Category / Strategic Investment Areas

EVENT: Returning to Sport Sustainably Post-Covid

The Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) invites you to join us at our lunchtime seminar, “Returning to Sport Sustainably Post-Covid”. The seminar is taking place on Wednesday 7 July, between midday and 1.30pm.

The event, which is being held in conjunction with BASIS (the British Association for Sustainable Sport), aims to bring together practitioners and academics working in sport & sustainability, to discuss key issues and best practice as we emerge from lockdown.

The seminar is an excellent opportunity for BU staff to engage with those working in industry, in one of BU’s Strategic Investment Areas – Sustainability.

Programme:

12.00   Introduction: Sport and Sustainability Research – Raf Nicholson (Bournemouth University)

12.10   Building Back Better: The BASIS White Paper – Russell Seymour (CEO of BASIS)

12.25   Strategies to Ensure the Sustainability of Women’s Sport – Beth Clarkson (University of Portsmouth) and Keith Parry (Bournemouth University)

12.40   Returning to Action – Leigh Thompson (Head of Policy, Sport and Recreation Alliance)

12.55   Roundtable Discussion: Returning to Sport Sustainably Post-Covid

 

The Zoom link for the seminar is here: https://bournemouth-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/89306375276?pwd=SWJSay80QTl3V256eWk2N3JhMUtmUT09

 

For any queries, contact Dr Raf Nicholson – rnicholson@bournemouth.ac.uk

Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation to be part of study to test new Alzheimer’s diagnostic tool

BU’s Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation (IMIV) will be part of a project awarded funding by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to test a new Alzheimer’s diagnostic tool in the NHS.

The three-year multi-centre study, led by Oxford Brain Diagnostics (OBD), aims to assess the use of Cortical Disarray Measurement (CDM®) as a tool to identify and predict disease progression amongst patients presenting with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease.

As part of the project, a total of 300 MRI scans from NHS patients in the early stages of the disease will be examined using CDM to distinguish patient cohorts and measure changes in brain structure over time.

This will enable the project team to assess how improved diagnosis will impact on current treatment pathways and patient outcomes, and to assess future economic impact across primary, secondary, and social care.

IMIV will be one of the centres carrying out imaging for this study using its state-of-the-art Siemens Lumina 3T MRI scanner. IMIV MRI Operations Manager John Totman said: “Our Siemens scanner has the capacity and capabilities to perform complex neuroimaging research studies, and we look forward to working with OBD in delivering this project.”

The project also involves the University of Oxford Health Economics Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, NIHR Community Healthcare MedTech and IVD Cooperative, Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board, the University of Southampton, and Cardiff University.

It has been awarded funding of £1.4m from the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme.

Dr Jamie Franklin, Head of the Institute of Imaging and Visualisation, said, “We are excited to be using Bournemouth University’s fantastic imaging facilities to contribute to this innovative and collaborative project.”

SIA game-changing ideas EoI call: reminder to drop-in!

At the risk of needling you with yet another blogpost regarding our exciting Strategic Investment Areas Game-Changing Ideas call for Expressions of Interest (closing 30 April), RDS will take this opportunity to remind you that there are a further two drop-in sessions, on 19 and 22 April respectively: you can find the meeting links on the blogpost regarding these events here: https://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2021/04/01/the-call-for-game-changing-research-concepts-is-currently-open/.

Tips on completion of the EoI will be dispensed at those events, which are entirely informal and also provide possible networking opportunities with others whose ideas may resonatewith yours and with whom you may consider strategically joining join forces.

Finally, should game-changing ideas crossover with one of the other SIAs (as they invariably will, if grand!), we can advise that there are two remaining SIA briefings: Assistive Technology on 22 April, 10.30am, and Sustainability, Low Carbon Technology and Materials Science on 23 April at 10.00am. For the session links, see https://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2021/04/12/88688/

Do pitch up for an informal chat over how you can make your idea a winning one. We look forward to seeing you there!

How do I get involved with the Strategic Investment Areas at BU? Insight for academics and professional service staff

Since BU’s strategic plan went live in 2018, one of the questions that I am frequently asked – in my capacity as a research manager – is how do I get involved in the Strategic Investment Areas? This is a remarkably tricky question to answer, as I’m always concerned that being overly prescriptive risks stifling creativity and innovation; and as such you won’t find a prescriptive list of ways to get involved in strategic growth. After all, we are a University, and not a sausage factory, so providing operational frameworks that assume certain inputs will lead to a set of standardised outputs, is far from appropriate.

