Category / Research news

Climate change: we need to start moving people away from some coastal areas, warns scientist

File 20180913 177938 1o9i6st.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Jaroslav Moravcik/Shutterstock.com

Luciana Esteves, Bournemouth University

We are all too familiar with images of flooding in low lying areas after heavy rainfall or houses destroyed by coastal erosion after a storm. For an increasing number of people, coastal flooding and erosion is a real threat to property, the local economy and, in some cases, life. Hurricane Florence, for example, is forcing more than a million people on the US East Coast to flee from their homes.

Coasts support important industries (such as ports and tourism) and their populations are growing faster than inland areas. But coastal areas are also particularly sensitive to impacts of climate change, which are likely to increase the extent, intensity and frequency of coastal flooding and erosion.

So not only have we occupied areas that naturally flood and erode from time to time, we have changed the environment in ways that increase coastal flooding and erosion risk. And we continue to do so, sometimes with serious legal consequences. Meanwhile, public policies have not been very effective in managing this predicament.

Traditional hard engineering approaches of coastal protection (such as groynes, revetments and seawalls) are known to cause detrimental effects, which in the longer term can aggravate the problem they were supposed to solve. The impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was a stark reminder that engineering structures are not effective against all events at all times. They are built based on trade-offs between the level of protection needed and the costs of construction and maintenance.

Soft engineering, such as beach nourishment (where sediment, usually sand, is added to the shore), can offer a level of protection and beach amenity – but these reduce through time, as erosion continues. Meanwhile, “protection” gives a false sense of safety and enables occupation of risk areas, increasing the number of people and assets in risk areas.

Attractive but dangerous locations.
Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com

A serious conundrum

Climate change has forced a paradigm shift in the way coastal flooding and erosion risks are managed. In areas of lower risk, adaptation plans are being devised, often with provisions to make properties and infrastructure more resilient. Adaptation may involve requiring raised foundations in flood-prone areas or the installation of mitigating measures, such as sustainable drainage systems. Building codes may also be established to make structures more disaster-proof and to control the types of constructions within risk zones.

But such adaptation options are often of limited use or unsuitable for high-risk areas. In such areas relocation is the only safe climate-proof response.

Planning for relocation is problematic. There are large uncertainties concerning the predictions of climate change impacts – and this makes planning a difficult task. Uncertainty is not an easy concept to incorporate in planning and coastal management. In some places, effects of sea level rise are already evident, but it’s still difficult to be sure how fast and how much it will rise.

Similarly, there is still great uncertainty about when and where the next “super storm” will happen and how intense it will be. Inevitably, areas that have already been affected by flooding or erosion will be affected again – the question is when and how badly.

Relocated

Despite these issues, relocation is increasingly being adopted as a strategy. There have been some successes at the local level. One such example is the Twin Streams project in Auckland (New Zealand), where relocation (through the purchase of 81 properties) has provided space to create community gardens and cycleways where 800,000 native vegetation plants were planted. This was made possible by engaging over 60,000 volunteer hours.

Although not on the coast, the town of Kiruna in Sweden shows that, when risks are high, forward thinking and long-term planning can make large-scale relocation possible. Kiruna is at risk of ground collapse due to mining. Over a 20-year period, more than 18,000 residents will be relocated to a new city centre 3km away. The layout of the new city centre has been designed to be more sustainable, energy efficient and have better options for cultural activities and socialising. Local residents were engaged and helped identifying 21 heritage buildings they want relocated to the new area.

Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden.
Tsuguliev/Shutterstock.com

The French, meanwhile, have instigated the first ever national strategy focused on relocation from high-risk areas. French policy places a duty on local authorities to develop plans by 2020, identifying the areas at serious risk of coastal flooding or erosion, what needs to be relocated and how (including sources of funding). Five pilot areas have been selected to test how the strategy might be implemented at the local level. Two of these areas have contrasting approaches and outcomes.

In Lacanau (a top surfing stop in the Bay of Biscay) coastal erosion threatens the tourism-based economy. Although public opposition was initially high, the development of a local plan has generally been positive, mainly due to the inclusive community involvement in the project. A local committee was created to act as a consultation body and decisions were informed by open discussions based on clear communication of technical, legal, financial and sociological issues.

In Ault (northern France) the experience was less positive. the risk reduction plan identified a high-risk zone within 70 metres of the cliff edge. It was decided that no new construction would be allowed here and restrictions to improvements on the existing 240 houses were imposed. This would force relocation if the properties were damaged by flooding or erosion. In May 2018 a residents group won a court case which considered the plan illegal, lifting the restrictions imposed on renovation of existing properties until a new plan is drafted.

The clifftops of Ault, France.
Massimo Santi/Shutterstock.com

Engaging communities

These examples demonstrate that engaging with local communities from the inception of any such project is essential. Unfortunately, people instinctively resist change – and relocation is a complete shift from the centuries-old approach of fixing coastlines and fighting against coastal dynamics. Our current legal and management frameworks are too geared up for maintaining the status quo. Funding and legal aid to support purchase of properties and removal of infrastructure that are not imminently deemed inhabitable are limited.

