Category / Research news

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Happy Place,’ is by Chloe Casey, a PGR student from the faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

This photograph represents my ‘happy place’ where I escape my all-consuming doctoral research. The PhD experience is said to be difficult, autonomous and characterised by high workloads and pressure, so it is important that postgraduate researchers are encouraged to prioritise their own well-being throughout the journey. There has been much interest in the mental health of undergraduate students but there is limited research exploring factors underpinning the mental well-being of postgraduate research students specifically. However, preliminary results suggest a high risk of stress, anxiety and burnout in this population. It is documented that the organisational stressors that doctoral students experience can impact academic performance and attrition, but these require further exploration. Postgraduate researchers are often part of wider research teams and their output provides scientific advancement, societal and institutional benefits therefore programme attrition can pose significant personal and financial costs. Our research is concerned with exploring and understanding the promotion of well-being in doctoral students and developing methods to promote their mental health and resilience so they are best supported to thrive academically, achieve their personal goals and successfully complete their planned research.

Royal Academy of Engineering visit Bournemouth University on 15th May 2019

The Faculty of Science and Technology and Research Development and Support were pleased to welcome Programme Managers, Dr Chung-Chin Kao and Keir Bonnar from the Royal Academy of Engineering on Wednesday, 15th May 2019.

The Royal Academy of Engineering provides a wealth of information regarding their support for engineering as the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, where engineering is taken in its broadest sense, underpinning our daily lives, driving economic growth, playing a critical role in addressing major societal challenges and helping ensure our readiness for the future, from providing a sustainable supply of food, water and clean energy, to advancing healthcare, and keeping us safe and secure, with alignment to the BU2025 vision. Read more about what they do.

The visit commenced with a tour of the Faculty of Science and Technology’s Innovation Centre, lead by BU’s Dr Philip Sewell, Head of Department – Design & Engineering, where staff and students were seen in action, including those preparing for the forthcoming BU Festival of Design & Engineering. Following discussions with senior faculty academics, Chung-Chin and Keir provided an overview of the funding schemes available to BU staff, stressing the importance of working with industrial partners. Schemes are available to support research at all career levels.

For those in academia, the Royal Academy of Engineering supports schemes for undergraduates, and postgraduates, exchanges between academia and industryresearchers, international collaborative research, public engagement and entrepreneurial activity.  The events calendar is also worth watching with more events to be added to increase engagement with the Academy.

In addition, materials for HE are promoted on their dedicated HE Focus website. This includes:

If you were unable to attend today’s event, the slides are available to BU staff. To make sure that you stay up to date, sign up to receive updates or follow on social media

 

Setting up NHS / HSC research in the UK– upcoming changes

The UK Local Information Pack

A ‘UK Local Information Pack‘ will be introduced on the 5 June 2019 to support the set-up of NHS / HSC research in the UK.

The ‘UK Local Information Pack’ is the set of documents that NHS / HSC organisations use to formally start preparing to deliver the study. You can find more information here, including what comprises the pack. All researchers wishing to set-up their study at an NHS/HSC site from 5 June, will need to be aware of this change.

The Organisation Information Document

Researchers and research teams may be aware of a document called the ‘Statement of Activities’ – this is essentially a document that allows the sponsor to make clear to the research site, what activities will be undertaken locally. The document can also act as the agreement between the sponsor and site. Researchers setting up their study before 5 June should continue to use this document.

From 5 June the Statement of Activities will be replaced by a document called the ‘Organisation Information Document‘. For non-commercially sponsored studies, that are not clinical trials or clinical investigations, the ‘Organisation Information Document’ should be used as the agreement between sponsor and participating NHS / HSC organisation.

A new delegation log template

Another feature of the UK Local Information Pack is the inclusion of a delegation log template, which is intended to be used at participating NHS / HSC organisations. This will allow NHS/HSC organisations to locally record who will be working on the study and who is authorised to undertake study tasks.

Schedule of Events or Schedule and Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT)

For non-commercially sponsored studies studies an IRAS Schedule of Events or a SoECAT will be a part of the IRAS Form submission and is used in the UK Local Information Pack as a way of providing clarity to participating NHS / HSC organisations on the cost attributions associated with a study.

Further help and guidance

Guidance on the use of the UK Local Information Pack has now been published in the Site Specific page of IRAS Help to help applicants get ready for the change.

If you are making an IRAS Form submission or planning to set up research in an NHS / HSC organisation from 5 June 2019 please read the transition guidance so that you prepare the correct materials.

If you have any queries regarding any of the information provided above, or would like some guidance with regard to implementing your research in a healthcare setting – please get in touch with BU’s Research Ethics team.

You can also take a look at the Clinical Governance blog for documents, links and training opportunities.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Peeping Capuchin,’ is by Aaron Hart, an Ecology and Wildlife conservation student from the faculty of Science and Technology.

Going on the international field trip to Costa Rica as part of my course (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation) was truly inspiring. I found myself immersed in the whole experience, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife of which I took a keen interest to the white-faced Capuchin monkeys that roamed within the forests on Montezuma. Their behaviours and relationship with the local residents  fascinated me and I left wanting to study them further.

