Category / Research communication

Future of Complex Innovative Trial Design

The latest Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) publication on the last day of March is an editorial in the Nepal Journal of  Epidemiology.  This editorial ‘The Promising Future for Complex Innovative Trial Design in Clinical Research’ has as its lead author, FHSS’s Visiting Faculty Dr. Brijesh Sathian.

 

Reference:

  1. Sathian, B., van Teijlingen, E., Banerjee, I., Asim, M., Kabir, R. (2023) The Promising Future for Complex Innovative Trial Design in Clinical Research. Nepal Journal of  Epidemiology, 13(1):1256-1257.

 

GoodBye JeS, Hello TFS

 

 

 

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme has been creating a funding service that is easy to use and supports everyone involved in research funding.

The new Funding Service is designed to be simpler and more intuitive to use. It will provide consistent information requirements and assessment criteria, making it simpler for applicants and assessors.

Guidance on the application process will be supplied within the service, reducing the need to look for additional information in multiple places.

UKRI will continue to operate the existing system (Je-S) for application and award management. When applying for an opportunity on the UKRI funding finder, you will be taken directly to the correct application system.

Over time, opportunities will be transitioned to the new service. For the details of each council transitioning from JeS have a look at this page.

If you have projects in planning stage get in touch with RDS and we can help you with any queries about transitioning to the new service and calls affected by the move.

If you have not used the Funding Service before, the first step is to create an account. The process is straightforward and quick, so you can get started on your application as soon as possible.

RDS will continue to support you as before from your bid preparation stage and approvals before submissions to award management in the new service.

Conversation article: Bones like Aero chocolate – the evolution adaptation that helped dinosaurs to fly

Dr Sally Reynolds writes for The Conversation about new research into the structure of dinosaur bones…

Bones like Aero chocolate: the evolution adaptation that helped dinosaurs to fly

Dinosaurs once dominated Earth’s landscapes.
AmeliAU/Shutterstock

Sally Christine Reynolds, Bournemouth University

It’s sometimes difficult to imagine how the planet we call home, with its megalopolis cities and serene farmlands, was once dominated by dinosaurs as big as buses and five-storey buildings. But recent research has helped deepen our understanding of why dinosaurs prevailed: the answer may lie in their special bones, structured like Aero chocolate.

Brazilian palaeontologist Tito Aureliano found that hollow bones filled with little air sacs were so important to dinosaur survival, they evolved independently several times in different lineages.

According to the study, aerated bones evolved in three separate lineages: pterosaurs, technically flying reptiles, and two dinosaur lineages theropods (ranging from the crow-sized Microraptor to the huge Tyrannosaurus rex) and sauropodomorphs (long-necked herbivores including Brachiosaurus). The researchers focused on the late Triassic period, roughly 233 million years ago, in south Brazil.

A macro close-up shot of an opened bar of Aero chocolate, with the corner broken off, exposing the unique bubble texture from which it gets it name.
Hollow dinosaur bones, structured a bit like this chocolate, proved to be a major advantage.
Kev Gregory/Shutterstock

Every time an animal reproduces, evolution throws up random variants in genetic code. Some of these variants are passed on to offspring and develop over time.

Charles Darwin believed evolution created “endless forms most beautiful”. But some adaptations emerge spontaneously time and time again, a bit like getting the same hand of cards on multiple occasions. When the same hand keeps cropping up, it’s a sign that evolution has hit upon an important and effective solution.

The variant the Brazilian team studied was aerated vertebrae bones, which would have enhanced the dinosaurs’ strength and reduced their body weight.

Light but mighty

Your regular deliveries from Amazon or other online retailers come packed in corrugated cardboard, which has the same advantages as aerated bones. It is light, yet tough.

Corrugated cardboard or as it was first known, pleated paper, was a man-made design experiment that was hugely successful and is now part of our everyday lives. It was patented in England in 1856 and was initially designed to support top hats which were popular in Victorian England and the US at the time.

Three years later, Darwin published his On the Origin of Species which outlined how evolutionary traits that create advantages are more likely to be passed on to future generations than variants which don’t.

Close up of stacked brown recycled carton
Cardboard is strong and light.
Shawn Hempel/Shutterstock

CT scan technology allowed Aureliano and his colleagues to peer inside the rock-hard fossils they studied. Without the modern technology, it would have been impossible to look inside the fossils and detect the air sacs in the spinal columns.

The study found no common ancestor had this trait. All three groups must have developed air sacs independently, and each time in slightly different ways.