But open and inclusive debate about the need for relocation and the consequences and benefits of it can change people’s perceptions. The “Nimby” (not in my backyard) attitude is strong in coastal communities, but can subside after personal experiences of severe flooding or erosion. The environment around us is changing and we cannot continue living the way we did in the past.

Prevention is always less costly and more effective than remediation, particularly when involving people’s safety. The earlier we accept the need to change, the less damaged is the legacy we leave to the next generations.The Conversation

Luciana Esteves, Associate Professor, Bournemouth University

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

New paper by recent BU Sociology graduate

Dr. Andrew Harding and his BU PhD supervisors just published a new paper from his Ph.D. research [1].   This interesting paper ‘Suppy-side review of the UK specialist housing market and why it is failing older people’ reviews the supply-side of policies and practices that impact on the shortage of supply in the contemporary specialist housing market for older people in the UK.  Andrew is currently based at Lancaster University.

Congratulations!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

  1. Harding, Andrew, Parker, Jonathan, Hean, Sarah & Hemingway, Ann (2018) Supply-side review of the UK specialist housing market and why it is failing older people. Housing, Care and Support

 

New BU publication on maternity care and culture in Afghanistan

Congratulations to Dr. Rachel Arnold on the acceptance by Social Science & Medicine (published by Elsevier) of the second paper based on her PhD on maternity care in Afghanistan [1].  This interesting ethnography explores the experiences, motivations and constraints of healthcare providers in a large public Afghan maternity hospital. Arnold and colleagues identify barriers and facilitators in the delivery of care. Under the surface of this maternity hospital, social norms were in conflict with the principles of biomedicine. Contested areas included the control of knowledge, equity and the primary goal of work. The institutional culture was further complicated by pressure from powerful elites. These unseen values and pressures explain much of the disconnection between policy and implementation, education and the everyday behaviours of healthcare providers.

Improving the quality of care and equity in Afghan public maternity hospitals will require political will from all stakeholders to acknowledge these issues and find culturally attuned ways to address them.  The authors argue that this notion of parallel and competing world-views on healthcare has relevance beyond Afghanistan.   The paper co-authored by (a) Prof. Kath Ryan, Professor of Social Pharmacy at the University of Reading and Visiting Professor in FHSS, and BU’s Professors Immy Holloway and Edwin van Teijlingen.

 

References:

  1. Arnold, R., van Teijlingen, E., Ryan, K., Holloway, I. (2018) Parallel worlds: An ethnography of care in an Afghan maternity hospital, Social Science & Medicine [online first] doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.09.010.

 

Early Career Researcher Network Launch

networkingThe Early Career Researcher Network at BU was launched at a full day event on 12th September.

The event was attended by many of BU’s Early Career Researchers, from across all four faculties, and other academics with a passion for supporting the career development of our ECRs.

The day opened with a rousing welcome to all attendees by Prof Jens Hölscher, Head of Department in Accounting, Finance & Economics (Faculty of Management) and elected Academic Staff Member on the Bournemouth University Board. The joint academic leads, Prof Ann Hemingway and Dr Sam Goodman (himself an ECR), then led the audience through the rest of the day hosting sessions where ECRs discussed what they would like to see in their Network and how they, themselves, can contribute to the delivery of sessions.

In the afternoon, all six of the BU ECR Acorn Award recipients for 17/18, presented to the audience, all keen to ask questions and engage with developing their research further:

Other ECRs, including recipients of the smaller Acorn Awards also showcased their research, as the attendees took the opportunity to network and discuss their research experiences informally:

A final panel comprising Prof Ann Hemingway, Dr Sam Goodman, Prof Jonathan Parker, Prof Iain MacRury and Elaine Sheridan (BU’s HR Reward Manager) gave their personal reflections on the importance of networking for all academics, but especially ECRs.

Going forwards, the schedule for the monthly 18/19 events will be announced shortly, based on the feedback received from participants at the launch event.

The event also saw the launch of the ERCN area on Brightspace. All those attending are being added to this network – please check that your access has been given.

If you do not yet have access and would like to join this network, please request this via RKEDevFramework@bournemouth.ac.uk. It was agreed at the launch that this network would be open to all those at BU who identify themselves as ECRs (including Part-Time Hourly Paid staff) and other staff with a desire to support ECRs in their career development.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this day a great success!

HE Policy update for the w/e 7th September 2018

Access and participation

OfS have launched a consultation: A new approach to regulating access and participation in higher education which closes on 12th October.

The main proposed changes are:

  1. Five year plans (where appropriate): The OfS will place the approval of access and participation plans on a more strategic timescale.
  2. Providers will be required to publish and submit an impact report to the OfS each year.
  3. Access and participation plans must include a set of strategic, outcomes focused targets.
  4. The OfS will collect predicted access spend disaggregated by pre-16 activity, post16 activity and work with adults and communities in access and participation plans.
  5. Providers will need to complete a self-assessment of their evaluation activities.
  6. OfS will undertake further work to explore whether providers should publish transparency data by age and disability
  7. OfS will create, publish and maintain an access to participation dataset providing an accurate picture across the sector and at individual providers.

