Category / Strategic Investment Areas

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) seminar – 1st September 12-2pm

Are you interested in finding out about the NIHR RfPB funding
programme? Join our online seminar on 1st September 2022 from
12.00pm – 2.00pm

About the seminar

The seminar will be hosted by the NIHR Research Design Service and will provide a great opportunity to hear from members of the RfPB programme team and funding panel, as well as from successful applicants. There will also be information about the RDS and the support available for people who are applying to the programme.

Who is the seminar for?

Researchers and health and social care professionals who want to learn more about the RfPB programme and the support available to them.

What will the seminar cover?
• An overview of the RfPB programme
• What the funding panel look for in an application
• Experience of previous successful applicant(s)
• Including Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in your application
• Including Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in your application
• How the NIHR RDS can support applicants

How to book a place
Please register via this link.
The full programme and further details will be sent nearer to the date of the seminar.

Your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU)

We can help with grant applications to National peer reviewed funders. We advise on all aspects of developing an application and can review application drafts as well as put them to a mock funding panel (run by RDS South West) known as Project Review Committee, which is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before this is sent to a funding body.

Contact us as early as possible to benefit fully from the advice

Feel free to call us on 01202 961939 or send us an email.

FUN Project dissemination and networking event

FUN_logo
FUN (Feeling the UNfelt: Assistive Technology accessible digital environments with a haptic interface) is a 2-year HEIF funded research project designed to help address the current lack of (freely) available accessible software resources for children and young people (CYP) who have physical disabilities, specifically with a focus on learning about the physical world through gameplay and haptic feedback. The project is a partnership between Bournemouth University and Livability Victoria School in Poole (find more about the project here).

As the FUN project is coming to its end (finishing on 31st July 2022), we organised a dissemination and networking event on 5th May in the Executive Business Centre. The main aim of the event was to present and demonstrate our project outputs and discuss its future potential with relevant internal and external academics and professionals, thus setting the stage for building wider impact. There were four presentations, one guest talk, two demo sessions, and a discussion at the end. Besides BU academics working on this and other related Assistive Technology projects, there were external people with various backgrounds related to special education, including teachers, technicians, consultants, occupational therapists, and assistive technologists, coming from BU, Livability Victoria School, Langside School, Treloar School and College, and the ACE Centre.

After opening the event, Dr Vedad Hulusic, the PI on the project, invited Prof Christos Gatzidis, the convener of the Assistive Technology (AT) Strategic Investment Area (SIA) who gave a brief presentation on the AT SIA strategy and other related AT-related projects at BU. This was followed by the FUN project presentation by Dr Mark Moseley, a postdoctoral research assistant on the project. At the end of his presentation, Mark gave a short demo of the FUN educational games and invited everyone to try them themselves using either touchscreen or eye-gaze interaction.

FUN Accessible level builder FUN games demo

The guest speaker was Prof Pedro Encarnação from the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP). In his talk titled “The use of physical and virtual robots to promote inclusive education” he covered his group’s work on physical and virtual robots and presented the results showing the success of virtual environments for children and young people in the educational setting. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Huseyin Dogan and Dr Paul Whittington who talked about the case studies of user ability detection, accessibility requirements capture, and provision of Assistive Technology recommendations – the work their group has been working on for the past few years. In the end, there was another demo session and a discussion on the past, present, and future of AT, instigating great participation by all participants.

FUN - Guest talk FUN - AT Projects

The FUN games are being finalised and will be freely available both as standalone (executable) as well as web-based (running in a web browser) software. The aim is to have these games available in as many special schools across the UK and beyond, and in homes of CYP who will be able to use them independently without required supervision and assistance. The users will be able to create personal profiles and configure all required accessibility and game features to make their experience as FUN as possible, as well as to create new in-game content for themselves and their peers. The event participants had very positive feedback on the FUN project and games and anticipated a significant impact through the improvement of the quality of life of CYP with physical disabilities, their parents, caregivers, and teachers. The FUN team plans to extend this project by strengthening existing and creating new collaborations. The extensions will be multidirectional involving co-design with practitioners, changing practices, policies, and curricula in special schools, and having such games being used in educational institutions allowing CYP with profound disabilities to have FUN while learning.