I’ve also met with considerable antagonism over the years as to the nature of the SIAs with a common criticism that they focus on a small number of STEM orientated areas. As a social scientist myself (who spent ten years undertaking interdisciplinary research before stepping over to the ‘dark side’), I would dispute this perception, and would suggest that the scope of the SIAs is tremendous, and there is great contribution to be made from all disciplinary areas. I’ve yet to find any area of research which does not link, in some way at least, to the scope of the SIAs – although, feel free to challenge me! Much like undertaking public engagement, some disciplinary areas take a bit more creativity to make the connections, but it is always possible if you are willing.

But how do you make a meaningful contribution to strategic growth without a list of schemes, events and seed funding opportunities to feel as if you are ‘doing something’?  Here are some of my ideas, on how anyone from BU’s academic community can become more closely involved with the SIAs:

  • Get involved with an existing SIA-related initiative. They are all inherently interdisciplinary in nature, led and supported by welcoming colleagues. Details of the initiatives, including IMSET, IMIV and the ASV Network have been posted this week on the Research Blog.
  • Got an idea you’d like to pursue, or an area of interest and a skill set you’d like to contribute to something bigger? Get networking. Cross University strategic growth rarely happens owing to one individual working in isolation. One of the great joys of working in Higher Education is the ability to connect with a vast breadth of disciplinary and methodological expertise, and – perhaps more importantly – a set of colleagues with a passion for research and addressing the challenges that society faces.
  • Have an idea that has the potential to change the world? Tell the University about it so it can be enabled. We currently have an open call running for game-changing concepts so you can do exactly that. This is your opportunity to highlight what you could do and articulate what you need support with the achieve it.
  • Apply for external funding, be bold in how much you apply for and don’t think to yourself that it is ‘too early’ in your career. Funders, especially more ‘non-traditional funders’ are often looking for radical/innovative ideas to enable through funding and are often short of fundable solutions. Always ensure your application tells the funder how your research will enable their strategic aims and don’t assume they will be able to make the connection if you articulate your research interests and associated questions alone (i.e. without answering the question as to why it is beneficial to the funder to support you).
  • Build your external networks. In particular, consider how colleagues at BU can enable you to do this. For example, Dr Alastair Morrison – our International Partnerships Manager – does a fantastic job making connections between BU and Universities around the world. Ian Jones, our Head of External Engagement has an extensive contact book and is actively seeking ways to ensure he can enable our strategic research growth.
  • Build a digital presence by considering how you can reach out through the power of social media, including our very own research blog and your BU staff profile page (powered by brian.bournemouth.ac.uk). In the world of digital marketing, content is so important (hello algorithms), so get yourself known and have confidence in your ideas.
  • Ask those outside of academia what the major challenges that they face are. This is can be such a rich source of inspiration. Industry captains may well be able to articulate a problem their factories have faced for years, or children may ask the seemingly obvious questions which require research to resolve. One that sticks in my mind from a child at a local event who asked, ‘why don’t we make prosthetics for racing horses rather than putting them to sleep?’ Why not indeed.
  • Prioritise strategic research growth, make a plan and find a way of sticking to it. It’s very easy for research dreams to ‘get lost’ in the day to day, with education and domestic duties seemingly endless. It is important to carve out the time to think creatively and to plan what you will do by when. And to paraphrase Sheryl Sandberg, done is better than perfect (perfectionism being so interlinked with procrastination).

This is not exclusive to our academic community; our professional services have an integral role to play in enabling strategic research growth. Without engaged professional service colleagues, we will not be able to fully realise the potential of our game-changing research ideas. Exactly how  research becomes a lived reality depends on the nature of research and specific operational support required, but an excellent first step is to listen to researchers on how your service (and associated processes and culture) can be a core enabler. Knowledge exchange between academics and practitioners is an area I am passionate about and one which I am always delighted to discuss further, in any fora. Looking at the trajectory of other institutions can also be inspirational: The University of Bath’s historic development provides a fascinating reminder of how Universities can grow rapidly to meet the needs of society; hundreds of years of history is not a pre-requisite for being a world-leading research institution.  The success of such institutions has not been based purely on academic strengths, but the collaborative cross-team working to make an ambition a lived reality. Good practice exchanges with counter parts in other institutions can help to reveal the most effective path forward, and the diversions that are best avoided!