The air sacs probably enhanced oxygen levels in the dinosaurs’ blood. The Triassic period had a scorching hot and dry climate. So more oxygen circulating in the blood would cool dinosaur bodies more efficiently. It would also allow them to mover faster.

The air sacs would have buttressed and reinforced the internal structure of the dinosaurs’ bones while creating a greater surface area of attachments for large, powerful muscles. This would have enabled the bones to grow to a far larger size without weighing the animal down.

In living birds aerated bones reduce overall mass and volume, while enhancing bone strength and stiffness – essential features for flight.

Palaeontology not only tells the story of what might have been for Earth, had it not been for that infamous asteroid, but also helps us learn about the evolution of still living creatures.

Prehistoric connections

Echoes of this dinosaur legacy lie in many animals alive today. It is not only long-dead animals which found this type of adaptation useful. Many bird species living today rely on hollow bones to fly. Others animals use the air sacs to buttress and strengthen their large bones and skulls, without weighing them down.

An excellent example of this is the elephant skull. Inside elephant skulls are large air sacs which allow the animal to move its massive head and heavy tusks without straining the neck muscles.

Anatomy of a flat bone.
OpenStax College, CC BY

The human brain is also protected by two layers of hard, compact, bone (inner and outer tables) which sandwich a layer of softer, spongey and aerated bone in between, known as the diploe. This allows our skulls to be light, but strong and able to absorb shocks to cranium.

These are examples of convergent evolution in which animals are faced repeatedly with the same problem, evolving similar – but not always identical – solutions each time. Animals today are playing by the same evolutionary playbook as the dinosaurs.The Conversation

Sally Christine Reynolds, Principal Academic in Hominin Palaeoecology, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

European research project to promote local food purchasing and reduce food waste

A new European research project will enable consumers to find and buy local food supplies, reducing waste and supporting sustainable purchases.

FoodMAPP logoThe FoodMAPP project – being led in the UK by Bournemouth University (BU) – will develop a searchable map-based platform that will enable consumers to search and buy food products directly from local suppliers.

Currently within Europe food is transported, on average, 171km from farm to fork. 26 per cent of global carbon emissions come from food and large volumes of food are wasted.

The FoodMAPP project aims to address these challenges by enabling consumers to identify and purchase local sources of food in real time to shorten supply chains and reduce food waste, while also providing additional sustainable income to food producers and providers.

A consortium of European partners, comprising academic partners in Croatia, Hungary, Spain and Belgium and industry partners in France & Austria will support the project.

BU’s involvement in FoodMAPP will be led by Associate Professor Jeff Bray and supported by an interdisciplinary research team from across the university including Professor Katherine Appleton, Professor Juliet Memery, Dr Roberta Discetti and Dr Vegard Engen.

Dr Bray said: “Our current food supply system is not sustainable both in terms of its ability to reliably provide the right nutrition for a growing world population and in terms of the environmental footprint of current practices.”

“The project aims to transform local food supply reducing food miles, reducing food waste and increasing localised food supply resilience.”

The FoodMAPP project team gathered outside a building

The FoodMAPP project team

BU led on the development of the four-year project, which has been awarded €584,200 from Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, alongside additional funding from UKRI to support BU’s continued inclusion.

The European coordinator is Associate Professor Vinko Lešić from Zagreb University (Croatia) and partners include Ghent University (Belgium), Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary) and CREDA (Centre for agro-food economics and development, Spain) alongside partners from the food industry – Institute Paul Bocuse (France) and Ronge & Partner (Austria).

International Women’s Day 2023 – #EmbraceEquity

Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, with a number of missions including women’s health, women in sport, and women at work.

Our research is supporting these missions in many ways – from improving care for mothers, their babies and families around the world; to exploring women’s sport and the inequalities in sports governance; and supporting women in business.

We’re proud of the contribution of our female academics across research, education and practice, and the difference they make to society and to the BU community.

To mark International Women’s Day, Dr Ann Luce and Dr Roya Haratian have shared their biggest achievements while at BU:

A head and shoulders image of Dr Ann Luce

Dr Ann Luce

“I work in the area of suicide prevention and my biggest achievement to date was when our Dorset Suicide Response Team was told by Public Health England that we had saved twenty lives through our de-escalation strategy. This was following a cluster of suicides at a local railway station back in 2019. It was humbling to know that my research and hard work had saved others from having to go through the ordeal of suicide bereavement.”

Dr Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication

 

Dr Roya Haratian

Dr Roya Haratian

“In 2019, I led the Athena SWAN process for the Department of Design and Engineering, along with our Head of Department and the self-assessment team, and two years later, we were delighted to receive a Bronze Athena SWAN Award. Since then, we’ve set up an inclusivity committee to advance our work in this area. I also work closely with our female students and SUBU’s Women in STEM Society, supporting and promoting their engineering activities.”

