and inclusive dialogue – held its 11th annual ‘Life Beyond the PhD’ conference.

Held over 5 days, the conference brought together PhD students and early career researchers for thought-provoking workshops, presentations and activities which explored the value of doctoral research both inside and outside of academia. Underpinning each of the activities was the Cumberland Lodge’s ethos of inclusivity, and insightful, interdisciplinary discussion.

Dr Paul Whittington, who completed his PhD in 2017 in the Faculty of Science & Technology, attended and benefitted greatly from presentations which included a variety of topics: Research Culture in the UK, Self-Leadership for Researchers, Techniques for Impact through speaking and writing, Public Engagement and Writing Interdisciplinary Research Proposals. These were presented by a variety of academics from institutions, including The University of Cambridge, Guardian Higher Education Network, Government Equalities Office and the University of London.

Paul also had the opportunity to collaborate with PhD students from around the country and to discuss and present his research to other delegates. On one day, he participated in an interdisciplinary team project which involved producing and presenting a research proposal tackling some form of social exclusion to a panel followed by a Q&A session. Paul presented a slide and subsequently his team won the challenge and received the “funding” – a box of chocolates that was then shared amongst the other teams.

Paul said: “Thank you very much to the Doctoral College for providing me with the opportunity to attend the Life Beyond the PhD Conference at Cumberland Lodge. It was very valuable to me and greatly appreciated.”

Rohingya refugees remain a heavy burden on Bangladesh

The Rohingya people of Myanmar are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The Myanmar government doesn’t consider them as citizens and deprives them of basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

To avoid persecution, waves of Rohingya people have taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh in recent decades, with particular flash points in 1978, 1992 and 2012.

The latest and largest mass exodus to Bangladesh took place in late August 2017. Within a month, around half a million Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh. This influx gradually slowed down, but did not stop there. A year later, the total number of Rohingya in Bangladesh is estimated to be 918,000, with around 700,000 new arrivals since August 2017.

The Rohingya refugees are confined within several camps in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, which are managed jointly by the government and a coordinating body of international organisations called the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). The largest of these, which I visited in August 2018, is known as the Kutupalong camp and hosts more than a half a million people. The camp seems neverending, with shelters, shops and narrow paths leading to every corner.

The Kutupalong site covers about 6,000 acres and is densely populated with eight square metres per person. The sites are highly vulnerable to rain, floods, cyclones, fire and landslides. Access to basic services is still insufficient, and there are poor quality shelters, latrines and delivery clinics. According to the ISCG’s 2018 joint response plan, 12,200 metric tonnes of food per month and 16m litres of safe water per day are needed to sustain the refugee population.

Disappearing forests

From what I saw, the environmental impact of the crisis is clearly devastating. A local forest officer told me that, in the past, the site upon which the Kutupalong camp now stands was a protected forest. Now, not a single large tree can be seen.

Many local Bangladeshis around the camps previously depended on nearby forests – to collect honey, and use dead branches and leaves as firewood. These forests are now disappearing.

Near the camp, I saw many large holes, evidence of the complete uprooting of trees to meet the demands for firewood. Bangladesh’s forest department is relentlessly trying to protect the nearby forests, but doesn’t have enough manpower to maintain the vigil 24 hours a day.

There is no clear boundary to the camp, and nearby I saw some Bangladeshi settlements. The demarcation is obvious: if a group of houses is surrounded by large trees then it is a Bangladeshi settlement, if not, it’s a Rohingya settlement.

The area used to be a habitat for many forest animals including about 40 elephants. The animals are now all gone and the elephants are trapped in another small patch of forest nearby, a local forest officer told me. In the early part of 2018, some elephants attacked Rohingya settlements.

Impact on local economy

The local economy of the camps seem to be thriving and the Kutupalong site is full of small shops selling many kinds of goods. The shop sellers are largely Rohingya, though there is reportedly some Bangladeshi involvement, too.

The presence of the refugees has imposed a heavy financial burden on the Bangladeshi government. One government officer told me that about 2,000 government officials are involved in the management of the camps at various levels – at an annual cost of US$15.24m to the Bangladeshi government. This is a huge sum, considering the per capita annual GDP of Bangladesh is only about US$1,700.

It was the local community in the area that provided much needed early support to Rohingya refugees in August 2017, before aid arrived. Since then, research has begun to highlight the impact of the Rohingya refugees on the local communities, including on the price of local goods and on the local job market

In June 2018, the Bangladesh government signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of facilitating the voluntary repatriation of 700,000 Rohingya back to Myanmar, but the prospect of actual returns is in question because of the previous experience of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Meanwhile, they continue to see Bangladesh as a place of refuge, as they have for decades. To ensure voluntary repatriations happen, full assurance is required that they will not be persecuted upon their return.

The ConversationMeanwhile, a longer term, sustainable solution is required for the area, one which secures the safety and livelihoods of both those Rohingya people in fear for their lives, and the hosts who have given them sanctuary.

Mehdi Chowdhury, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

New BU publication disability & pregnancy

Two days ago the Open Access journal BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth published an important article on women with disabilities and their experiences with the maternity services when pregnant [1].  The new paper Dignity and respect during pregnancy and childbirth: a survey of the experience of disabled women’ has been co-authored by BU’s Dr. Jenny Hall (Centre for Excellence in Learning/CEL) and Prof. Vanora Hundley (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health/CMMPH) in collaboration with Dr. Bethan Collins (formerly of BU and now based at the University of Liverpool) and BU Visiting Faculty Jillian Ireland (Poole NHS Foundation Trust). The project was partially funded by the charity Birthrights and Bournemouth University.