Securing strategic growth is not easy; it presents many challenges to overcome which are intellectual and operational in nature. That said, the challenges these present can be instrumental in our development and capabilities in leading transformative research (see, for example, the concept of a Crucible). What I do know, is that since joining BU some nine years ago, confirmed by our most recent REF submission, I have seen the University grow exponentially from 2014 to 2021. As we look ahead to the future, I look forward to continuing to collaborate with colleagues. I firmly encourage you all to engage with our SIAs, and for us all to collaborate, not just to secure a strategic growth for BU, but also address the core challenges society needs us to.

Animation, Simulation, Visualisation: you are already immersed….

“Smart” homes, cities, and motorways, the Internet of Things, and Digital Twins are just some of the 21st century phenomena fast becoming – if not yet a ubiquitous reality on the (Western) ground – at least now common parlance, and no aspect of our lived experience and myriad environments remains untouched by such technologies. As you will be aware, your research – in whatever field you specialise – is not unaffected by these developments. Our Animation, Simulation and Visualisation (ASV) Network literally and virtually plugs into these digital drivers and interfaces, now forming an expanding transdisciplinary group populated by talented, research-active academics from all BU faculties and several research centres, and sharing a commitment to growing high-end, collaborative, fundamental and applied research at BU.
Included in the network are our internationally reputable National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) and the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) – both renowned for sterling achievements in their fields – and our more recently launched Institute for the Modelling of Socio-Environmental Transitions (IMSET), and Institute for Medical Imaging and Visualisation (IMIV), who already have a raft of invigorating projects in the pipeline. They are exemplars of the scope and impact of ASV-based or deployed research, and mentioned here to fire up your enthusiasm to explore ASV and ponder how this strategic investment area may be relevant to or harnessed for your research. The strategic mission of the ASV network is to orient the valuable research projects undertaken by BU academics, their partners and stakeholders towards current “real-world” problems which require innovative solutions.
Whether it is entertainment and the pandemic-induced move towards virtual production, the rapidly-evolving digitisation of education, public health or environmental crisis management, the democratisation of medical self-surveillance, state-of-the-art ASV medical diagnostics, AR/VR-enhanced surgical training, virtual access to natural and cultural heritage, inter alia, ASV features in much of the research and practices, products and outputs immanent to these areas of knowledge and expertise. As well as conceptualising, supporting and securing funding for transdisciplinary projects, the ASV network seeks to nurture ECRs and MCRs in their career progression and encourage BU academics to network and explore ambitious, mutually beneficial cross-fertilisations from an ASV perspective which they may not have considered previously.
If you wish to explore how you might become involved in the mission, aims and objectives of the ASV strategic investment area, and ascertain how you might strategically tailor your research for the common good by becoming part of this broad-based, vibrant and dynamic network, please contact me, Nicolette, at nbliebchen@bournemouth.ac.uk, or via MS Teams for an informal chat.
To pique your interest in the strategic investment areas in general, do have a look at the SIA Expression of Interest call for Game-Changing Concepts on the BU Research Blog (on which you shall also find the EoI template: deadline 30 April 2021)

The Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation (IMIV): getting involved with this SIA enabled initiative

The Institute of Medical Imaging & Visualisation (IMIV) has come to fruition thanks to a central University strategic investment and support from the Dorset LEP Growth Fund. A cross University team, and a series of new appointments, have worked tirelessly over the past two years to turn the concept into a reality. Having overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute will shortly be opening its doors to progress the strategic priorities of the Institute.

Some of the first projects that will utilise the MRI scanner at the heart of the institute, stem from the internal pump priming scheme announced in late 2020 and include:

  • a project to investigate alterations in functional connectivity following therapeutic cold-water immersion (led by Professor Hana Burianova)
  • a study investigating the brain networks involved when two people work together responding to visual targets (led by Dr Xun He)
  • the investigation of a novel, cost-effective and non-invasive therapeutic intervention for individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (led by Dr Rebecca Rendell) and
  • a group of lumbar spine 3-D scans to inform future grant applications for studies into intervertebral loading during spinal motion using MRI and our niche fluoroscopy technology (led by Professor Alan Breen).

Projects are also planned by Professor Carol Clark exploring the impact of sub-concussion on footballers and a pilot study on the feasibility of using abbreviated MRI for liver cancer screening for at-risk patients, led by Anmol Gangi and Dr Jamie Franklin.