I really enjoyed the day – fascinating, inspiring & really positive. – Teacher, Livability Victoria School

“Haptic device easily put on/off, providing good feedback to a child. Worth considering use with adults with learning disabilities.” – Occupational therapist, Langside School

The students involved whom I work with enjoyed the sessions + it was something that enhanced their self-esteem. – Teacher, Livability Victoria School

It can be easily adapted to make it accessible to a wider range of individuals. – AAC consultant, ACE Centre

Very good, simple to setup and use. – Technician/Music teacher, Livability Victoria School

Are you an Early Career Research? Would travel this summer enable you to develop and external funding proposal? Apply now!

BU Research Blog | How do I get involved with the Strategic Investment Areas at BU? Insight for academics and professional service staff | Bournemouth UniversityBournemouth University (BU), as detailed within BU2025, is prioritising support for strategic growth around the scope of four far reaching and interdisciplinary Strategic Investment Areas (SIAs): Assistive Technology (AT); Animation, Simulation & Visualisation (ASV); Medical Science (MedS) and Sustainability, Low Carbon Technology & Materials Science (SCLTMS).

Each theme has an extensive scope and engagement with this call, from all BU’s disciplinary areas (including the arts, humanities, business, law and social sciences), is strongly encouraged. Growth of the SIAs is founded on interdisciplinary collaboration to leverage external funding and deliver societal impact.

In 2022, in recognition that COVID-19 has made it exceptionally challenging for early-career researchers to undertake the networking activities required to develop collaborative research proposals, there is an additional stream of internal funding available to enable colleagues to undertake networking/pilot data collection activities in summer 2022 with a view to developing and submitting a collaborative research proposal in late 2022/early 2023.

Please note, there is no one definition of an early career researcher. For example, the AHRC suggests that early career researcher is typically within eight years of their doctorate or within the first six years of their first academic appointment, excluding any career breaks.   However, BU recognises the diversity of academic career paths within the organisation and therefore invite colleagues to outline to the panels why they are classified as an early career researcher, as opposed to setting fixed criterion that may exclude some colleagues unfairly.)

The funding available can be spent in May, June and July 2022 (and cannot be rolled forward into the next financial year) and can be used to travel, network, attend conferences and/or collect pilot data. The funding will be allocated on a rolling basis, assessed by members of the SIA Steering Group. Apply by one of the following deadlines to secure funding:

  • 4th April, 2nd May and 23rd May (applications should be emailed to sia@bournemouth.ac.uk on each deadline day).

Each early career researcher can apply for any size of award up to £5,000.

For the full policy document and application form, please refer to the Staff Intranet or email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk

Call for game-changing research concepts in 2022: what could you do?

What could you do to change the world? Call for expressions of interest to develop the Strategic Investment Areas is now open!

The University is now looking for amazing, game-changing research ideas to enable us to grow as an institution, enrich our education and have a demonstrable impact on society. To enable this to happen, we have four Strategic Investment Areas (SIAs), each with a broad scope that is inherently interdisciplinary in nature.We now invite you to put forward your ideas and help bring these areas to life. These will be reviewed by our SIA Steering Groups and our SIA External Advisory Boards before the University Leadership Team endorses the strongest concepts for development.If successful, you will then receive dedicated, tailored support to turn your research concept into a reality. This is your opportunity to grow an area of research for which you and BU will be known for in the years to come.

What is a game-changing research concept?

This is the big question and the answer is that we don’t know until we know! In order to ensure that our brightest and best minds have an equitable opportunity to put their ideas forward to become institutional priorities, each year, the University – facilitated by Research, Development & Support (RDS) – makes a call for ‘game-changing’ research concepts that will enable the growth of one or more SIA. This is open to all academic staff (including research staff).Successful concepts are those which enable the growth of the SIAs (as defined by their scope), accelerate institutional research and knowledge exchange income, advance interdisciplinary research and deliver societal impact. EoIs are welcomed from all academic career stages and disciplines– especially from under-represented areas (as it is essential that our future research trajectory reflects the diversity of society).It is intended that these concepts will be the legacy by which BU is known for post-2025, and the opportunity to develop the scope of the SIAs is a career-enhancing opportunity.  Leaders of these strategic concepts for growth need to be committed to utilising the institutional support offered in order to make the concept a lived reality making a demonstrable difference to society through the acceleration of world-class research.