The story is covered in Research Professional:

  • Progress on five-year targets will be submitted by universities each year and scrutinised by the OfS. Universities which are deemed to be at risk of falling short will have to submit plans every three years.
  • Other proposals include dropping requirements for universities to report on student success and progression spend, and plans to publish a dataset showing success rates for individual institutions on access and participation.

On Wonkhe: Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation, outlines what OfS has published as part of its consultation on access and participation today, and the rationale behind it.

  • I am just finishing assessing the first round of access and participation plans. They show significant investment and increasingly well thought-out activity. However, the ambition I hear in meetings often isn’t matched in these plans, either by aspirational targets or progress on the ground.
  • There are still significant challenges that need to be acknowledged in plans, for example, poorer outcomes that go hand in hand with particular groups of students. We need universities and colleges to be rigorous in their self-reflection and use of evaluation and evidence. Many of the first drafts of plans we read were weak in these areas. Some self-assessments gloss over the problems, sometimes seeking to assign blame to others, or hide behind sector-wide patterns. It is, frankly, not the sort of practice that should pass muster in knowledge-based organisations.
  • As we signalled in the regulatory framework, institutions will need to publish data on applications, offers, admissions, and outcomes split by gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic background. The consultation suggests we go further, including data by age and disability status. The OfS will also launch an access and participation data set. This will show the extent to which progress is being made across the sector and at individual providers. These measures will cast a brighter spotlight than ever before on institutional performance. It will be evident which institutions are helping to close stubborn gaps in participation and outcomes, and which aren’t. 

David Kernohan analyses OfS’s consultation documents on its approach to regulating access and participation, and explains why it is the biggest change in the realm of widening access since the 2004 genesis of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).

Equality and Diversity – metrics

 Advance He have issued their annual report giving data on age, disability, ethnicity and gender of staff and students for 2016/17.

  • The degree attainment gap between BME undergraduate qualifiers and white undergraduate qualifiers decreased from 15.0 percentage points in 2015/16 to 13.6 percentage points in 2016/17.
  • Overall, 12.0% of UK students disclosed as disabled in 2016/17, with one in five of disabled students reporting a mental health condition.
  • Since 2003/04, the proportion of HE staff disclosing as disabled has more than doubled from 2.2% in 2003/04 to 4.9% in 2016/17.
  • Only one in four professors were women; of these female professors, 91.6% were white, with only 8.4% identifying as BME.
  • More than 1 in 10 students disclosed as disabled in 2016/17 (12.0%)
  • The attainment gap between white and black students qualifying with a First/2:1 degree was 24.0%
  • The majority of academics on fixed-term contracts were aged 40 and under (64.6%)
  • only 1 in 5 female academics earned over £50,000 (22.5% of female academics, compared to 35.6% of male academics)

Where next?   UUK Annual Conference

The Ministerial speech to the annual UUK conference has been used to make major policy announcements in the past but not this year – more of a resetting of tone and relationship.  It seems to have gone down well.  Although when you read it he isn’t actually rowing back from much of the negative stuff he has said recently – just putting it in a more positive context.  Fluff?  Or a genuine change of approach?  We’ll see.

Research Professional have published their usual brilliantly scathing annotated version of the speech.

Some quotes from the actual speech (and we have covered other bits below in the relevant sections).

  • When I took office in January, I said that we were now in the Age of the Student. Since then I’ve made it a priority to visit campuses and listen to students. I’m going to keep on doing this.
  • Let me start by setting out what I hope I have made obvious in the past 9 months: I love our universities.
  • Going to university is worth it.
  • A good degree [note the caveat] is worth the investment, both the investment that students make through fees, and the investment that the government makes through the T-grant and through the student loans system. Research still demonstrates that the graduate still earn a premium over their lifetime. What is more, university can be a ‘rite of passage’ – with an important opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
  • …it is a good time to challenge other myths that surround our universities.  Like the idea that universities provide only academic education, rather than a vocational one. One only needs to look at the list of courses at some at some of our oldest universities to realise the idea that degrees are academic, not vocational is mistaken.  Let’s also challenge the false dichotomy between Higher Education and Further Education that dominates the public debate on post 18 education. In fact, we have further and technical education being taught in the Higher Education sector, and higher education qualifications being awarded in the Further Education sector. This is not a zero-sum game. If the UK is to thrive we need more technical skills and more general analytic and creative skills; more vocational education and more academic education; more Level 4 and 5 skills and more degrees, both undergraduate and graduate level.
  • [here’s the caveat] This is not to say that every degree at every university is as good as it can be. I have spoken before about the importance of understanding which degrees do not offer value for money, and making sure students have the information to make the choices that are right for them. But it is right that we make a full-throated defence of the value of university education as a whole.
  • That is not to say that the political debate that universities find themselves in can be ignored. If universities want to play an active role in the public realm, you and the Government collectively have a duty to earn and retain the public’s trust.  There are two particular areas where we need to be vigilant.  The first is value for money. I’ve spoken before about the need to ensure that students get a quality education in return for the investment they make. If the perception grows that universities are offering threadbare courses, or prioritising getting bums on seats [so he hasn’t dropped that rhetoric either] over quality, the credibility of the HE sector as a whole will suffer. Likewise if universities see applicants as commodities, and neglect the student experience or their mental health needs. Or if universities are seen as hotbeds of unjustified high salaries.  This is why we have pushed ahead with the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework and Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset. And it is why I have been vocal on issues like the growth of unconditional offers, mental health on campus and the rise of essay mills.  The other big risk for universities is becoming disconnected from the wider world. If universities are seen as ideological echo chambers; if research is seen as disconnected from the wider world; if universities are seen as distant from their communities, again, their mission will be compromised and their credibility will suffer.  I know that many of you work hard to prevent this kind of turning inwards. Our best universities are not ivory towers. Still less are they “left-wing madrassas”, as one controversialist chose to describe them. But ideological diversity, strong research cultures, engagement with the wider world, and fair access are ongoing battles – and the price of failure will be very high.
  • It may not be fashionable to say it, but at times like this, we need experts more than ever. This is not the time for our universities to shrink back and sulk. We need our universities to engage and lead in these debates publicly, because you are the connective tissue to the next generation. 
  • We will need to make the most of universities’ direct contribution to the economy too.
  • Our vision must be local as well as global. The great universities of the nineteenth and early twentieth century were founded with a clear civic vision. They promoted not just the republic of knowledge, but also their local town and community.