Dr Roya Haratian, Senior Lecturer in Electronic Science & Engineering

Read more about our commitment to gender equality on the BU website

Conversation article: School rugby should not be compulsory and tackling needs to be outlawed – here’s the evidence

BU’s Dr Keith Parry co-authors this article for The Conversation about the risks of playing rugby at school…

School rugby should not be compulsory and tackling needs to be outlawed – here’s the evidence

David Fuentes Prieto/Shutterstock

Keith Parry, Bournemouth University and John Batten, University of Winchester

Rugby has a higher rate of injury than most other sports frequently played in schools in the UK. It is a collision sport where players purposefully tackle each other, which can result in serious injury, such as to the head and neck.

The risks of injury, and particularly brain injuries, from playing rugby are now widely recognised. And yet it remains a compulsory sport in many schools.

Tackle rugby should not be compulsory in any school, for any age of children. Where rugby is compulsory, it should be non-contact.

What’s more, schools should provide children and their parents with information on the dangers involved with playing sports like rugby at school.

School rugby

Research with 825 teenage school rugby players over one season found that more than one in three of the children suffered an injury from playing full-contact rugby. Almost half of these injuries were serious enough that the child could not return to play rugby for 28 or more days.

These injury concerns are also recognised by teachers. Our research has found that 67% of teachers in charge of school PE believe rugby union is the sport that puts children at the greatest risk of harm.

Despite the high risks involved with playing rugby, our research also shows that it is one of the most common sports in schools. We surveyed 288 state-funded secondary schools in England and found that rugby union was played in 81% of these schools. It is more common for boys to play rugby, but over half of the schools offered rugby for girls.

What is more worrying is that rugby is compulsory in the majority of the secondary schools we surveyed. Where schools offered rugby for boys, in 91% of cases it was compulsory. And 54% of schools that taught rugby to girls made it compulsory.

The risks of playing

In elite sport, understanding of the risks of playing rugby is growing. Concussion is the most common injury suffered by elite-level rugby players according to the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the governing body of rugby in England. Professional rugby union players are more likely than not to have suffered a concussion after playing just 25 matches.

This rate of injuries is growing. Some attempts to improve safety in the wider sport have been made. In community rugby, for example, the permitted tackle-height has been lowered.

But research has found that lowering the tackle height might not reduce the number of concussions suffered by players.

Tackle during a rugby game
28th September 2019. Marcus Watson of Wasps Rugby Football Team is tackled during a Premiership Rugby Cup game between Northampton Saints and Wasps, September 28 2019.
atsportphoto/Shutterstock

Repetitive head impacts, such as those that happen in rugby, can also cause neurodegenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy and dementia.

Nearly 200 former players are suing the governing bodies of rugby. These players are suffering from neurological impairments and claim that World Rugby, the RFU and the Welsh Rugby Union did not protect players enough from permanent injuries.

Current England player Courtney Lawes has recently said that he would have reservations about his children playing professional rugby, because the financial benefits are not worth the injuries that come from playing the sport.

The risks remain at amateur levels. Amateur rugby players are also taking legal action against the same governing bodies who, they say, did not protect them from brain injuries during their playing careers.

For a number of years, academics and medical professionals have been calling on the UK government to remove the tackle from rugby in school physical education. However, considerable resistance to removing tackling remains.

Rugby, particularly at school level, does not need to include tackling. Safer versions of the sport, such as tag rugby, already exist.

Rugby can be played without tackling and still provide a wide range of physical and mental health benefits that help children stay physically active and maintain psychological wellbeing. School rugby must change to keep children safe.The Conversation

Keith Parry, Head Of Department in Department of Sport & Event Management, Bournemouth University and John Batten, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Winchester

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

March Update for (PGR) Researcher Development, Culture and Community

Desk set up with plant, light, note pad, mouse, keyboard and computer screen.

All ‘monthly update for researcher development, culture and community’ e-newsletters are available in a dedicated content area on the Doctoral College Researcher Development Programme Brightspace unit.

If you missed the March e-newsletter, you can check it out.

If you have any questions about the e-newsletter or would like to feature content, please contact Natalie [Doctoral College Programme Manager].

Finding answers to the problem of workplace bullying in Film & TV

18-months ago we published a major study of the UK’s unscripted TV labour market. We found that a staggering 93% of professionals in this sector had experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment at work. An industry defined by highly sought-after creative work had a shadow side. The picture to emerge was one of a troubled workplace in pressing need of reform. Our report made six recommendations that had implications for both government policy and structural change within the industry.

