Category / research staff

BU Research Supervisors’ good practice recognised in national pilot programme

Earlier this year, the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) ran a pilot scheme exploring the feasibility of a Research Supervision Recognition Programme to set a benchmark for good-practice in research supervision and to shine a light on this under-appreciated area of academic practice.

BU was one of 13 HEIs invited to participate in the pilot and, to recognise and celebrate good practice in research supervision here at BU, three supervisors from three faculties (FHSS, FM, FST) was asked to take part. Each participant wrote an extended reflective statement on their supervisory experience and practice, focusing on all areas of the role.  All applications were successfully assessed by the UKCGE review panel and participants were commended for the commitment and enthusiasm they demonstrate for the role, and are now able to use the title “UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor”.

The Doctoral College led the institutional participation in the pilot and Dr Fiona Knight reported to UKCGE that “Bournemouth University is continually identifying mechanisms to improve the experience of our PGRs and recognise that the quality of the supervisory relationship is central to this. We welcome this scheme as a way of encouraging our new and established supervisors to reflect on their practice whilst engaging with continuing professional development.”

UKCGE has now launched the Good Supervisory Practice Framework which acknowledges, for the first time at a national level, the wide-ranging, highly complex and demanding set of roles involved in modern research supervision. The framework is designed to set expectations for all supervisors and sets out the criteria used to define good supervisory practice are based on the substantive body of academic literature. Professor Stan Taylor of Durham University, who was instrumental in developing the criteria, was External Examiner for the former PG Cert Research Degree Supervision at BU. It is UKCGE’s ambition that, ‘in addition to enabling supervisors to demonstrate their ability to colleagues and candidates, the criteria underpinning the programme will create a benchmark that becomes the standard for effective supervisory practice the programme’ (Dr Gill Houston, Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education).

Recent Advance HE PRES results for BU indicate that the majority of PGRs feel very positive about their supervisory experiences, however, it is acknowledged that supervisors can feel undervalued and overwhelmed by the scale of their task that is often undertaken in addition to many other academic responsibilities.

Roll out of programme 

The Doctoral College plans to formalise BU’s engagement with the programme through its on-going programme of supervisory development activities in a process akin to TeachBU. This will enable individuals to demonstrate that they have met the good supervisory criteria and duly receive recognition. Not only will this provide encouragement for supervisors to engage with continuing professional development but it will also provide a structured process to support the development of high quality research supervision and public evidence of the quality of supervision across BU, whist aligning with a number of BU’s strategic goals that are articulated in BU2025.

Further details will be made available in due course however, if you are interested in learning more, please contact Doctoral College .

External Survey – Research-active academic staff

We have received notification of an external survey:

Vitae are hosting a survey that is open to research-active academic staff, regardless of career stage or level of engagement, across the UK’s Higher Education Institutions. Results will provide an evidence-based outline of the current position across the UK to help improve training, support and professional development in higher education.

The survey will help identify examples of good practice that can be shared and mainstreamed and will also identify whether there are important gaps in researcher development and training provisions at key stages of a research-active member’s career that should be filled.

By taking part in the surveyyou will help make a contribution to achieving a good and healthy research environment, and helping further embed the reputation of UK Higher Education in an increasingly competitive world research environment.

It is different from the consultation to Support the Career Development of Researchers, which ran last year, and in addition to the Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS), as the current survey focuses specifically on the training aspect of researcher development.

Complete survey here (deadline Friday 29 November 2019)  

or at https://www.vitae.ac.uk/impact-and-evaluation/review-of-staff-development-and-support-provision-for-academic-research-across-uk-higher-education-institutions

The survey is being hosted and the data processed by Vitae on behalf of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Oxford Brookes University.

This is an external survey with Bournemouth University not responsible for any third party links. This post is to raise awareness of this initiative only.

BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months and up to six months, in exceptional circumstances) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2019 to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six months in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).