Of course, the possibilities for research relating to advanced imaging are endless. As this article from the Chan Zuckerberg initiative articulates, the past, present and future of medical imaging is a truly fascinating endeavour, with endless possibilities for the future through interdisciplinary collaboration.

To forward future research, the IMIV team welcomes research collaboration ideas and colleagues across BU to access the research facilities housed by the institute. To learn more, read about IMIV on BU’s website or contact the core team directly on: IMIV@bournemouth.ac.uk

Research in the time of COVID: Insights from IMSET and opportunities for collaboration  

In this blog post, Dr Fiona Coward explores the profound challenges faced in establishing a transformative research agenda when you lose two seasons of fieldwork, but reminds us of the importance of undertaking activities which are energising and inspiring. On behalf of the IMSET team, she also invites greater collaboration to accelerate our research contribution as we look towards the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this year.  

Well, what a time to pick to launch a research institute! Back in early 2020, we were very excited to have recruited four great new colleagues to the brand new Institute for the Modelling of Socio-Environmental Transitions (IMSET) and anticipated great things… Little did we know. A year later, still in lockdown, we’ve learned a few things about doing research in the time of COVID. How do you do research in lockdown? As many have found, doing anything in lockdown can be tricky. The stress of life under lockdown during a global pandemic is enough to deal with on its own, and of course those of us with caring responsibilities have had other pressures. Add that to the extra time consumed by the frantic shift to online learning – the need to record and caption lectures and plan engaging interactive virtual sessions in lieu of face to face seminars, the additional time spent supporting struggling students… For many of us, research had to take a backseat simply because there were only 24 hours in a day and we were exhausted.  

There are more practical problems, too: some research simply can’t get done in lockdown. Computer modelling can in theory be done from home… but only if you have the data. Producing new data, however, is … well, tricky. To generate entirely new data on global ecology and human behaviour, there’s no getting around the fact that you need to get out around the globe. It’s impossible to understand past patterns of sea level rise in northern Vietnam without going out there and logging the coordinates of sea notches on the ground; likewise, understanding past environments around the long-drowned continent of Beringia which once connected eastern Russia and north-western America can’t be done without fieldwork to collect samples of ancient plants and animal species. And without access to labs and specialist equipment, it’s impossible to analyse samples and data collected previously. We valiantly battled this one: IMSET’s postdoc was faintly embarrassed to have a new fridge delivered to her house at the start of lockdown, worried she’d be accused of stockpiling food rather than needing space to keep temperature-sensitive samples that could – with difficulty – be studied at home. OK, well fieldwork could wait, yes? Well, no, not really … much of IMSET’s fieldwork is highly seasonal in nature. For fairly obvious reasons, it’s quite difficult to collect ecological samples from Alaska during the northern hemisphere’s winter. Likewise, tramping around Vietnam or Jordan in the heat of summer is definitely best avoided. So when the window of opportunity for one year expires, that’s it until the following year …. We assumed. Only to find ourselves still in lockdown a full year later: two field seasons down. Even with the vaccination programme rolling out relatively swiftly in the UK, travel to other countries will remain difficult; where vaccination rates are slower than the UK, ethically it will not be possible even for vaccinated British people to travel there and work with local teams for extended periods. Similar problems are faced by researchers in any field where data collection is time-sensitiveFor those of us lucky enough to be on permanent contracts this is a blow; without data, associated schedules of processing and analysis, writing up, publications, dissemination and other impact activity have to remain on hold., pushed back indefinitely. For those on fixed term contracts – PGRs and post-doctoral researchers – it’s a massive problem. Extensions to funding from UKRI bodies seem unlikely, but future employment and careers hang on presentations, publications, collaborationsIt remains unclear how these issues will be accounted for, going forward. 

Well, then perhaps we could use the time instead to plan future research projects, develop grant proposals? Well, maybe … The funding landscape changed dramatically during the pandemic, with available funding shunted towards COVID-related research. While to a certain extent that’s understandable, we do also need to keep focus on longer-term challenges – climate change, for example. That’s not going away, global pandemic or no! Grant proposals already under way slowed as we and our collaborators dealt with all the additional demands on our time and thinking; some proposals just couldn’t be progressed because they relied on pilot studies, originally planned for 2020, that had been put on hold; RKE, struggling valiantly with a raft of short-term COVID related projects with extremely short lead times, understandably had less time for support; uncertainties over HE funding in the short and medium term prompted more careful scrutiny of prospective bids, and put the kibosh on some which had been years in development. 