This led me to want to base my dissertation on them looking at observed differences found in behaviour between the wild and captive populations and how enrichment techniques can reduce stereotypical behaviour and preserve natural behaviours, essential for successful reintroduction’s. This involves working closely with local zoo’s and implementing a variety of enrichment techniques to test their effectiveness against stereotypical behaviour and then possibly going back to Costa Rica to volunteer in a monkey sanctuary of which I can observe natural behaviours in my time off. This also provides an opportunity to investigate further into the relationship between monkey and man and if their change of relationship over the years has led to a change in natural behaviours.

Article published in Physiological Reports

 

The article titled “The effects of 8 weeks of inspiratory muscle training on the balance of healthy older adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study” has been published by Physiological Reports.

 

It is the first research to describe the effects of inspiratory muscle training (i.e. breathing exercises that improve the strength of inspiratory muscles) on static and dynamic balance (measured with the clinical tool mini-BEST) and functional mobility (such as Timed Up and Go and 5 sit to stand tasks) with community dwellers older adults (aged 65+).

The research is part of Francesco Ferraro PhD journey. Journey guided with the supervision of Professor Alison McConnell, Dr James Gavin and Tom Wainwright

The article is now fully available as open access here

https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14076

Abstract

To examine the effects of 8‐week unsupervised, home‐based inspiratory muscle training (IMT) on the balance and physical performance of healthy older adults. Fifty‐nine participants (74 ± 6 years) were assigned randomly in a double‐blinded fashion to either IMT or sham‐IMT, using a pressure threshold loading device. The IMT group performed 30‐breath twice daily at ~50% of maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP). The sham‐IMT group performed 60‐breaths once daily at ~15% MIP; training was home‐based and unsupervised, with adherence self‐reported through training diaries. Respiratory outcomes were assessed pre‐ and postintervention, including forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume, peak inspiratory flow rate (PIFR), MIP, and inspiratory peak power. Balance and physical performance outcomes were measured using the shortened version of the Balance Evaluation System test (mini‐BEST), Biodex® postural stability test, timed up and go, five sit‐to‐stand, isometric “sit‐up” and Biering–Sørensen tests. Between‐group effects were examined using two‐way repeated measures ANOVA, with Bonferroni correction. After 8‐week, the IMT group demonstrated greater improvements (P ≤ 0.05) in: PIFR (IMT = 0.9 ± 0.3 L sec−1; sham‐IMT = 0.3 L sec−1); mini‐BEST (IMT = 3.7 ± 1.3; sham‐IMT = 0.5 ± 0.9) and Biering–Sørensen (IMT = 62.9 ± 6.4 sec; sham‐IMT = 24.3 ± 1.4 sec) tests. The authors concluded that twice daily unsupervised, home‐based IMT is feasible and enhances inspiratory muscle function and balance for community‐dwelling older adults.

HE policy update for the w/e 10th May 2019

Research

The Universities Minister, has delivered the first in a series of four planned speeches on how the UK can best achieve its ambition to invest 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027.  It was a surprising speech in some ways, short on announcements, although there were some, and long on wishful thinking.  We’ve pulled out some bits below.  For a healthy dose of cynicism/realism we recommend the annotated version by HE for Research Professional.

Investment – To achieve our target of 2.4%, total UK R&D investment would need to rise to around £60bn in today’s money. More than double our current investment levels. This would require us to have invested an additional sum of over £80bn cumulatively each year from 2017 across the public and private sectors.

People – It doesn’t matter how much money we pump into R&D over the years ahead, it won’t make the intended difference if we don’t have the right people in place. Ensuring a strong pipeline of talent will be essential for bolstering the UK’s research prowess. We are also going to have to substantially increase the numbers of people we have working in R&D in the same period – perhaps by as much as 50%. To put that in figures, that means we need to find at least another 260,000 researchers to work in R&D across universities, across business and across industry.

International staff and students – We are making it easier for international graduates to move into skilled work. International students studying for undergraduate level and above will be able to apply for a visa three months before their course finishes – enabling them to take up skilled work after their degree. They will also be able to apply for a skilled work visa out-of-country under the same preferential conditions as they would experience if they were to apply for a visa in-country. In addition, a reformed sponsorship system will provide a simplified and more streamlined system. This will be less burdensome for employers and will enable businesses to harness the talent they need more easily. We set out a clear ambition in our International Education Strategy earlier this spring: to grow the numbers of international students studying in UK universities to 600,000 by the end of the next decade.

Supporting Researchers

Our current research culture relies on dominant power structures, where doctoral candidates and post-docs are largely dependent on supervisors or PIs for references and progression. This puts the power firmly in other people’s hands. Is it any wonder, then, that less than half of doctoral researchers report they would be likely to disclose any mental health and wellbeing issues to their supervisors? This closed culture urgently needs to change. So, I hope future joint work by the Office for Students (OfS) and Research England into the mental health and wellbeing of doctoral researchers can identify good practice to take forward in this area.

….the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, first launched in 2008. …I am pleased that an independent review of the Concordat has just taken place to ensure it is up-to-date to meet the needs of today’s researchers. And I look forward to seeing the revised version of the Concordat when it is published later this summer. As Universities and Science Minister, I am serious about taking the Concordat forward. And I am pleased to be hosting a high-level meeting with the Chair of the Concordat Strategy Group, Professor Julia Buckingham. Alongside Sir Patrick Vallance and other key sector leaders, to discuss how we can further improve research careers in the UK.