The President of UUK,  Dame Janet Beer, also spoke.

Fees and funding

The Minister spoke at UUK this week (see above) and so did Philip Augar.  No firm news on the Post-18 review but there were some hints. The Minister said:

  • We should also be clear-eyed about the advantages of our Higher Education funding system. The English system of funding undergraduate study through fees and loans has allowed us to remove student number caps, made access fairer, and kept our universities adequately funded to pursue their mission…Our student finance system is not perfect. But it has some major advantages. And I can assure you, I am deeply aware of them.

Research Professional quote Philip Augar:

  • “The taxpayer’s contribution to higher education is largely concealed from the public eye; it’s largely concealed by the current method of accounting for student loans,” Augar told the conference.
  • “We don’t know what the ONS will say; we don’t even know exactly when they are going to say it. But the working assumption has to be that things will change, and presumably will change at the most extreme end in terms of bringing…more of the debt write-off onto the balance sheet, and presumably some change in the manner of accounting for interest received. This will lead, we think, to much more public scrutiny of the taxpayer subsidy for higher education, in particular to the cliff edge in debt that crystallises in the 2040s.”
  • Commenting on the timetable for the review, set to be published in early 2019, Augar said that the ONS review made it more complex. He added that the interim report would be released “hopefully before the end of this year, it’s possible that could slip, it depends entirely on the timing of the ONS review and in fact it is a decision for government.” 

The President of UUK, Dame Janet Beer, also spoke:

  • As you heard last night from Lord Willetts, there is a sense of déjà vu when considering university funding policy. Once again, we have a major post-18 review of HE and FE funding in England – and we will hear more from its chair, Philip Augar, later today.
  • While political pressures arguably triggered this review, the government should aspire to outcomes which are long-term and far-reaching, and avoid short-term fixes which may ultimately backfire.
  • Fee differentiation, by subject of study or graduate earnings, is not without risk. A cut in the headline fee, for example, will not solve the widespread misunderstanding of the student finance system. Nor will it eradicate the deep-rooted fears around debt. Returning to an era when student numbers in England were capped would be a backward step which government should avoid.
  • The Augar review – and its subsequent implementation – provides a fantastic opportunity to improve the system for students in a number of ways.
  • It should offer solutions to address the long-term decline in part-time and mature student numbers. It should increase financial support for those most in need through targeted maintenance grants to reduce fears about the cost of living. It should help students move more easily between further and higher education according to their needs. And it should strive to improve understanding of the progressive nature of student loans and the value of a degree for students.

Government priorities – migration

UUK are calling for a new post-study work visa scheme to help the UK increase global market share.  The press release is here.  Although there has been modest growth in international student numbers, the concern is market share: Since 2011, countries such as Australia, Canada, and the US have seen high growth in international demand for study, while the total number of enrolled international students in the UK has stayed flat, leading to lost market share.

The Minister responded to this in his speech to UUK:

  • The forthcoming report of the Migration Advisory Committee on student migration offers us an opportunity to ensure our policy on student migration recognises the contribution that overseas students make to our universities, our balance of trade and our communities. We can build on the global perspective of UKRI’s £1 billion Future Leaders Fellowship programme and the UKRI visa regime.  I welcome the fresh thinking behind UUK’s proposals on an expanded post study work offer for overseas students. Certainly, if we want our universities to win globally, our actions must match our ambition.

UUK also link to a new survey from ComRes showing that people support this: “The call comes as a new poll from ComRes (findings attached) reveals increased support for international students and graduates in the UK. Nearly three quarters (72%) of British adults polled think that international students should be able to stay in the UK post-graduation for one year or more to gain work experience.”

The detailed proposal is here.