Women’s experiences of dignity and respect in childbirth revealed that a significant proportion of women felt their rights were poorly respected and that they were treated less favourably because of their disability. The authors argue that this suggests that there is a need to look more closely at individualised care. It was also evident that more consideration is required to improve attitudes of maternity care providers to disability and services need to adapt to provide reasonable adjustments to accommodate disability, including improving continuity of carer.

 

Congratulations!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health

 

Reference:

  1. Jenny Hall, Vanora Hundley, Bethan Collins & Jillian Ireland (2018) Dignity and respect during pregnancy and childbirth: a survey of the experience of disabled women, BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, 18:328

Brexit: champagne, parmesan, prosecco and feta could soon be at the centre of negotiations

As Brexit day creeps closer, one issue that remains unresolved is the way that food names will be protected in Britain and the EU. From parmesan and feta to cornish pasties and Bavarian beer, the EU is fiercely protective over protected designations of origin (PDOs) or protected geographical indications (PGIs).

A number of highly popular products are protected under this legal framework that dictates certain products can only be produced in certain regions. So champagne must be produced in the Champagne region of France and prosecco in a small pocket of north-eastern Italy. These are products with big market shares in the UK, with consumer loyalty being built up and consolidated through the use of these reputable geographical names.

The issue is also important to the UK. Many British products are also protected under the EU regime. It helps protect both their quality and value.

Accept no imitations.
Shutterstock

But when the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be under the laws that govern the protective status of these products. The government’s recently launched white paper, which outlined the UK’s plans for Brexit, declares that Britain will set up its own protection of geographical names to provide for continuous protection of UK products within the UK. But it doesn’t mention any continuation of the EU’s protection scheme.

Some in Brussels have expressed fear that British producers will start exploiting previously protected European names. Yet, rather ironically, British products would not lose their status in the EU (and could still seek new EU registrations in the future), since the EU allows for the protection of geographical names from non-EU countries. It’s an imbalance which seems to please British negotiators.

So, the European Commission fears that after Brexit the high level of protection that European products currently enjoy in the UK under EU law may evaporate. The white paper proposal rather contrasts with the commission’s proposal, which suggests that the UK continue protecting geographical indications, as it does under the EU.

US interference

But the EU’s desire that post-Brexit Britain keep its protection of geographical indications is bound to collide with US strategic interests. The US position is an important factor to take into account in the Brexit negotiations. If the UK signs a trade deal with the US, it will likely clash with a lot of EU regulations – including provisions governing the use of geographical names for food and beverages.

The US plays by different rules when it comes to the protection of these names. There are numerous US food companies that freely use European geographical expressions (including parmesan and feta for cheese) to identify products that have not been produced in the relevant European locations. In the US, these are considered to be generic names that describe the products and cannot be monopolised by anyone, not even by the producers coming from the relevant European geographical area.

Is it feta or ‘Greek-style cheese’?
Shutterstock

That is why the US is lobbying the UK to abandon the EU’s protection of geographical indications, namely to allow US food and beverage companies to enter the British market by freely using European names. A US-UK trade deal would likely be contingent on the UK dropping the EU-level protection of geographical indications. But this, in turn, would scupper the prospects of a trade deal with the EU – an even bigger trading partner for the UK.

Sticking point

The EU has continuously placed great emphasis on the protection of its geographical names during trade negotiations. It proved to be a big sticking point in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. France and Greece, for example, threatened to veto a deal with the US unless it upheld their geographical indications. More recently, Italy’s minister for agriculture noted that Italy may not ratify the EU’s trade deal with Canada because, in his view, it does not adequately protect Italian geographical names.

The ConversationIt is therefore not a stretch to say that the entire Brexit deal could hinge on the issue of geographical indications. There is no doubt that providing a level of protection in the UK which is comparable to the current EU scheme – for example, via a mutual EU/UK recognition scheme – would facilitate an agreement not only on the specific issue of geographical names, but also of the entire Brexit deal. This would, however, make favourable trade agreements between the UK and the US less likely. The battle over geographical indications will surely go on.

Enrico Bonadio, Senior Lecturer in Law, City, University of London and Marc Mimler, Lecturer in Law, Bournemouth University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Open competition for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Awards 2018

While at RKEO we are busy with supporting BU applicants writing proposals for MSCA Individual Fellowships 2018 call (deadline 12 September 2018), the European Commission has opened the fifth edition of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Awards competition to all current and former MSCA Fellows.

The procedure is rather simple – together with a short video, fellow should submit a current CV including the following information:

  • Full name and contact address/Email address/Telephone number;
  • Current affiliation and organisational address including country;
  • Reference number and title of your grant agreement and the MSCA Action under which your project was/is funded;
  • Link to your project and overall work.

The deadline for submissions of videos and supporting documents is on 31 August 2018.

The competition is organised alongside the MSCA Conference 2018 hosted in Vienna by the Austrian EU Presidency on 1-2 October 2018. Please find more information on competition following this link.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) aim to support the career development and training of researchers in all scientific disciplines through international and intersectoral mobility. By funding excellent research and providing attractive working conditions, the MSCA offer high quality professional opportunities open to researchers of any age, nationality or discipline.

Bournemouth University currently hosts six MSCA fellows. If you have an excellent research project idea and need help in finding EU or other international funding source, please contact Ainar from RKEO Funding Development Team.