Grants already submitted now look out of date as they failed to foresee the coming global pandemic; ones being submitted now need careful consideration of the ways in which they can be adapted or modified in the event of ongoing global or local lockdowns and COVID mitigation measures. Reviewing and decisions about outcomes either way is also taking longer, as everyone deals with the same problems. The funding landscape of the future remains unclear, but post-Brexit and in the wake (hopefully!) of the pandemic ongoing economic concerns forcing difficult decisions (witness the recent withdrawal of the ODA money from already allocated projects!), we can expect big changes. 

The past year has been a difficult one for many. Time for research was squeezed or simply vanished as we tried to get our heads around phonics (yes – teachers are saints)remain sane as we watched the death count grow on a daily basis; worrabout our loved ones and wonder when we might get to see them again.   And yet research remains important, even – dare I say it – fun. Energising. One thing I have learned is that just as the best response to feeling run down and exhausted is – counterintuitively – to do some exercise, the best response to despair in the face of the impossibility – surely? – of research, is to dive back in. Finding it difficult to think deeply about anything right now? Time-limited? (I know I’m both!) One answer might be to create short stints of time in the madness to just chat about your research interests. Maybe it will, ultimately, lead to a formal project, or collaboration, or grant proposal …. And maybe it won’t, but perhaps that’s OK. It will kickstart your grey matter and – dare I say it – give you a chance to think about something other than the day-to-day grind of life in a pandemic, to chat with friendly colleagues facing the same problems, and to explore research and fusion-related questions, issues and themes without any pressure. OK, so research in the time of COVID is difficult – but it’s difficult for everyone. It’s not just you, promiseSo let’s work together to improve things. Remember when research was fun, not just another chore you had to squeeze into your overstuffed day? Let’s bring a little of that fun back again.  

Part of that joy – and growth from the adversity we encountered – comes in seeking out new collaborations and, with it, directions for future research, impact and engagement. Not least as the UK looks towards hosting COP26 and considering the impact of climate change once again. With that in mind, we would like to invite colleagues across BU and beyond to work with us. IMSET has a series of events in the pipeline which all are welcome to attend, and if you can’t make them then just drop us a line and we can catch up with a virtual coffee and chatWe’re interested in all things sustainability, from systems modelling to working with local communities across the globe to understand how people interact with their environments and to develop resilience and sustainability at the grass roots. If you work in any area relating to sustainability, human/environment relations, community engagement or beyond, drop us a line! Contact the core team, or email IMSET@bournemouth.ac.uk

The past year has taught a lot – one thing it’s made abundantly clear is the power and importance of researchNot all of us can directly work on preventing the next global pandemic, but COVID has also sparked a lively debate about the impact of human interactions with other animals and with the environment more generally; probably many of us can contribute in some way to this wider picture, so if you’re interested, get in touch and let’s help each other get through! 

SIA open call for game-changing research concepts: what could you do?

In today’s blog post, Dr Nicolette Barsdorf-Liebchen, our Research Facilitator for Animation, Simulation & Visualisation explores game-changing research ideas that have come across her desk. To learn more about the call for game-changing research concepts, see our blog post on where to find out more information. 

“In case you are not quite sure just how game-changing your research ideas are, here are some examples randomly culled from the many diverse current projects around the globe to guide and inspire you. Some may even relate to your own field, and provide an indication as to possible directions in which you could drive your research. All game-changing ideas require interdisciplinary collaboration nowadays. The ones below typify projects which integrate two or more of the SIAs, and so represent paradigmatically the type of game-changing ideas we seek to support. Read, and be inspired!

Innovative Technology in the Manufacturing Industry

In their article “Augmented Reality – A Game-Changing Technology for Manufacturing Processes”, Kohn and Harborth (2018) explain that current research has shown that in the digital era companies are experiencing ever-increasing pressure to be both more productive and produce better quality goods while simultaneously cutting costs. The integration of innovative new digital technologies throughout the manufacturing process is now crucial, requiring fundamental transformation in businesses to cope with these increasing requirements, and continue to be competitive. The current integration of such an innovative technology like, eg., augmented reality in the manufacturing industry has a significant impact on different work processes, improving production operations and especially assembly processes, while applied AR solutions involve maintenance and inspection processes. If you think you may have just such an industry solution, let it wing its way to us via your EoI!