  • We are proposing that the UK introduces a new, temporary Global Graduate Talent Visa. Under this visa, all Higher Education Institutions registered as Tier 4 sponsors would be able to sponsor their graduates to search for and gain work experience in the UK for up to two years on a more flexible basis than currently permitted by the Tier 2 visa, without restrictions on job level or salary, and without an employer sponsorship requirement.
  • This new visa would give international graduates a longer period to search for a Tier 2 eligible role and allow a wider range of employers to benefit from access to talented graduates from around the world including small and medium employers who do not have Tier 2 sponsorship licences.
  • In line with competitor economies (USA, Canada, Australia), this visa category would permit graduates to search for work and report all changes in their employment or address to their university using an online system similar to that used in the USA for the F-1 OPT migration route. Time spent on the new visa would not count towards settlement in the UK. Once a graduate has found a job which enables them to switch into Tier 2 as a ‘new entrant’, they would be expected to do so, and those who did not find a job offer sufficient to move into Tier 2 would be required to leave at the end of the period covered by the visa. Graduates of any programme of study at an eligible UK university lasting longer than 11 months would be eligible to remain on this visa for up to two years. Universities would have the flexibility to manage the licence for the new visa system separately from their Tier 4 licence, through a new but linked corporate entity to remove the risk of disruption if the Home Office has concerns about either licence.
  • Alongside the proposed new visa, Universities UK will work with member universities to support local SMEs to hire international graduates under the existing Tier 2 route by informing them about the Tier 2 sponsorship system and the process for applying to be a Tier 2 sponsor. This will help to increase the number of Tier 2 sponsoring employers across the UK. Together these measures will enable more regional SMEs to benefit from the skills of international graduates, including in shortage areas like engineering and business services.
  • We are also calling for the current £20,800 Tier 2 ‘new entrant’ salary threshold to be nuanced, in light of differences between this threshold average in UK/EU graduate salaries across different regions of the UK, and for female graduates. The Destination of Leavers of Higher Education Survey (DLHE), which surveys all UK graduates six months after graduating, found that first (bachelors) degree graduates only achieve the required salary level in six regions of the UK, while female graduates only achieve the required level in London, the South East, and Scotland. We are proposing £19,500 as a reasonable level. This is higher than the salary threshold required for a UK citizen to bring over a non-EU spouse (£18,600) and in line with graduate starting salaries across the UK as reported in the DLHE.

The survey press release is here: “three quarters (72%) of British adults think that international students should be able to stay and work in the UK post-graduation for one year or more”

And the data is here

The majority of the British public would like to see the same number or more international students:

  • Only 26% of the British public think of international students as immigrants when thinking about Government immigration policy.
  • Two thirds (64%) of British adults think international students have a positive impact on the local economies of the towns and cities in which they study.
  • Three quarters (75%) of the British public also believe that international students should be allowed to work in the UK for a fixed time after they have graduated, rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their studies.

Press:

Mental Health

UUK has issued guidance for universities on preventing student suicides, working with PAPYRUS, the UK’s national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.

At least 95 university students took their own lives in the last academic year. Although new data published by the Office for National Statistics shows that there is a significantly lower rate of student suicide among university students in England and Wales compared with the general population, university leaders have said that there is no room for complacency.

The guide includes advice on developing a strategy focused specifically on suicide prevention, covering the following areas:

  • Steps to prevent student suicide
  • Intervening when students get into difficulties
  • Best practice for responding to student suicides
  • Case studies on approaches to suicide prevention through partnership working
  • Checklist highlighting steps university leaders can take to make their communities safer

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has launched eight new Mental Health Networks that will bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address important mental health research questions.

The new £8m Networks, funded by UKRI and the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy for four years (one for three), will progress mental health research in themes such as the profound health inequalities for people with severe mental ill health, social isolation, youth and student mental health, domestic and sexual violence, and the value of community assets.

  • MARCH: Social, Cultural and Community Assets for Mental Health, Led by: Dr Daisy Fancourt, UCL
  • Loneliness and social isolation in mental health, Led by: Professor Sonia Johnson, UCL
  • Violence, Abuse and Mental Health: Opportunities for Change, Led by: Professor Louise Howard and Dr Sian Oram, King’s College London
  • Transdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health (TRIUMPH) Network, Led by: Professor Lisa McDaid, University of Glasgow
  • SMARtEN: Student Mental Health Research Network, Led by: Dr Nicola Byrom, King’s College London
  • The Nurture Network: Promoting Young People’s Mental Health in a Digital World, Led by: Professor Gordon Harold, University of Sussex
  • Emerging Minds: Action for Child Mental Health, Led by: Professor Cathy Creswell, University of Reading
  • Improving health and reducing health inequalities for people with severe mental illness: the ‘Closing the Gap’ Network+, Led by: Professor Simon Gilbody, University of York

OfS and UKRI sign collaboration agreement

The Office for Students (OfS) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have signed a collaboration agreement confirming how the two organisations work together on shared priorities across research and teaching.