To learn more, and to apply, please read the policy document and complete the expression of interest form, available on the Staff Intranet or email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk 

FAQs

What is the process and the timescale?
Applications for EoIs are now open, with a closing date of 23rd May at 10am.  SIA Steering Groups will then review the concepts and agree which are prioritised for review by our External Advisory Boards. Shortlisted applicants will then have the opportunity to revise their EoIs in light of any feedback, before the final concepts are selected for enhanced institutional support in August 2022.

Do I have to be a Professor to apply?

Absolutely not! (Although, of course, our professorial colleagues are very welcome to put forward brilliant concepts). We actively welcome EoIs from all career stages, especially early to mid-career researchers. We also actively encourage applications from colleagues with protected characteristics, in recognition of the importance of growing a diverse research community that reflects wider society.

The titles of the SIAs sound very science-based, am I eligible to apply if I work in the arts, humanities or social sciences?
Of course. We strongly encourage input from all disciplines, but more crucially, interdisciplinary research collaborations.

What sort of institutional support is on offer at the end of the process?
It will depend on what you need to make the concept a reality. Read the policy document available on the staff intranet for further details, or email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk for a copy of the policy document and an EoI template.

I’m really interested, but I’d like to learn more, what can I do?
We have a number of virtual drop-in sessions that you can attend over the next few weeks. These include:

  • Briefing sessions for our external partners on their future research needs
  • Briefing sessions from our SIA Steering Groups
  • Drop in-support sessions from RDS
  • If you would like to receive details of any of these, or have any further queries, please email sia@bournemouth.ac.uk

Can you give me some examples of ‘game-changing’ research ideas?
There are many sources of inspiration, you might like to ready more about research which started at the University of Oxford, the Made at Uni campaign, University of Loughborough’s game changers or search some of the REF 2014’s highest performing impact case studies.

Apply now for a cluster of postgraduate researchers and postdoctoral research fellows

RESEARCH CAPACITY TRANSFORMATION SCHEME – Call for expressions of interest

Apply now for a cluster of postgraduate researchers and postdoctoral research fellows – closing date for EoIs on 7th March

Bournemouth University’s (BU) recognises that postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and postdoctoral research fellows (PDRFs) are critical to a high performing research environment. Working under the direction of academic research leadership, they provide academic staff with research capacity, which enables the production of research outputs, strengthens research impact, and increases grant bidding.

 

Key information

The Research Capacity Transformation Investment Scheme is focused on building capacity to undertake cutting-edge research securing external research funding. A cluster hiring approach will be used to appoint inter- and/or multi-disciplinary teams of PDRFs and PGRs that focus on a common theme to create “clusters” undertaking strategically important and targeted research. The scheme will invest in:

  • 10 PDRFs and 10 PGRs in September 2022, across 2-5 clusters
  • 5 PDRFs and 5 PGRs in September 2023, across 1-2 clusters.

The clusters need to build critical mass in areas of research strength and provide a team-based, fused experience for PDRFs and PGRs that is anchored in one or more existing high performing entities, such as Research Centres or Institutes. Applications must include external match-fund partners for the PGR studentships.

Full details of the scheme, including the policy document, can be found on BU’s staff intranet.

Application Process

The application process will be in two stages:

To ensure there is timely progress, Research Development & Support and the Doctoral College will manage the funding application process 2022, with oversight of the recruitment process.

The indicative timetable for the 2022 allocation and recruitment is as follows:

Date Action
Monday 7th March 2022 Closing date for submission of EoIs (see Appendix 1) at 12 noon
Monday 21st March 2022 Successful applicants invited to provide a full application form (see Appendix 2)

Unsuccessful applicants notified

Monday 25th April 2022 Closing date for submission of full applications at 12 noon
w/c Monday 16th May 2022 Successful outcomes announced and recruitment to commence

Unsuccessful applicants notified

June 2022 Adverts for positions to close
July 2022 Interviews and selection
From 1st September 2022 Successful PDRFs to start (funding available from 1 September 2022)
From  26 September 2022 or 23 January 2022 Successful PGRs to start (funding available from 26 September 2022 with an alternative start date of 23 January 2023)

 

Submission Deadline:

Before completing the EoI or full application form, please ensure that you have read all the relevant guidance (including the policy document) and information available on the Staff Intranet.