I also encourage the OfS, Research England, and UKRI as a whole to look more widely at how the implementation of current policies affect researchers on the ground. The three higher education excellence frameworks – namely the REF, TEF and the KEF – are all integral to the way we govern and fund higher education, science, research and innovation. But we need to make sure they are not disproportionately affecting early career researchers and putting extra strains on their work. The recent headlines about universities spending around £87m on non-disclosure agreements since 2017 doesn’t help us to project an image of a sector that cares for its employees.

Academia in industry

For too long, there has been a stigma in this country around pursuing non-academic research careers. So, we should never look down on early career researchers if they opt for a career outside academia. Rather, we should actively encourage our PhDs and post-docs to see the merits of pursuing an R&D career in other sectors and industries. For one, we need to stop talking about jobs outside academia as being ‘second choice careers’ or ‘Plan B options’. For our 2.4% target to work, we need people to be actively considering research careers across the entire science and innovation system.  

So, isn’t it high time we start to better connect graduates with the evident skills gaps we are experiencing right across our labour market?  Yet, this isn’t going to be easy when many of their main role models inside universities know very little about careers in industry. And are themselves either unaware or unconvinced of the strength of research positions outside academia.  There are schemes that aim to address this issue – such as the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professors scheme. This funds senior industry practitioners to participate in course development, face-to-face teaching and the mentoring of Engineering undergraduates at a host university. It is a great programme, but it is not widespread practice. The difficulties aren’t just on the side of universities. Some employers are unused to recruiting PhDs and don’t fully understand the benefits that those with higher academic qualifications can bring to their workforce. I think of this as the ‘graduate paradox’ – the higher the academic qualifications you have, the less professionally qualified you may seem. This, I feel, is a particular UK problem we need to address.

Gaps – We still have some way to go to eradicate gender pay gaps in the sector and increase the proportion of women in academic and research leadership. Not to mention the number of Black and Ethnic Minority role models that will inspire others and show them a research career can really be for people like them.

Additional points:

  • The 41 winners of the first ever Future Leaders Fellowships have been announced. The fellowships aim to develop early career researchers who will become world-leaders in their fields, intending for their research to maintain the UK’s reputation for being at the forefront of science and innovation. The winners share £40 million, with the scheme costing £900 million over 3 years. The projects funded include using cloud computing to monitor changes of all glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic and how children’s adventurous play can lower levels of anxiety in young people.
  • First call for the new Stephen Hawking Fellowships issued. Working with the Hawking family, UKRI will support up to 50 postdoctoral scientists in theoretical physics over the next five years.

 Italian Partnership – Research England have announced their partnership with the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and Research Systems, ANVUR, which will support research assessment and the evaluation of knowledge exchange in English and Italian universities. David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England commented: “ANVUR is at the leading edge in the international landscape of knowledge transfer assessment and it was very helpful to discuss Italy’s research evaluation.”

Master’s Loans

The DfE have published the Postgraduate Master’s Loan evaluation. The Master’s Degree Loan Scheme was launched by the Government in June 2016, and was the first time that Government provided finance to contribute to costs for postgraduate master’s study. The aims of the loan were to:

  • Increase take up of master’s courses
  • Enable progression onto master’s courses for those who could not afford to self-finance or would have to delay starting to save up for a master’s course
  • Improve the supply of highly skilled individuals to the UK economy

The evaluation follows up the first cohort of master’s students who started in 2016/17 with the new loan and found positive outcomes.