It is intended to promote:

  • Effective working and communication between the two organisations
  • Clarity of understanding about our respective roles and responsibilities
  • Compliant sharing of information and intelligence between the two organisations

The detail is all in the schedules – the headings are:

  • Liaison (2 meetings a year)
  • Governance
  • Regulatory Framework/Assurance:

Covers:

  • Financial health and sustainability analysis
  • TRAC (System)
  • Sustainability and funding of the collective ‘HE system’
  • Gateways to HE (RDAP) [you’ll remember this as a hot topic from the HERA discussions in 2017]
  • Quality and standards
  • Specific research funding initiatives to English HE Providers. (e.g. UKRPIF)
  • Data sharing arrangements/ Designated Data Body
  • HE Policy shared interests

Covers

  • Skills and the industrial strategy
  • Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education
  • Healthcare
  • Knowledge Exchange
  • REF, TEF and KEF
  • Joint funded initiatives

Those of you who have read this blog for a while will be aware that at BU we have written before about the way that REF and TEF work together and have raised this in numerous consultation responses for both REF and TEF.  We are disappointed to see that the statement in this agreement waters down even further the language we have seen before in responses on this and we look forward to seeing what this actually means in practice – probably not very much.

  • We will work to ensure that the TEF, the KEF and the REF are mutually reinforcing in how they recognise and reward the delivery of excellent research, teaching, knowledge exchange. We will be proactive in sharing and consulting on intended developments.

Brexit

On Brexit the President of UUK, Dame Janet Beer, spoke at the UUK conference:

…for universities, the uncertainty is as damaging as a difficult outcome.

  • We need greater certainty that we will be able to recruit EU students and staff, collaborate easily with our European partners, and continue to grow outward student mobility to Europe and beyond
  • We need the continued mutual recognition of professional qualifications – for our doctors, nurses, lawyers and architects to name but a few
  • We need a satisfactory agreement on the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border that protects and promotes collaboration with our nearest neighbour, and
  • We need government to engage more meaningfully with devolved administrations to ensure an effective settlement can be achieved UK-wide.

Since the referendum result, our sector has worked constructively with government. Our academics have shared their expertise, our staff and students have highlighted issues which must be addressed, and collectively we have attempted to provide solutions rather than snipe from the sidelines.

But, in common with organisations such as the CBI, we must now prepare for the possibility of ‘no deal’ and the disruption this will bring. UUK’s Board therefore calls on the government to boost stability over the coming months. This means:

  • Committing to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals working, studying or entering the UK as of 31 December 2020
  • Ensuring that any substantive changes to EU migration rules are preceded by a period of two years to allow universities and prospective staff and students to prepare for any new system; and
  • Setting out contingency plans for replacing access to Erasmus+ so that UK students do not miss out on the transformational experience of spending time studying, volunteering or working abroad.

Students’ Unions

HEPI have published a new report “David versus Goliath: The past, present and future of students’ unions in the UK”.

The paper sets out a historical perspective, and provides interesting context for those of us who have always been a bit puzzled about the antipathy some politicians seem to feel for elected student representatives, probably dating from their own experiences of SU’s at university.  This antipathy seems to have coloured the recent debates about student participation in the new regulatory structures – leading to the successful campaign in 2016/17 by the NUS to persuade Jo Johnson to give students more of a voice in the OfS.

Looking forward there is a long list of recommendations , some interesting ones below:

  • The Office for Students, the Quality Assurance Agency, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator should consider how they might best enable students’ unions to be more effective, particularly in the arena of academic governance. This must go beyond briefing materials for student sabbatical officers or strategies that engage students in their work. It should consider how different aspects of students’ union capacity might be supported to hold providers to account, understand data, influence quality and cause students to know and be able to enforce their rights
  • The Office for Students should also develop a direct relationship with student representative bodies – if the water regulator (OFWAT) is able to champion independent consumer groups to be actively involved in the development of water supply and liaise directly with it as a regulator, that kind of relationship should not worry us in higher education.
  • AdvanceHE might usefully consider how it might contribute to the capacity of students’ unions to be effective, particularly in relation to leadership, equality and diversity and student engagement.
  • Traditional providers, on the other hand, should take care to ensure that their unions are funded properly, and that cultures in leadership are demonstrably appreciative of, responsive to and able to articulate with confidence the outcomes of student representation. Crucially, providers of all character should ensure that their students have access to professional, well-funded independent advocacy in the event of a complaint or appeal.
  • . As governing bodies begin to consider their own accountability – to communities, staff and students, their practice in involving students should develop too. This should go beyond the engagement of one or two members of the governing body being drawn from the student body. 80 David versus Goliath: The past, present and future of students’ unions in the UK Instead it should involve students’ unions in the facilitation of student involvement in university strategy, educational character and mission and assessment of institutional performance.
  • Above all, the practice observed most commonly in institutional cultures – the induction of student leaders into the culture, practice and workings of universities – could usefully be turned on its head. Student leaders occupy a unique position in emerging adulthood, where aspects of youth mix with rapidly developing concepts of responsibility….Perhaps we should do more to induct higher education leaders into that culture rather than attempting to do the opposite.

On Wonkhe, the report’s authors set out the history of students’ unions and discuss their current place in higher education.

International Research

A parliamentary question on international research:

Q – Rebecca Long Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to page 89 of the Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has launched the new international research and innovation strategy.