Applications should be emailed to researchcapacitytransformation@bournemouth.ac.uk before the following deadlines:

Monday 7th March 2022          Closing date for submission of EoIs at 12 noon

Monday 25th April 2022          Closing date for submission of full applications at 12 noon

 

Supporting Documentation

Recruitment of PGRs will be in line with the BU Match-Funded Studentship Allocative Process .

For additional queries, please email researchcapacitytransformation@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

FAQs

  • What can I request?
    • Each proposal should contain a request for a minimum of 2 PGRs and 2 PDRFs, to a maximum of 5 PGRs and 5 PDRFs, or any combination.
  • Do I have to find a match-funding partner for the PGR element of the scheme?
    • You must be able to produce evidence of external partners providing match-funds at the full application stage.
  • Why can’t I request funding for one PDRF or one PGR?
    • This scheme is intended to provide investment into research teams, rather than discrete pockets of activity.
  • What type of proposal is likely to be supported?
    • It is recommended that you review the criteria against which applications are assessed against to ensure that you demonstrate how your proposal meets the criteria.
    • Colleagues are reminded that reviewers of concepts are likely to be from a wider range of disciplinary areas. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you write your proposal is a way which is clear for all to understand and avoids highly technical or discipline specific language.
  • I’m still confused. Where do I go for help?

Dr Rafaelle Nicholson’s Expertise Features in House of Lords Select Committee Report

Evidence provided by BU’s Dr Rafaelle Nicholson has featured in a new House of Lords Select Committee report on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation, published on 10 December 2021.

The report calls on the Government to establish a national plan for sport, health and wellbeing to tackle inactivity. Failings in sport and recreation policy and fragmented delivery have resulted in little progress being made in tackling levels of inactivity, particularly in certain groups including women and girls, disabled people, ethnic minorities, the elderly and people from less affluent backgrounds. A national plan for sport, health and wellbeing will set clear goals and better coordinate departments to deliver real change.

Dr Nicholson, who is Senior Lecturer in Sport and Sustainability in the BU Business School, is one of the UK’s leading experts on sport and inclusion. Her current research examines the changing role of women in sports governance in the last two decades, problematising the “mergers” which took place between men’s and women’s sporting organisations in the 1990s which have created a situation whereby sports leadership in the UK is now heavily male-dominated. In her evidence to the Committee, cited in the final report, she noted that: “Women’s sport in the UK is now run predominantly by men whose background is in men’s sport and who therefore, consciously or unconsciously, prioritise the men’s game”, and critiqued “the normative priority granted to men’s sport by those sitting on boards”.

The Committee report recommends that “Sport England and UK Sport should be more ambitious and set targets to improve board diversity for… underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities and disabled people. Failure to make progress with the targets should be met with financial sanctions.”

The Chair of the Committee, Lord Willis of Knaresborough said:

“Sport and physical activity can change lives. The pandemic has made abundantly clear the pressing need to get the country fitter and more active. However, participation in sport and recreation is flat lining. The Olympic legacy did not deliver the more active population we were promised, and the latest figures show activity levels have declined since the pandemic. Something needs to change and now is the time to do it.

“To make the changes we need it is time for a new national plan for sport, health and wellbeing. That plan needs to be ambitious and coordinated, and carry the weight of the Government and Prime Minster behind it. That cannot be delivered if it is led by DCMS, a small department with an increasing focus on its digital portfolio. That is why we are calling for responsibility for sport policy to move to the Department of Health and be driven by a new Minster for Sport, Health and Wellbeing.

“The new plan would coordinate efforts of bodies such as Sport England, local authorities and schools to work together to make it easier for everyone to be more active. Our report sets out a number of key priorities and themes that could form the basis of the new national plan and make a real difference to activity levels across the country.

“There is currently a Health and Care Bill making its way through the House of Lords. Members of our Committee will now explore where we can propose suitable amendments to that Bill to deliver the changes we think are needed on this vital issue.”