  • Data from the HESA Student Record shows that there was a substantial increase in the overall number of Master’s students enrolling at English HEIs. This growth was driven by a 36% increase in enrolments from England-domiciled loan eligible students. (However, these figures may be overinflated as 2015/16 master’s students may have deferred starting their study a year to benefit from the loan in the following year. The report notes BAME students were particularly likely to do this with 61% reporting they deferred entry specifically for this reason.)
  • Most HEIs interviewed (75%) said the number of enrolments from students onto courses eligible for postgraduate loans increased in 2016/17. Among those which reported an increase in numbers, the majority (84%) attributed this at least in part to the introduction of the Master’s Loan.
  • Students themselves confirmed the importance of the Loan in enabling them to study. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of students starting their course in 2016/17 felt that they would have been unable to undertake their specific Master’s course without the Master’s Loan, while around a third (36%) agreed that they would “never even thought about studying a Master’s” if the Master’s loan had not been available.
  • While there were no substantial changes to the age or gender profile of students, the proportion of Black students increased substantially between 2015/16 and 2016/17 (but see above).
  • Quicker – Analysis of the HESA student record indicates a trend towards a greater proportion of full-time study. While the proportion of loan-eligible England-domiciled students studying full-time remained relatively constant in the period prior to the introduction of the loan (at 54-56%), this proportion increased to 62% in 2016/17.
  • Sooner – 90% of master’s loan recipients “agreed that the Master’s Loan had enabled 14 them to begin postgraduate study sooner”. Students in receipt of the Loan were more likely to have progressed from undergraduate to postgraduate study within a year (48%) than those not in receipt of the Loan (23%). The main reason for this given by students in the qualitative interviews was that without the Master’s Loan, they would have had to spend several years building their savings in order to afford it
  • Students in receipt of the Loan were more likely to say that their main reason for studying was to improve their employment prospects (20% compared with 12% of those not in receipt of the Loan). Prior to loan introduction (2013/14 cohort) more stated their main motivation was interest in the subject.
  • Almost all students (94%) expected to receive at least one benefit as a result of their programme, five years after completing their study. 74% believed they would be earning more money, and a similar proportion (73%) expected to have more job choices. Being in a more senior role and being in a more specialist role were each mentioned by 70% of students, and 68% anticipated they would be in a higher pay band.
  • There was no change in the proportion receiving either funding from their HEI or funding from their employer to pay for tuition fees. Hence, so far, there is no indication of the Master’s Loan ‘crowding out’ other sources of funding.
  • 70% of Master’s starters in 2016/17 also worked (35% FT, 35% PT) – it was only 58% that worked in 2013/14. The evaluation notes a higher proportion of starters in 2016/17 funded all or part of their tuition fees through employment than the comparator group of 2013/14. 52% of students stated that without the loan for their living expenses or fees they may not have been able to undertake the course. However, 46% would have self-funded or found other methods to fund their course leading to questions on whether the loan is providing funding for those who could have afforded the course anyway.
  • Interestingly (messages for UG differential fees perhaps?) were that 41% of loan students would have changed their study to afford a masters (a) 25% choosing a cheaper course, (b) 19% choosing a different course, (c) 22% choose same course but at a different institution. BAME students were most likely (33%) to change their plans.
  • The master’s loan contributes up to £10,000 towards the fees/living expenses of master’s study. However, most respondents stated it was not enough and the difficulties of working coupled with the intensity of master’s study meant they had to rely on parents to top them up financially. There are potentially messages in here about inclusivity, hidden barriers to disadvantaged students, and potentially an influence on dropout rates.
  • The evaluation suggested there is evidence that the Loan will help the sustainability of the HE sector. Most HEIs benefited from increased student volumes in 2016/17 and half reported that they believe the Loan will lead to increased revenue for them. There is evidence to suggest that it has benefitted medium-tariff institutions in particular.
  • There is some evidence that the Loan has had an effect of increasing fees for Master’s courses (HEIs more likely to report increases on these courses (57%) than on courses not eligible for fees (41%)). DfE note this may warrant further investigation.

TEF update

Do you know your pilot from your parliamentary review?  What are the metrics used in the latest version of TEF and did you know that the criteria have changed?  We’ve been updating staff at BU on the latest on the TEF, and on the staff intranet policy pages you can find links to our latest slides and a more detailed briefing note, as well as a link to BU’s submission to the Parliamentary review call for views.

Election fever

Everyone has a view on what happened in the local elections and what it means for national politics – it means get on with Brexit, it means abandon Brexit, it means everyone is just fed up and protest voting for smaller parties and independents….  Your policy team are a bit idealistic sometimes (despite watching a lot of politics), and we are subscribers to the “people are probably generally voting on local issues locally” theory.  We hope so – because these local politicians will be responsible for things that will happen locally for the next 4 years.  So feelings about the council mergers and hospital changes, for example, will have had an effect in Dorset and BCP.

Of course national politics will have had an impact.  There may be a general dissatisfaction with the Conservatives and some of that may be Brexit-related, but it could also be driven by concerns about social care and local authority funding more generally.  It doesn’t seem to make sense that across the country many people abandoned the Tories for the Lib Dems if they genuinely want a no-deal Brexit. They may have been formerly disaffected Lib Dem voters going home – but in that case they almost certainly don’t want a no deal Brexit.  The focus on climate change recently will of course have helped the Greens – people voting for green candidates who will drive local changes.

If you want to look at trends, the Commons Library has a lovely map.  Otherwise we suggest there is a huge risk in leaping to too many conclusions and we recommend everyone turns their mind to who they will vote for in the EU elections.  There is still a chance that MEPs will take their seats and keep them for some time so they could have a voice in the EU Parliament.  And here in the South-West we have some sparkling candidates.  You can’t vote for them, though – because of the list system (see this Research Professional illustration if you missed it before).  Tactical voting will be a thing in these elections.

Brexit is still missing

The impasse continues.  It seems unlikely that there will be a breakthrough in the short term.  It could be a long summer of speculation and not much happening until another frenzy of last-minute-itus breaks out in September ahead of the Halloween deadline.

Last weekend Theresa May came under further pressure to resign, or to state a specific date for her departure.  TM at least thinks that the local election results were a verdict on how she (and Parliament) has handled Brexit. She apologised for poor Conservative local election results (the Conservatives lost 1,300+ seats) stating: It is clear that the voters delivered their judgment in large part based on what is happening – or not happening – at Westminster. And, as Prime Minister, I fully accept my share of the responsibility for that. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab appeared in high-profile newspaper profile pieces over the bank holiday weekend with their families – not too subtle positioning for an upcoming leadership contest. The PM continues to refuse to set out a timetable for her departure and is unlikely to step down until the Withdrawal Agreement is passed. Her spokesperson said she is here to deliver Brexit in phase one and then she will make way for phase two.

It has been confirmed that the UK will participate in the EU elections. However apparently Theresa May intends to make a fourth attempt to pass her Brexit deal through Parliament ratifying the deal by end of June so that UK MEPs do not take their seats in July.  Maybe.