Digitalisation and Sustainability

Digitalisation towards sustainability is a rapidly-growing area of research and innovation around the globe (Seele and Lock, 2017), and if you are not on board, you will surely get left behind! E-health services, robotics, emission reduction solutions, and so forth, are all areas of vibrant development geared towards helping ourselves and saving our planet. Sustainability is the buzzword, and rightly so: our survival literally depends upon making almost every area of our lives sustainable. However, the overall “sustainability gap” (Lubin and Esty 2014) continues to be a major issue. As Seele and Lock (2017) observe, “The overconsumption of natural resources and its harmful consequences threaten the basis of our existence and that of future generations”. If you wish to be part of the global mission to achieve a more sustainable planet in light of the sustainable development goals, gear your idea in this green direction. Any research which targets strategic innovation via digitisation in the services of sustainability is by its very nature game-changing research.

Urban Design and Spatial Development

One striking Leverhulme project we have found which inspires us concerns urban design. We love Professor Marion Roberts’ award-winning project. She describes it thus: “Urban design as a practical activity can be loosely described as three-dimensional town planning. Urban designers set out the framework for the spatial development of urban places, at scales ranging from a whole town down to an urban square. This ‘specialist-generalist’ activity covers a complex assembly of agendas, as it tries to accommodate buildings, hard and soft landscaping, transport and movement systems and of course, people in all their diversity. Contemporary urban design theory and practice has largely avoided the night as a time-space…” This project focusses on the dark side and is thus a game-changer in terms of frameworks for urban design. (https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/emeritus-fellowships/urban-design-and-urban-night)

Early Learning with Technology: Determining the Most Effective Use of Digital Learning Tools

The Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington describes 6 game-changing projects upon which its scientists are currently working. One of them concerns children and early learning with digital technology (http://ilabs.washington.edu/game-changing). Children are our future; we all know that. They are the ones to inherit this besieged planet and find messianically redemptive solutions for its diabolical troubles. So, from an ASV perspective, how do children benefit from the use of AR/VR technology in particular? Given that our visual sense is central to our learning processes, what we discover in experimenting with how children interact and learn with AR/VR could be used “to refine learning technologies, from computers to mobile phones, in ways that promise personalized learning in developing children”. CV-19 has required a rapid step-change in the further development of these tools, and the pedagogic research surrounding their use in early education. Let your ideas plug into the demand!”

Your opportunity to put forward the concepts for which BU will be known in the years to come!

The call for game-changing research concepts is currently open to enable the growth of BU’s Strategic Investment Areas.

This is your opportunity to put forward the concepts for which BU will be known in the years to come. Concepts that are prioritised for development by the SIA Steering Groups, will benefit from tailored institutional support to turn your idea into a reality.  This could include identification of match-funding, support from estates, personalised funding development support and much more – you tell us what you need!

 Game-changing research concepts are welcomed from all of our academic community across all career stages. 

To learn more about the SIAs, the open call and to discuss what you could do, read further details on the staff intranet The Teams links for each of the sesisons are here below for you to save in your calendars. For enquiries, please email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk. 

Briefing Events

Briefing events are taking place on the following dates:

  • Medical Science – 6 April, 9.30am

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day: Click here to join the meeting

  • Animation, Simulation & Visualisation – 7 April, 10am

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day: Click here to join the meeting

  • Sustainability, Low Carbon Technology and Materials Science – TBC

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day:  TBC

  • Assistive Technology – 22 April 10.30am

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day: Click here to join the meeting

 

General drop-in sessions

General drop in-sessions for any queries, to discuss potential ideas or to identify potential BU partners are taking place on the following dates/times supported by SIA Steering Group members and RDS staff:

  • 8 April 2pm

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day: Click here to join the meeting

  • 19 April 11.30am

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day: Click here to join the meeting

  • 29 April 2pm

If you would like to join the meeting, please save this link in your diary and click on the link to join the meeting on the day: Click here to join the meeting

 

The SIA call for game-changing research concepts: insights from the Institute for the Modelling of Social Environmental Transitions

In this guest blog post, Dr Emma Jenkins, outlines how a concept for interdisciplinary research has become a lived reality through a previous SIA EoI open call… 

The Institute for the Modelling of Socio-Environmental Transitions (IMSET) started off as a vague notion of where the field of archaeology is heading and where BU’s Department of Archaeology & Anthropology could make a significant contribution. The core challenges facing the world are summarised in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The problems behind most of these challenges, however, are neither modern nor restricted to the present – some have long histories that set the world on the trajectory it currently is while others are known to have already challenged communities and societies in the past. This is as true of the recent historic past, as it is of the deeper timelines of prehistory. IMSET was conceptually founded on the notion that we can learn from these past occurrences of socio-environmental transitions, and that what we learn from them can be useful for present and future challenges facing the world. Archaeology, anthropology and palaeoecology can contribute the necessary data, whereas computational modelling and analysis can help shed light on the complex dynamics of the interactions and bidirectional impact between people and their ecosystems.