The full text of the report can be viewed below:

PDF version – https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5802/ldselect/ldsportrec/113/113.pdf

HTML version – https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5802/ldselect/ldsportrec/113/11302.htm

Our strategic research clusters: introducing Fish Ecology and Conservation at Bournemouth University (FishE@BU)

Professor Robert Britton - Bournemouth University Staff Profile PagesThe Research Cluster for Fish Ecology and Conservation at Bournemouth University (FishE@BU) is being established to address a significant current global challenge: how can we manage and respond to rapid environmental change to prevent the collapse of aquatic ecosystems that is being driven by the dramatic declines in fish biodiversity? These biodiversity declines are global, from sharks in the open ocean to migratory fishes that use both marine and freshwater habitats – and even include endemic fishes in the monsoonal rivers of Southern Asia. These declines threaten ecosystem functioning, food security and income streams globally.  They are driven by the interactions of anthropogenic pressures that include exploitation, invasive species, climate change and habitat fragmentation. Decoupling how these pressures interact to drive these declines is complex, which then inhibits the generation of the information required to formulate sustainable solutions.

Correspondingly, FishE@BU is being established to help resolve this global crisis through the application of state-of-the-art spatial, behavioural, trophic and molecular ecology approaches to create significant new knowledge to increase contemporary understandings of, and help manage, the underlying causes of the on-going global loss of fish biodiversity. Previously endorsed as an Institute of Aquatic Sciences by the University Board in February 2020, it was delayed in its launch by the Covid-19 Pandemic, with subsequent revision of the Institute to a strategic research cluster focused on fish ecology and conservation. The work of FishE@BU is intended to strongly inform policies and practices at regional, national and global scales in order to secure the sustainable utilisation of fish, fishery and aquatic resources that no longer imperil their biodiversity.

FishE@BU will be hosted by the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (LES) of the Faculty of Science and Technology. It will be directed by Professor Robert Britton, in collaboration with Dr Demetra Andreou (LES) and Dr Adrian Pinder (BUG Enterprise Unit). Their roles will include driving the RKE activities of the Cluster so that bidding for substantial funding opportunities can be increased, which in turn will generate increased income and permit the undertaking of cutting-edge research and the production of high-quality RKE outputs and associated impact generation. This will increase the international profile of BU, directly contribute to the BU2025 Strategic Vision, provide new ways for BU staff and students to engage with Fusion, and help improve BU’s ranking in various frameworks and league tables. Opportunities to develop new income education schemes will be investigated, such as through developing a new Level 7 programme on aquatic ecology and conservation, and developing a CPD programme with the potential for including accredited options.

FishE@BU will use the existing RKE activities within LES and BUG as its platform for launching its activities, where RKE on the impact of global environmental changes on fish biodiversity has been established during the last decade, where considerable work has been completed on critically endangered species that are of imminent risk of extinction (e.g. European eel, hump-backed mahseer). This investment in new technology, including state-of-the-art biotelemetry equipment, and in new opportunities for postgraduate research students, will not only ensure that FishE@BU is equipped with the tools needed to deliver its vision, but will provide it with the technologies needed to make substantial progress in halting this biodiversity decline.

Our strategic research clusters: introducing ADDISONIC

Summary

The Faculty of Science and Technology has successfully led a joint submission with the Faculty of Media and Communication and the Business School that is being supported by the March 2021 call for ‘game-changing’ research concepts to enable growth of BU2025 Strategic Investment Areas (SIAs).

We are very excited that, through our existing state-of-the-art advanced materials and manufacturing facilities at the Design and Engineering Innovation Centre, BU now reunites all the conditions required to becoming World-leader in ultrasonic fatigue testing of advanced materials. Our wish is that this will ultimately impact in the World’s eco-economy and sustainable development.

Our Mission

Having as primary SIA Sustainability, Low Carbon Technology & Materials Science, the ADDISONIC (Advanced Manufacturing Ultrasonic Fatigue Prediction and Life Extension) mission is to contribute to reducing global waste by extending the life and enhancing the optimisation of any engineered systems through incorporating novel advanced materials tested under ultrasonic fatigue for quick and reliable predictability of properties to extend their lives. Therefore, the project addresses the UN sustainability goals of Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Responsible Production and Consumption; and, Climate Action.

The project also aims at contributing to fostering networking between BU and local or national businesses and industries, whether in this research area or in any other field where BU academics have strengths.

What industries partnering up with us will find

Making use of the Design and Engineering Innovation Centre at Bournemouth University, our partners will find cutting-edge laboratories and workshops featuring industry-standard facilities and the latest rapid 3D printing, prototyping, and manufacturing equipment. We also have long-lasting collaborations with other UK-based and international Universities to access additional expertise, such as the University of Hertfordshire or the University of Lisbon.