Theresa May is expected to offer a customs union offer to Labour (for a temporary period); however, the Labour/Conservative front bench talks have extended beyond the original timescale and the issue of a second referendum continues to be a sticking point. There has been no breakthrough with the Government insisting the negotiations have been constructive and detailed, however,  Rebecca Long Bailey (Labour) was critical stating the Government had made no movement on their red lines. Talks continue…

In the meantime:

  • The UK Government has signed a deal with Ireland to guarantee reciprocal Irish and British citizens rights are retained in each country in the event of no-deal.
  • EU Settlement Scheme: The EU settlement scheme is now fully open and live. The Home Office communications state that during the testing phase 95% of EU citizens were able to use the mobile app to prove their identity remotely within 10 minutes. The application link is here.

Mental Health & Well-being

HEPI have issued a policy note Measuring well-being in HE covering HE staff and students. They argue for a differentiation between mental health and well-being so that the sector can better consider and understand the broader overall health of staff and students. They recommend more data is collected and published, ideally the markers being consistent across the UK and multi-year for applicants and graduates (as well as students and staff):

“Consistency across the UK allows for comparison in well-being between the different regulatory and funding systems across the four countries. International measurements would similarly allow for comparison between different models of higher education. Data collectors should work together to enable tracking of cohorts, allowing us to track the same cohort of students and staff over time.”

Rachel Hewitt, HEPI, author of the Policy Note said: ‘If we are to get a grip on the mental health crisis in young people that is heavily impacting on universities, we need to be collecting the right information to understand it. At the moment statistics on well-being and mental health are often combined, despite these being two separate issues with different ways they can be tackled. For universities to take the necessary action to address this issue, they need to better understand what they’re dealing with. 

It is shocking that we have no public information on the well-being of staff that work in our universities. If universities are collecting this information, they are not being open about what the results are showing. This is at a time when staff in universities continue to be under pressure, with increasing workloads and insecure contracts rife. We need a consistent, public dataset on the well-being of university staff.’

In the meantime,  the role of sport at university has been highlighted: Wonkhe has two articles on sport via its new Student Union service.  Ben Vulliarmy, CEO of the SU at the University of York, writes about their Varsity programme with Lancaster (by the way, congratulations to BU for this week’s resounding win against Solent in our own Varsity event – well played all).  And Richard Medcalf of the University of Wolverhampton writes about the need for evidence if sport is to be taken seriously as a contributor to student (and staff) outcomes:

At Wolverhampton we’re trying a few small steps to make this happen. We’ve developed a university sports board to connect this agenda into the decision making bodies of the university. We’ve combined the academic provision of sport with the participatory and performance arms of our offer to students and staff, to align the intentions of both under one organisational framework. And, importantly, we’re attaching student sport engagement to our student records system so we can see if there’s any relationship between students who participate and the wider university KPIs.

Care Experienced Students

The Centre for Social Justice have released 12 By 24 revealing that despite 10 years of intervention still only 6% of care leavers are attending University. It states: Looked After Children aren’t less clever than other children they are just less lucky and a care leaver is more likely to end up in a prison cell than a lecture theatre. The publication aims to increase care leavers at universities to 12 by 24.

This report shows that too many young people growing up in care feel university isn’t for them. They told us it is simply not what happens when you leave the care system…Improving attainment at school will always be the best thing we can do to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds get on. This report sets out the extent to which care experienced children still fall behind their peers. The message from a roundtable of experts conducted during this report was clear: If we want to see more children from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing university and higher education, we need to engage our young people in care much earlier to ensure that where they have fallen behind, they are given the help they need to catch up. The evidence contained in this report shows that if we act early enough, we will see more young people leaving the care system and entering higher education. Among all the facts and figures, this report presents a simple challenge to government and the higher education sector to do more to help young people who have had the worst start in life to have the best future. Many universities are working hard to improve these figures, but this report shows that barely a third of universities have set out detailed plans to take action to change the number of care leavers on their courses.

The report goes on to state there is too much variability in the focus and efficacy of Universities care leaver support schemes. Pages 15 and 38 are key reading, chapter 6 sets out what support mechanisms universities are currently offering and chapter 7 describes the ‘gold standard’ the Centre propose and call on the DfE to endorse. Read more here.

There’s a HEPI blog by Steven Spier, Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University about their approach to care leavers (and estranged students).

Still no news from the Augar team

A Parliamentary question this week confirms (again) that it will be released “shortly”.  We predict (based on our own speculation rather than inside knowledge) that it won’t be until after the EU elections.  It could come quickly as a major distraction from the mess after that.  Or not.

Q – Gordon Marsden: whether postgraduate (a) loans and (b) other financial assistance will be included in his Department’s response to the review of post-18 education.

A – Chris Skidmore: The government’s review of post-18 education and funding is looking at how we can ensure there is choice and competition across a joined-up post-18 education and training sector. The review’s focus includes how we can encourage learning that is more flexible (for example, part-time, distance learning and commuter study options) and complements ongoing government work to support people at different times in their lives. The independent panel will report shortly, and the government will then conclude the overall review later this year. We will not speculate about potential recommendations, as we do not wish to pre-judge the outcome of the review.