These ideas gathered momentum with the first BU’s Strategic Investment Areas call for Expressions of Interest in 2018. What was but a vague notion to begin with, developed into a proposal to create a multidisciplinary research institute that straddled the fields of archaeology, anthropology, ecology and computer science with the aim of furthering our understanding of how human societies responded to climate and environmental change in the past in order to provide insights into how modern societies can adapt to the challenges facing them. This was a bold request which, to both our surprise and delight, was picked up to be developed into a Full Business Case in 2019 which enabled the creation of IMSET.

The development of IMSET was a team effort. We were one of the first projects to be asked to complete a Business Case and the first to be supported under the SIA call and, as such, we could be described as ‘lucky guinea pigs’! Some of the procedural ‘hoops’ that we needed to jump through were not really suitable for our purposes and we were also met with one or two ‘surprise deadlines’ but colleagues in RDS and the OVC went above and beyond to support us with some of these challenges. We also, all, learnt a lot from this process and our understanding is that the application procedure is much more transparent and streamlined than it was back in 2019. As an institute we have, on the whole, been fantastically supported throughout this journey by professional services staff across BU and our advice would be that if you have an idea, no matter how vague or crazy, you should go for it. If there was one piece of advice we would give, it would be don’t start a new research institute, that is predicated on the need for over-seas fieldwork and international collaboration, right at the beginning of a global pandemic! Otherwise Good Luck!

At BU we are keen to foster amazing, game-changing, transformative research ideas, so if you have one we would love to hear from you. You are invited to put forward your ideas through the current Strategic Investment Areas (SIA) EoI call for transformative research concepts, aimed at providing the dedicated, tailored support to make your research ideas a reality.

To learn more about the call, sign-up now for one of our open briefing sessions or learn more on the staff intranet.

If you would like to learn more about IMSET or collaborate directly with the team, email Dr Emma Jenkins or see their webpages

What’s your idea of a research game changer?

When I was asked to think about what signifies a ‘game changer’ in terms of research, it didn’t take me long to think about the huge effort and scientific endeavour that has led to the development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, in a step that will hopefully lead to a more ‘normal’ way of life over the coming months.

As the government announces plans to approve the fourth coronavirus vaccine, what seemed like an impossible feat a year ago was achieved in a matter of months. Twelve months ago, few of us would have imagined we’d have developed, trialled, and approved four vaccines for use in the time we have. What we have seen over the last year is nothing short of game changing research in its highest form.

I’m not a scientist nor an academic, but I have worked in health research for over 10 years and the collective effort that has gone into all COVID-19 research is clear. Over 1 million participants have now taken part in COVID-19 research, across over 180 studies in the UK. This has been achieved through doctors, nurses, members of the public, academics, scientists, researchers, research managers and administrators, regulators, life science companies, funders and policy makers all working together to a timeline considered unusual for clinical research. This monumental effort has led to world-leading research into therapeutics, as well as delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which saw 10,000 UK patients recruited over 20 sites.

Game changing research – what is it?

When I looked up the definition of a ‘game changer’, the Oxford English Dictionary tells me it’s “an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something.” Not all of us are going to have the opportunity to develop a new vaccine, but we can all think of a new way of doing something, and that’s the beauty of research.

At BU we are keen to foster amazing, game changing, transformative research ideas, so if you have one we would love to hear from you. You are invited to put forward your ideas through the current Strategic Investment Areas (SIA) EoI call for transformative research concepts, aimed at providing the dedicated, tailored support to make your research ideas a reality.

To learn more about the call, sign-up now for one of our open briefing sessions or learn more on the staff intranet.

SIA open call for game changing concepts: Hear from BU collaborator, Paul Brookes from Siemens, about the future R&D needs of industry

Bournemouth University is delighted that Paul Brookes, Head of Innovation, Siemens ITS at Siemens Mobility Ltd, will be providing an open briefing session to BU on Thursday 15th April at 12noon. He will explore current research priorities before an open Q&A session. This online event will be chaired by SIA Conveners, Professors Christos Gatzidis and Kate Welham.