Why is this research a priority?

With up to 4x lower scrap material generated in parts manufactured, metal additive manufacturing is more eco-friendly. The market is estimated to grow by £4.42bn between 2016 and 2024 with an annual growth rate of 14%. However, little is known about the lifetime properties of novel advanced materials, such as metal additive manufactured ones. Knowing that approximately 90% of all metallic failures are due to cyclic loadings, we will lead global research into the application of ultrasonics for fatigue testing of advanced materials as it is the only method to quickly determine the predictability of material properties that will be subjected to cyclic loading. Ultrasonic fatigue testing machines enable tests to be extended to 1 billion cycles in just a few days compared to months or years (figure 1), which has as growth driver the adoption of “just-in-time” processes.

Figure 1. Comparison between the duration different fatigue testing methods need to be completed, assuming tests can run uninterruptedly.

Furthermore, recent developments show it is possible to carry multiaxial testing too, including with different biaxiality ratios. The PI, Dr Diogo Montalvão, was the first researcher in the World to adapt specimens being loaded in two directions (known as ‘cruciform biaxial specimens’) to ultrasonics. This is important because most fatigue testing still uses ‘uniaxial loads’ (loading in one direction), although real components are exposed to ‘multiaxial loads’ (loading in multiple directions), which means new products will see enhanced optimised designs that will contribute to less waste. In terms of future developments, the project will also allow tackling the ‘enigma’ of experimentally reproducing, in a lab, 3D cyclic stresses that more accurately replicate what happens in real engineered components (figure 2). With new materials being developed every year, we believe ultrasonic fatigue testing will be the standard testing procedure in the future as it is estimated that it can lead to savings of between £13k and £71k per ASTM E379/ISO12107 material test programme.

Multiaxial ultrasonic fatigue testing

Figure 2. Multiaxial ultrasonic fatigue testing: (a) System; (b) equibiaxial specimen; (c) pure shear specimen; (d) thermographic image; (e) fatigue crack

 

Our strategic research clusters: introducing Multimodal Immersive NEuro-sensing (MINE)

Our proposal titled “Multimodal Immersive NEuro-sensing (MINE) for natural neuro-behavioural measurement” is one of the three successful research concepts to be supported by BU’s Strategic Investment Area scheme. It aims at developing a pioneering multimodal and immersive system for the measurement of human behaviour and neural activities in realistic and controlled environments.

This project has several aims. Firstly, conducting human behaviour and neuroscience research traditionally requires laboratory-based settings and well-controlled environments. However, this reduces the ecological validity of research studies because the laboratory environment and the experimental stimuli are not realistic, and natural social interactions are often difficult, if not impossible.

To embrace high ecological validity, one solution is to go out of the laboratory and conduct studies in real natural environments. However, these natural environments are very uncontrollable due to all the random events happening constantly. This dilemma can be bridged by using VR technologies. VR can exert high experimental control while keeping a high ecological validity. The virtual environments can be of high realism and fidelity, for example, for social interactions (thus immersive) or scenes with affective content.

Secondly, the MINE team proposes to combine virtual reality (VR) and various neural and physiological measures in an easier to use and mobile integrated platform (see the figure below). Electroencephalography (EEG), the recording of brain activities from scalp surface to reveal neural underpinnings of human behaviour (thus neuro-sensing). Mobile EEG allows users to carry all equipment components in a backpack and walk around in a natural manner, maximally allowing natural social interactions. For instance, in the figure, a human user interacts with a virtual character while EEG is being recorded. Other measures that will be combined with VR and/or EEG setups are eye tracking, facial muscular activity, head and body motion, heart rate and skin conductance recordings (thus multimodal). This integrated platform allows researchers to have a complete picture of human behaviour and physiological responses and it opens up many possibilities to expand experimental design possibilities in natural settings. Overall, the MINE concept allows researchers to study human-environment and human-human interactions during neural measurement in controlled and realistic virtual environments.

The MINE concept greatly promotes interdisciplinary research across all faculties and with external industry partners in research fields such as mental health, way finding, healthy ageing, consumer behaviour, neuromarketing, social and affective neuroscience. The leading MINE research team (Dr Xun He, Prof Fred Charles, Dr Ellen Seiss, Dr Emili Balaguer-Ballester) are based in Faculty of Science and Technology, and also members of Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Research Centre (INRC). There are nine other collaborating team members from Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, BU Clinical Research Unit, Faculty of Media & Communication, Institute of Medical Imaging & Visualisation, and Ageing & Dementia Research Centre.