A – Mr Sam Gyimah: … we intend to publish the International Research and Innovation Strategy in autumn this year.

Consultations

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

New consultations and inquiries this week: A new approach to regulating access and participation in higher education

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CQR starts the seminar year with a Round-up

The first CQR Seminar of the academic year will be a CQR members, assocs, and doc students Round-up! 

Wednesday, 12 Sept at 1 pm in RLH 409.

Nonetheless, those curious about CQR and how they might get involved are welcome to attend!

Agenda

  1. Brain-storming future Go Create! seminar ideas (We have the first half of the year covered, but need ideas and people for the second half.

  2. CQR and CEL are beginning a joint adventure!  We are developing an association with the Centre for Excellence in Learning, particularly around creativity.Come along and share your thoughts.

  3. Research Collaborations!  Many of you have ideas for projects, big and small, and just need that extra pair of hands (and creative input!) to make it happen. A chance to put your ideas forward, and see who might help make them happen!

  4. Any other business

Start the new academic year with camaraderie and conviviality.

We look forward to seeing lots of you at the Round-up 12 Sept.!

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.

 

What North Korean defectors say about women’s lives under the Kim regime

Hyun-Joo Lim, Bournemouth University

Glimpses of hope are visible on the Korean Peninsula for the first time in years. North Korea and the US have held some of their most important denuclearisation talks to date, and the Pyongyang leadership has embarked on what looks like a serious peace process with Seoul. The sight of a smiling Kim Jong-un holding hands with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump showed a different side to the North Korean supreme leader, suggesting he does in fact want to see progress towards a happier, more open era.

But while the world’s media focuses on the bravado over denuclearisation, the dire human rights situation inside the regime is being overlooked. Even during the talks, both Moon and Trump avoided directly raising such issues with Kim, eager as they were to achieve their own key objectives. It was galling to hear so little about the lives of ordinary North Koreans – and in particular women.

Many of North Korea’s women suffer daily abuse and injustice, and behind the international politics, there’s no sign that the situation is improving. In my own interviews with both male and female defectors, I heard about the day-to-day inequality, and also the violations of basic rights that women inside North Korea face as a matter of routine.

Trouble at home

North Koreans live in a paradoxical, confused system of gender relations. While Marxist Communism has been the fundamental organising principle of life in the north, Confucian patriarchy has shaped society, too, forming the backbone of North Korean society. Much as happened in post-revolutionary China, the superficial promulgation of equality belies the marked gender segregation of everyday life.

Some interviewees talked about their ordeals in the face of domestic violence. One participant expressed the anger and frustration she felt, as well as her relief when her husband died after more than 20 years abusing her. According to her, there is no redress for North Korean women who are subject to ongoing violence within the household, which is often seen as legitimate treatment.

When the famine began in the early 1990s, it was the women who took responsibility for family survival, going out to sell products and exchange goods. Another participant described how North Korean women often call men in the household “guard dogs” – tough figureheads who stay at home making no particular contribution.

Feeding starving families is largely left to women outside the formal workforce, who are subjected to less government control. These women are left to slip through the official system and get involved in black market trade or informal markets known as “Jangmadang”. Worse, some husbands take the goods their wives buy to exchange them for alcohol, or demand that their exhausted wives bring them alcohol even if their family has nothing to eat. If they do not, they are punished with abuse.

Isolated and shamed

Sexual violence is also a common problem inside the army. Being able to join the Worker’s Party of Korea is an essential pathway to a secure, successful life in North Korea, and a major reason for women to join the army is to become a member of the party. Senior male officials frequently exploit this as a means to manipulate and harass young women, threatening to block their chances of joining the party if they refuse or attempt to report the abuse. Out of fear, most women suffer in silence.

Female hygiene also remains a serious issue. Female soldiers are not given the chance to wash or change during training outside; my interviewees talked about women in the army being given wound dressings to use instead of sanitary towels. Things are even worse for ordinary female citizens, who have to make do with any materials available, such as off-cuts from men’s used vests or socks.

If they get pregnant unintentionally, women get the blame. Thus, many pregnant women use a range of dangerous methods to abort: tightening their stomach with an army belt to hide their growing pregnancy, taking anthelmintic medicine (antiparasitic drugs designed to remove parasitic worms from the body), or jumping off and rolling down the high mountain hills. Unsurprisingly, it’s common to find foetuses in army facilities’ toilets.

The gender divide in North Korea is so deeply ingrained – this is a society that has no term for sexual harassment – that women often blame each other rather than men for not behaving appropriately in these situations.

These stories all paint a distressing picture. It seems North Korea’s women are still trapped not only in systemic poverty, but in a deep-seated structure of gender inequality. Hence, we should not forget about the suffering of ordinary women inside the DPRK, hidden behind the glaring headlines of sweet smiles and big hugs between leaders. Denuclearisation is a step forward, but progress on human rights is the leap that’s needed most.The Conversation

Hyun-Joo Lim, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Bournemouth University

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

Gender inequalities in science won’t self-correct: it’s time for action


File 20180904 45158 gxwcf1.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Coastal geoscience and engineering is a broad discipline focused on physical processes at the interface of land and sea.
Marco Ferraz, Author provided

Sarah Hamylton, University of Wollongong; Ana Vila Concejo, University of Sydney; Luciana Esteves, Bournemouth University, and Shari L. Gallop, Macquarie University

Harassed on fieldtrips. Excluded from projects. On the receiving end of micro-aggressions. A lack of female role models.