Paul’s experience spans three industry sectors: computer systems, motion control and intelligent transport systems. He has specialties in broad and deep understanding of electronics, embedded software, cloud (AWS), people management, employee development, competency frameworks, networking, design thinking, innovation and business development. Paul is currently working on 5G, IoT, connected car, infrastructure as a service, cooperative perception and AI.

Paul works closely with BU, is an External Advisory Board member for Animation, Simulation & Visualisation SIA, and has kindly agreed to provide insight from his experience as to the future research needs of industry.

This is an opportunity to develop expressions of interest for the SIA open call for game-changing research concepts.

To register for this open session, please email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk to receive the diary invitation and video conference link.

 

 

Defining BU’s research future: what could you do?

If ever there was a year in which technology has transformed the ways in which we live our lives, it has been 2020-21. Gone are the meetings in formal committee rooms, and the casual chat with a colleague over a cup of coffee, and enter the plethora of video conference facilities that now shape our lives.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of this to me (as an entirely biased social scientist!) is how the challenge that society faces, combined with the technology at our fingertips, has led to profound (and I suspect long-lasting) shifts in our social practices. But how will technology change our lives in future?

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have recently released a guide detailing their top 10 Tech Priorities, summarised as follows:

  1. Rolling out world-class digital infrastructure nationwide
  2. Unlocking the power of data
  3. Building a tech-savvy nation
  4. Keeping the UK safe and secure online
  5. Fuelling a new era of start-ups and scaleups
  6. Unleashing the transformational power of tech and AI
  7. Championing free and fair digital trade
  8. Leading the global conversation on tech
  9. Levelling up digital prosperity across the UK
  10. Using digital innovation to reach Net Zero

Arguably, whilst none of these are new/surprising thematic areas, they do – in themselves – embed challenging research questions in which academic research will be integral to secure and progress societal expectations.

Furthermore, although they are labelled as ‘tech’ priorities – for me, they are inherently interdisciplinary in their very nature. Effective leadership and engagement surely requires a multidisciplinary approach, achieving net zero won’t happen with technological solutions alone – we will also need profound social change. Barriers to start-ups and scaleups aren’t necessarily owing to a lack of innovation, but around how IP is protected, understood and shared.

As a community of researchers, it is important that we consider and challenge the technological imperative and draw upon our interdisciplinary strengths to contribute effectively to our future. What could you do to contribute to this agenda and progress academic research with it? Do you and your collaborators have fundamental research questions that could provide this insight, that as a University we can support you in developing? If so, could you consider developing an EoI for our next SIA open call for concepts?

BU is committed to nurturing the game-changing research concepts which will define our future, through our Strategic Investments Areas (SIAs). To learn more about the current SIA EoI call for transformative research concepts, sign-up now for one of our open briefing sessions or learn more on the staff intranet.

SIA open call for game changing research concepts: what could you do? Sign up now to find out more!

Last Friday, we announced the call for game-changing research concepts to enable the growth of BU’s Strategic Investment Areas.

This is your opportunity to put forward the concepts for which BU will be known in the years to come. Concepts that are prioritised for development by the SIA Steering Groups, will benefit from tailored institutional support to turn your idea into a reality.  This could include identification of match-funding, support from estates, personalised funding development support and much more – you tell us what you need!

 Game-changing research concepts are welcomed from all of our academic community across all career stages. 

To learn more about the SIAs, the open call and to discuss what you could do, read further details on the staff intranet and sign-up for sessions now by emailing sia@bournemouth.ac.uk. 

Briefing events are taking place on the following dates:

  • Medical Science SIA briefing session, led by Prof Stephen Tee – 9.30am on 6th April
  • Animation, Simulation & Visualisation SIA briefing session, led by Prof Kate Welham – 10am on 7th April
  • Assistive Technology SIA briefing session, led by Prof Christos Gatzidis, 10.30am on 22nd April
  • Sustainability, Low Carbon Technology and Materials Science SIA briefing session, led by Prof Richard Stillman, time and date TBC

General drop in-sessions for any queries, to discuss potential ideas or to identify potential BU partners are taking place on the following dates/times supported by SIA Steering Group members and RDS staff:

  • 1st April at 2pm
  • 8th April at 2pm
  • 19th April at 11.30pm
  • 29th April at 2pm

Email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk to get your diary invitation now!