As the issue of bullying in TV has become more widely acknowledged, we have welcomed a number of recent industry initiatives and interventions introduced to deter it (including a campaign to encourage the reporting of bad behaviour and a free Bullying Advice Service). Yet despite these positive developments, not enough attention has been given to the underlying factors that contribute to workplace bullying. There remains an assumption that this is simply a problem of ‘a few bad apples’, when – in reality – it is the condition in which apples are kept that largely determines the damage caused by a bad one.

In our latest publication we examine this issue in more depth. We argue that it is the nature of television work, its organisational structures and the culture of the industry that creates a set of conditions that makes bullying particularly likely. Many of the characteristics shown by our study to be commonplace in television work, are precisely those identified in the field of organisational psychology as risk factors for workplace bullying. This being the case, we call for a risk management approach to this problem; one that systematically recognises, appraises and minimises these risks.


Christa van Raalte, Richard Wallis & Dawid Pekalski (2023) More than just a few ‘bad apples’: the need for a risk management approach to the problem of workplace bullying in the UK’s television industry, Creative Industries Journal, DOI: 10.1080/17510694.2023.2182101

Training opportunity: writing for The Conversation

Would you like to build a media profile and take your research to a global audience?

Find out more about writing for The Conversation and have the chance to pitch your article ideas to one of their editors in a face-to-face training session on Wednesday 15 March.

The Conversation is a news analysis and opinion website with content written by academics working with professional journalists.

The training session will run by one of The Conversation’s Editors and will take place in the Fusion Building from 1pm – 4pm.

It is open to all BU academics and PhD candidates who are interested in finding out more about working with The Conversation.

Learn how to consider the news potential of your expertise, make your writing accessible and engaging to a diverse range of audiences, and pitch your ideas.

After an initial introduction to working with The Conversation, there will be the chance to chat with the editor and share your research and article ideas.

Why write for The Conversation?

The Conversation is a great way to share research and informed comment on topical issues. Academics work with editors to write pieces, which can then be republished via a creative commons license.

Since we first partnered with The Conversation, articles by BU authors have had nearly 9 million reads and been republished by the likes of The i, Metro, and the Washington Post.

Find out more and book your place

 

BA/Leverhulme Small Grants 31st May 2023 – date update-

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants

The call for the next round of BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants will be opening soon.

We will be welcoming your proposals for the upcoming BA/Leverhulme Small grants call!

The below deadlines will be in place to ensure that the pre-award team can provide all interested academics with optimal support in a timely manner.

Please see below our timelines and the updated process.

 

 

Wed 22nd Feb 2023

 

 

Wed 22nd Feb 2023- 5th April

RDS British Academy Guidance session 

Join us to review the guidance and then start work on your application; Slides and proposal form will be available after the session on Brightspace.

 

Work on your proposal and once ready, forward to RDS.

5th April 2023 Call Opens – latest date to send your proposal to RDS for peer review.
5th April- 17th April 2023 Proposal reviews, RDS  will inform you of your peer review results and advice on next steps.
24th April 2023 Intention to bid form latest date to be submitted, only for peer reviewed applications that have been advised to progress.

Remember to advise your referee that you will be sending them your completed application on FlexiGrant and they will need to provide their supporting statement by 26th May.

24th April 2023 If you are Grade 8 or below and you wish to use the support of an External Application Reviewer (EAR), you must submit your draft application to RDS by this date.
24th May 2023 Nominated referee supporting statement to be completed via FlexiGrant

Note that the earlier you complete you application on FlexiGrant, the more time the referee will have to review your bid and provide the supporting statement.

24th May May 2023 Your final application must be submitted on FlexiGrant by this date at the latest.

Click ‘submit’ and the form will be sent to BU’s account for RDS checks.

24th – 31st May  2023 Institutional checks to take place by RDS

RDS will work with you to ensure compliance with all funder’s requirements.

 

If you have any queries, please contact Eva Papadopoulou or your Funding Development Officer. 

Ageing and Dementia Research Forum – 26th January – Accessible Tourism

Details of the next ADRC ageing and dementia research forum are listed below. The forum is an opportunity for staff and PhD students to get together to chat about research and share experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Specific topics are discussed but there is also time for open discussion to mull over aspects of research such as project ideas and planning, ethical considerations and patient and public involvement.