These are some of our collective experiences as women working in science and engineering.

Such experiences erode research opportunities and career progression, leading to the loss of many brilliant women from our disciplinary field – along similar lines as we’ve recently seen exposed in Australian federal parliament.

Today we published a global snapshot of the status of women in coastal science and engineering. The results show that gender inequity is still a major problem in the daily work lives of women globally.

And since gender inequalities in science won’t self-correct, we’ve developed some solutions based on our findings.

Tokenism is real in science.
Naomi Edwards, Author provided

Working at the water’s edge

We work in coastal geoscience and engineering, a broad discipline focused on physical processes at the interface of land and sea. Here’s one of our experiences:

For twenty years people had been telling me how lucky I was to be in our field of research because “things” were changing for young women.

This didn’t resonate with my experiences. Twenty years later “things” had not changed and I was no longer a young woman. I started talking to other women and found that they had faced similar challenges, and wanted to see change. – Ana Vila-Concejo

To catalyse change, we founded the Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering (WICGE) network in 2016. Our first project was a study to understand the main issues faced by women who work in our field.

I’m pregnant, I’m a scientist. Now what?
Naomi Edwards, Author provided

Global snapshot

We surveyed 314 members of the coastal science and engineering community and analysed the gender representation in 9 societies, 25 journals, and 10 conferences.

We found that while women represent 30% of the international coastal science community, they are consistently underrepresented in leadership positions (such as being on journal editorial boards and as conference organisers). This situation was clearly acknowledged by the coastal sciences community, with 82% of females and 79% of males believing that there are not enough female role models.

Female representation in prestige roles was the highest (reaching the expected 30%) only when there was a clear entry pathway that gave women an opportunity to volunteer for a role.

Female representation was the lowest for the traditional “invite-only” prestige roles.

A significantly larger proportion of females felt held back in their careers due to gender than their male counterparts (46% of females in comparison to 9% of males).

Reasons for this include:

  • a “glass ceiling” of informal workplace cultures and customs that reduce womens’ chances of promotion
  • gender stereotyping of women not being competent in STEM disciplines
  • a “boys’ club” tendency to favour men in recruitment and collaboration, and
  • widely held assumptions that a woman’s job performance will be impacted by her having children (the “maternal wall”).
It feels like a boys’ club.
Naomi Edwards, Author provided

Fieldwork emerged as a key area of inequity, with female respondents being excluded or outright banned from research ships. For those respondents who made it to the field, many of them reported experiencing gender stereotyping and/or sexual harassment.

We used our survey to ask some forthright, open-ended questions about peoples’ experiences and observations of gender equality.

As a study author, the day I went over the responses was one that I will never forget. Stories of bullying, abortion and sexual harassment had me in tears at my desk. Inequality was consistent, pervasive and, in many cases, traumatic. – Sarah Hamylton.

So, what can be done?

Seven steps toward improving gender equity

Gender imbalances in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are not a self-correcting phenomenon – so here are some ways to make science more inclusive for women.

Ways to make science more inclusive for women.
Naomi Edwards, Author provided
  1. Advocate for more women in prestige roles: Ensure fair representation of women as keynote speakers at conferences, on society boards and journal editorial boards. Have clear pathways to prestige roles giving women an opportunity to apply if they wish to do so.

  2. Promote high-achieving females: Recognise the achievements of females, and select them for roles that increase their visibility as role models.

  3. Be aware of gender bias: Consciously reflect on personal biases when hiring, promoting and mentoring staff.

  4. Speak up, call it out: Point out to conference organisers all-male panels and keynote programs and, where they are underrepresented, write to chief editors suggesting women for editorial boards.

  5. Provide better support for returning to work after maternity leave: Higher levels of support and more flexible conditions for women returning from maternity leave encourage women to stay in their employment after having children, thereby increasing their prospects of reaching more senior posts.

  6. Redefine success: Recognise the diverse range of definitions of what it means to be a successful researcher.

  7. Encourage women to enter the discipline at a young age: Many school-age girls are put off the idea of entering STEM disciplines as they are socially and culturally deemed to be “male” pursuits. This needs to be addressed.

Change is happening – but it’s slow.
Naomi Edwards, Author provided

The Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering network is already successfully implementing some of these steps.

By choosing to ignore inequity for women, you become accountable for allowing it to continue. Speak up, promote the work of your female colleagues and give them voice and visibility.

This problem transcends STEM disciplines. It is crucial that the wider community becomes aware of the extent of inequity so that, where necessary, everyone can take action to improve the governance and culture of their work place.The Conversation

Sarah Hamylton, Senior Lecturer, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong; Ana Vila Concejo, Associate professor, University of Sydney; Luciana Esteves, Associate professor, Bournemouth University, and Shari L. Gallop, Lecturer, Macquarie University

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

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.