Welsh PG student finance: Wonkhe report that postgraduate students domiciled in Wales will benefit from the most generous postgraduate student finance package in the UK, according to a Welsh Government announcement this morning. The variable mixture of loans and grants available has risen from £13,000 last year to £17,000 from August this year. All eligible students will receive a non-repayable universal grant of £1,000, plus a means-tested grant of up to £5,885 for students with a household income of up to £18,370. A loan will also be available, taking the total support up to £17,000, and funds will be available pro-rata for part time students.

Consultations and inquiries

Click here to view the updated consultation and inquiries tracker. Email us on policy@bournemouth.ac.uk if you’d like to contribute to any of the current consultations or inquiries.

New consultations and inquiries this week:  UUK and Guild HE consultation on the draft Knowledge Exchange Concordat, linked to the KEF. RDS will be leading on preparation of a BU response.

Other news

Financial Deficit: BBC report that the number of English universities in financial deficit increases.

Unconditional Offers: The Times reports that some universities have taken legal advice following Damien Hinds’ calls to stop “conditional unconditional” offers and reduce the number of unconditional offers made overall. HE policy legal commentator Smita Jamdar confirms that Ministers can guide but not instruct the OfS in this area and that guidance must not relate to the criteria for student admissions – something Sarah has heard the Universities Minister confirm in person. Some Universities are calling on UUK to seek a judicial review. The Guardian story is here and includes a defence of the practice as well as attacking Damien Hinds for his intervention.

Industry input: The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has announced that employers are being surveyed on what sorts of courses and skills they wish to see as part of ongoing plans to develop the University of Peterborough.  The vision for the University is to be a trailblazer for other higher education institutions by embedding advanced technical learning within the curriculum. The aim is for the University to provide both the skills that local businesses urgently need, while also giving young people better access to well-paid, secure jobs and improved career prospects.

Mayor James Palmer said: “For the University of Peterborough to deliver on its ambition to be aligned with the needs of the local economy, we need to ensure we are reaching out to the business community to see what their demands and skills challenges are. The Combined Authority and its partners want the University to be turning out the kinds of skills that will allow our young people to hit the ground running in the 21st Century workplace. We know our economy has significant skills shortages, and a productivity gap, and so the input of local employers will be crucial in shaping the future of the University”.

Economic Justice: The Institute for Public Policy Research has published their economic justice report Prosperity and Justice – A Plan for the New Economy. It sets out a 10 point plan for economic reform and argues that economic policy should aim for both prosperity and justice. You can read a short summary of the report here.  There are four recommendations relevant to the HE sector:

  • The government should introduce a ‘Technology Displacement Fund’ to support workers displaced by technology to be retrained and supported back into the labour market. diffusion of digital technologies across the economy.
  • Apprenticeships are important, but firms need to be able to deploy funds for a broader range of approaches to develop the skills of their workforces. They therefore propose that the current apprenticeship levy is abolished, and replaced by a ‘productivity and skills levy’
  • At the same time, there is an important opportunity to give workers a better means of increasing take-up of skills training by giving them more autonomy. They therefore recommend the introduction of Personal Training Credits, to provide low-paid workers and unemployed adults with up to £700 a year to invest in their own skills.
  • The adoption of a new immigration framework aimed at supporting the UK’s economic strategy as well as the vitality and cohesion of our communities and the dignity of migrants

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JANE FORSTER                                            |                       SARAH CARTER

Policy Advisor                                                                     Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Follow: @PolicyBU on Twitter                   |                       policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

Royal Academy of Engineering to Visit BU

Engineering matters. It underpins our daily lives, drives economic growth, plays a critical role in addressing major societal challenges and helps ensure our readiness for the future, from providing a sustainable supply of food, water and clean energy, to advancing healthcare, and keeping us safe and secure.

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, the Royal Academy of Engineering brings together the most talented and successful engineers – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We are excited that Research Programme Managers from the Royal Academy of Engineering will be visiting BU on Wednesday 15th May to provide an overview of:

  • Who they are
  • Their remit
  • Types of funding offered
  • Their decision-making processes
  • Time frames and planning a Royal Academy of Engineering application.

This will help our academics to learn more about the Royal Academy of Engineering, its remit and the type of funding offered, and will help them determine whether or not the Royal Academy of Engineering is an appropriate funder for their research projects.

To attend the presentation and lunch, please book here.

Please contact Alex Pekalski or Theresa McManus if you have any queries.

Why Huawei security concerns cannot be removed from US-China relations

File 20190509 183080 14q9co.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
astudio / Shutterstock.com

Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann, Bournemouth University and Anthony Paphiti, Bournemouth University

Huawei’s role in building new 5G networks has become one of the most controversial topics in current international relations. The US is exercising direct diplomatic pressure to stop states from using the Chinese telecoms giant. The US government regards Huawei as a clear and present danger to national security and argues that any ally opting for Huawei will compromise vital intelligence sharing among these countries in the future.

So far Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Japan have heeded the US call to ban Huawei. The UK, however, is still considering using Huawei to build non-core elements of its new internet infrastructure. Differences over the matter within the UK government recently led to the sacking of defence secretary, Gavin Williamson.

When assessing the risks of having Huawei involved in building 5G infrastructure, it’s important to consider not just the security risk from Huawei, but also the wider context of international relations. It’s important to first recognise that China is a major cyber-power.