Date, time, and campus Research areas
26th January 2023

15.30-16.45

BG601, Bournemouth Gateway

Lansdowne Campus

‘Accessible Tourism for Ageing and Dementia travellers’

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis and Dr Daisy Fan

Please confirm attendance by email to adrc@bournemouth.ac.uk

If you would like to discuss your research ideas at a future meeting, please email Michelle mheward@bournemouth.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing you there.

Ageing and Dementia Research Centre

Conversation article: Terrorist recruitment now happens mainly online – which makes offenders easier to catch

BU’s Chris Baker-Beall co-authors this article for The Conversation around new research into the different journeys and patterns of extremist offending…

Terrorist recruitment now happens mainly online – which makes offenders easier to catch

Shutterstock

Jens Binder, Nottingham Trent University and Chris Baker-Beall, Bournemouth University

It is notoriously difficult to work out how and why someone becomes a terrorism risk. While attacks cause immense pain and suffering, the actual number of terrorist incidents in the western world is small. That makes it difficult to arrive at reliable, quantified evidence.

But in our research, we’ve started to identify important patterns when it comes to different journeys into extremist offending. Most notably, we’ve found that in recent years, people who go on to be convicted of terrorist offences are far more likely to have been radicalised online – without any offline interactions at all – than was the case in the past.

While the seeming ease with which this can happen is worrying, we’ve also found that people recruited purely online are less likely to commit violent attacks and less committed to their extremist causes than those recruited via in-person meetings. While face-to-face radicalisation continues, the process is now found to take place primarily online.

Our work, which uses detailed risk assessment reports on people sentenced for terrorist offences in England and Wales, draws on 437 cases between October 2010 and December 2021. These reports, written by trained prison and probation professionals, focus on the pre-history of an offence and the current circumstances of the offender. As well as a detailed narrative, they also contain estimates of the levels of risk that the individual poses.

The shift online

We wanted to look into how people became radicalised in the outside world before they committed an extremist offence. We found that, over time, it is less and less the case that people are radicalised offline, such as at local meeting places or via direct contact with peers and relatives.

Mixed radicalisation, where extremist offenders are subject to both online and in-person influences, has also been declining. It is now much more common for people to be radicalised online. They might learn from online sources or engage with extreme views on social media. They might also use internet forums and chat groups that provide easy access to like-minded others.

Our findings show that despite current perceptions about the growth of encrypted messaging services, online radicalisation is not necessarily happening predominantly through one-to-one communication channels. The most commonly named platform is YouTube.

While encrypted applications will always play their role, monitoring and regulating the more public online spaces is likely to make the most difference.

It was also interesting to note that those radicalised online consistently showed the lowest level of estimated risk. They were less engaged with extremist causes than those radicalised offline. They were also the most likely to have committed a non-violent offence, such as inciting and encouraging others to commit terrorism or possessing terrorist material, and to have committed their offences solely online.

Police caution tape sectioning off an area of a street.
Police were more likely to thwart online plots.
Shutterstock

They were also far less intent on committing further offences after leaving prison than those who were radicalised offline – and they appeared to have the lowest capacity to commit further crimes because of having less access to the knowledge, networks or materials they might need.

So it seems that while online radicalisation is the most pervasive form at the moment, it is not overly effective at permanently immersing people in an extremist mindset. Nor is the online approach particularly successful for conveying the skills and knowledge necessary to commit graver offences.

Disrupting online plots

In order to check for potentially more dangerous sub-groups, we also focused on those offenders classed as attackers. These were people who did not necessarily carry out full attacks but had, at the very least, cast themselves in such a role and had pursued attack plans.

The online group showed the lowest frequency of attack-related activities, and attackers in this group were least successful in progressing plots for attacks. Only 29% of these plots moved from planning to the execution stage and only 18% were successfully carried out.

All the plots we studied, which were not successful, had been disrupted by the police or other security services. The online world is, after all, not a perfect hiding place. Online activities often leave traces that can be detected by counter-terrorism practitioners.

While this could all mean that online radicalisation is comparatively harmless, there is a thin line between a relatively ineffective online-only radicalisation and a much more effective mixed radicalisation that includes both online and in-person influences. Online communication can slide into real-life interactions, and people radicalised via the latter technique were assessed as being highest in engagement and intent.

So while the switch to online radicalisation appears to make people easier to catch and less likely to commit violent attacks, this form of radicalisation should still be taken seriously and be recognised as a potential stepping stone towards more dangerous behaviour.The Conversation

Jens Binder, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Nottingham Trent University and Chris Baker-Beall, Senior Lecturer In Crisis and Disaster Management, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.