The Chinese government has been using cyber-operations since at least 2006 for strategic and military gains. Tracing the origins of hacks is difficult but China is accused of a number of hacks on government departments in the US and around the world.

Military operations aside, US politicians say Chinese cyber-enabled espionage directed at the US economy has resulted in an estimated loss of US$300 billion a year in intellectual property theft.

Risky business

Additional risks come from China’s increasing military cooperation with Russia, NATO’s main rival. And also that China seems keen to supplement its Belt and Road Initiative of global trade dominance with dominance in cyberspace. Huawei offers highly competitive pricing that could drive out rivals and this potential monopoly could be costly in the long run for countries that rely too heavily on it.

It is in the context of China’s growing cyber-power that Huawei is seen as a risky business partner when it comes to developing critical infrastructure, such as a new 5G network. Huawei may insist that it is an independent company that does not have ties to the Chinese government, but this is not how it looks to Western powers. According to the CIA, Huawei has received funding from both the Chinese army and Chinese state intelligence. Plus, it does not help that Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei was once an engineer in the Chinese army and that the company’s ownership lies with a “trade union committee” that is appointed by the state.

Then there’s China’s National Intelligence Law of 2017, which requires Chinese companies “to provide necessary support, assistance and cooperation” with national intelligence work, if called upon. So Huawei’s assurances that it will not hand over customer data to the government are difficult to trust. All the more so given China’s track record of using private actors for the purposes of spying.

Backdoors and vulnerabilities

If a country’s 5G network is compromised, this could open it up to a number of risks. First, there’s simply access to information that is transmitted across the network. More worryingly, the “internet of things” will be built on 5G. Everyday devices will all be connected – from driverless cars to smart fridges, speakers and traffic signals.

This opens the possibility for a determined actor (whether state or non-state) to control these important processes. A cyber-attack via 5G infrastructure could lead to significant damage to property and even loss of life, and would amount to an armed attack under international law.

The internet of things opens up a number of cyber-risks.
Shutterstock

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has a dedicated Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre. Its 2019 report found no evidence of Chinese state interference or the deliberate introduction of “backdoors” that could be used to siphon off information. But it does criticise Huawei’s technology for being generally vulnerable to attack. The potential risks, however, apply to any equipment vendor that the UK may choose to use instead of Huawei.

In light of the current US government’s tough stance on China, in terms of trade and security, it is fair to ask if the present US warnings have more to do with denying market access to a strong competitor than security concerns? If so, the UK may have to decide whether it values its relations with the US or China more. As well as the security risks that Huawei may pose, the UK must consider the importance of maintaining its information sharing arrangement with the US and the other “Five Eyes” countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The trust issue will always remain with Huawei because of its proximity to the Chinese government. But, after the UK’s top spies said Huawei could be “managed” in terms of potential security risks, the main risk at the moment seems to be diplomatic. Namely, repercussions with Washington and the potential backlash regarding a post-Brexit trade deal and suspension of intelligence sharing. With China potentially becoming a global adversary to the West as a whole (not just the US), the UK should bear in mind which side it is choosing when deciding who builds its 5G infrastructure.The Conversation

Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann, Associate Professor in International Law (BU) and (extraordinary) Reader in War Studies (SEDU), Bournemouth University and Anthony Paphiti, Visiting Research Fellow in Conflict, Rule of Law and Society, Bournemouth University

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

New publication alert: Mobile Tech – Superfood or Super Fad of Business?

Dr Elvira Bolat has had success with third paper from her PhD thesis being published in the Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing.

The article titled ‘Mobile Tech: Superfood or Super Fad of Creative Business?’ discusses how the use of mobile technology can potentially enable innovative solutions and processes in the organisations. It provided a detailed overview of three different clusters of the organisations that might use mobile technology to improve processes such as communication, research and project management but also reorganise their business structures into virtual entities with flexible working processes and portfolio mobile-integrating products, i.e. mobile apps and mobile advertising.

Implementing Nutrition Screening in Community Care for Older People (INSCCOPe) Conference – 24th April 2019

The Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) in collaboration with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) hosted their end of research project conference on ‘Nutrition Screening in Community Care for Older People’ (INSCOPPe) at the Captain’s Club Hotel in Christchurch. Funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, this 2 year project aimed to understand factors that may help or hinder implementation of a new procedure for nutrition screening and embedding it as a routine aspect of care. New tools have been developed to encompass training for wider rollout across the organisation and wider adoption nationally.

At the conference, the outputs and impacts of the research were showcased for delegates and new tools were launched including training videos and new workbook launched ‘Managing malnutrition (as undernutrition) and caring for older people living in the community’. The workbook is aimed at healthcare staff working in community teams. Prof Jane Murphy, Research Project Lead/Co-Lead for the ADRC  ‘ Supporting staff to have the skills and knowledge in identifying and treating malnutrition in older people living in the community is  vital for organisations to meet their responsibilities for delivering excellent care.’

The speakers were:

  • Dame Christine Beasley – Trustee, Burdett Trust for Nursing
  • Jane Murphy, Professor of Nutrition, Co-Lead Ageing and Dementia Research Centre,  Research Project Lead, Bournemouth University
  • Annemarie Aburrow, Dietitian for Wessex Academic Health Science Network and Research Assistant, Bournemouth University
  • Kathy Steward, Area Matron, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Kathy Wallis, Associate Director, Wessex AHSN
  • Julia Lake, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Interim Divisional Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals
  • Alison Smith – BDA Older People Specialist Group chair, Prescribing Support Consultant Dietitian

 

Thank you to everyone who attended. The conference was a real success and really helped showcase the important work that ADRC continues to do.

It was such a great day – Thank you for having us over” – Caroline Laidlaw, Advanced Dietitian Mental Health from Sussex Partnership Trust.

The Ageing and Dementia Research Centre would like to extend a big thank you to those that contributed to the research and are grateful to The Burdett Trust for Nursing who provided generous support for the research project.

Please see website for more details about the research and how to access the tools:

http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/nutrition-screening

 

Photo of the week

Our Photo of the Week series has returned and we’re kicking things off with Dr Anya Chapman.

The weekly series features photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Pier Watch Day,’ is by Dr Anya Chapman, a senior lecturer in tourism management.

In October 2017 Blackpool’s three piers were awarded ‘Watch Status’ by international conservation organisation The World Monuments Fund. Research conducted by Anya Chapman into pier regeneration and the challenges of climate change faced by seaside piers underpinned Blackpool Council’s bid for the piers’ addition to the Watch List.

Anya was involved in the organisation of the ‘Big Pier Watch Day’ event which took place in June 2018 on Blackpool’s North Pier to raise awareness of the pier’s history and seaside heritage. The photograph was taken at the start of the day before 6000 people visited the pier to participate in guided tours, rides on the Victorian carousel, viewed the exhibition on pier development and design, and tried their luck at the traditional coconut shy.

Blackpool is the only place in the world with three seaside piers and in 2019, as part of the Watch Status, the resort will host ‘Sea Change’ an international conference on seaside heritage and climate change in conjunction with Bournemouth University.​

We are looking forward to hearing Anya present her work at tonight’s Cafe Scientifique at Cafe Boscanova in Boscombe. More information regarding the talk, ‘Pier review: what does the future hold for British seaside piers’ can be found here: https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/cafe-scientifique/

#TalkBU with Rick Stafford

We will be joined by Professor Rick Stafford at Mays #TalkBU session, who will be discussing tackling environmental breakdown and climate change!

David Attenborough’s recent climate change documentary and Extinction Rebellion’s protests in London have brought home the message of climate change in recent weeks. Add to this biodiversity loss, land use change, deforestation and unsustainable food production, and it is clear we are facing Environmental Breakdown. Government and corporation responses have so far been poor, and are often token gestures such as eliminating plastic straws, which scientific evidence shows to be ‘relatively’ harmless. There is a lack of willingness from the rich and powerful in society to accept what Gretta Thunberg calls ‘System Change’, and Guardian Journalist George Monbiot has recently called for an end to Capitalism.

The key question is, what does a changed system look like?

In this session Rick Stafford will present some key policies for discussion, which will address the underlying and fundamental causes of environmental breakdown as well as provide a fairer and more equitable society. System change can provide benefits to the majority of the population, and certainly isn’t as scary as the alternative of business as usual.

The final session of 2019 is being held in FG04, 12-1pm on the 16th May, with lunch provided! You can register for free tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talkbu-with-rick-stafford-tickets-61146492806

Paper in top 30 most cited Journal Advanced Nursing articles

BU’s Dr. Bibha Simkhada’s paper ‘Factors affecting the utilisation of antenatal care in developing countries: a systematic review of the literature’ [1] is currently the 27th most cited paper in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.  This is great achievement considering that the journal has published nearly ten thousand articles since its inception (to be precise 9,847).  The Journal of Advanced Nursing (published by Wiley) is one of the prestigious journals in the nursing field.  This extremely well-cited paper was part of Bibha’s Ph.D. study at the University of Aberdeen.  Dr. Bibha Simkhada is Lecturer in Adult Nursing in the  Department of Nursing and Clinical Sciences.  One of her co-authors also works at BU, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and a second co-author, Prof. Padam Simkhada from Liverpool John Moores University is Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences.  The third co-author Dr. Maureen Porter retired a few years ago.

 

 

Reference:

  1. Simkhada, B., van Teijlingen E., Porter, M., Simkhada, P. (2008) Factors affecting the utilisation of antenatal care in developing countries: a systematic review of the literature, Journal of Advanced Nursing 61(3): 244-260.

Top ten cited paper in MIDWIFERY

Looking at the SCOPUS data for 5 May 2019 on the International Day of the Midwife showed that the theoretical paper ‘Risk, Theory, Social & Medical Models: critical analysis of the concept of risk in maternity care’ [1] is in the top ten mosted quoted articles in Midwifery.  Now in its 35th year, Midwifery is an international  journal published by Elsevier.  Since its inception in 1985 it has published 2,626 papers, and our paper ”Risk, Theory, Social & Medical Models’ has now been cited by 108 papers, making it the eight most cited article.

Professor Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

Reference:

  1. MacKenzie Bryers H., van Teijlingen, E. (2010) Risk, Theory, Social & Medical Models: critical analysis of the concept of risk in maternity care, Midwifery 26(5): 488-496.