We very much look forward to the journey ahead of us!

If you would like to collaborate with the project team, please contact Dr Xun He directly. For any other queries in relation to the SIAs, please contact the RDS team on sia@bournemouth.ac.uk

Our strategic research clusters: introducing Virtual Production

Today’s blog post, written by Dr Richard Southern, introduces one of our new strategic research growth clusters, which is building on BU’s existing excellence in computer animation to forward research in the pioneering field of virtual production: 

Project Summary

This 3-year project establishes a Multi-Disciplinary Cluster of Excellence for Research in Virtual Production to develop the game-changing idea of Remote Production through strategic investment, enabling research to widen access, enhance sustainability, and explore applications, reducing barriers to entry and putting visual content creation in the hands of a wider range of storytellers and innovators.

Figure 1: Pre-Visualisation Demonstration. Image credit: Paolo Mercogliano, Diana Pelino, Anna Semple, Miguel Pozas, Joseph Adams and Nathalie Puetzer

Figure 2: LED Wall Demonstration. Image credit: Richard Southern.

Introduction

Virtual Production (VP) defines a set of new production practices where practitioners work in and interact directly with a virtual set. VP reduces the need to move crews and equipment to location and enables remote working in VR, reducing CVD-19 risks, the environmental footprint, slashes production costs and upends the traditional production process by blurring the lines between production departments.

Evidence of sustainability of VP practices is already emerging studios and technology providers:

The logical next step in is to transition production in film, TV and broadcast media practices from those that are mainly facilities-bound to working environments that are remotely collaborative and thereby making the practices more sustainable. Examples of new technologies in this are virtual cinematography and VR puppeteering.

Previous Work

Virtual Production reframes games, virtual reality, and computer graphics technology in the context of production practice, allowing us to leverage our existing excellence and industry expertise in a booming sector. A myriad of applications stem from this including sustainable production, immersive storytelling, networking, ethics, digital heritage, collaborative visualisation and military, which broadens opportunities for collaboration across the wider the University. This project applies and develops research into areas for which BU is recognised internationally:

This project focuses BU’s existing research portfolio, supports ECRs and develops new research aligned with the identified themes to establish BU as a key partner in future industry and academic collaboration. Existing institutional resources include:

  • Thousands of students in complementary discipline areas who will collaborate and co-create content and undertake research with this technology, while entering the sector with a deep understanding of the sustainability implications of their practice.
  • Multi-disciplinary and industry-relevant skills and knowledge base in film, VFX and games production directly relevant to Virtual Production.
  • Current multi-million pound externally funded research projects aligned with applications in the Creative Industries (Centre for Digital Entertainment (EPSRC), Centre for Applied Creative Technologies (Horizon 2020), AniAge (Horizon 2020), VistaAR (Interreg)).
  • Industry standard facilities, including film studios, VR labs, motion capture technology, strengthening our research capacity in enabling experimentation and validation of production ready research projects to delivery high impact research.
  • Strong regional and national partnerships and alumni network in the Creative Industries.
  • Members are represented on BFI Albert, the National Standards Working Group in Virtual Production, and the StudioUK Skills Group. The NCCA is an Unreal Academic Partner.

 

Project Goals

After 3 years we envisage a Centre of Excellence in Virtual Production to deliver:

  • Impactful research outputs in virtual and remote production for enhancing productivity and sustainable working practices,
  • Grant capture with industry collaborators to tackle industry-relevant challenges,
  • A consortium of industry partners to advise activity in research, teaching and enterprise,
  • World-class research-informed teaching in this highly sought-after discipline area,
  • A demonstration facility showcasing our research and new technologies.

 

Background

The Creative Industries contributes 6% of UK GVA, with estimated year on year growth estimated at 7.1%, and constituting 7% of global output in this sector. Global Virtual Production Market size is expected to reach £2.2b by 2026, rising at a rate of 14.3%. UK studios and core technology providers are global leaders in this space, leading to the Digital Catapult and Screenskills to identify this as a critical growth area. As of November 2020, there were 150 Virtual Production studios in the world, and 70 new sound stages have been designated for construction across the UK until 2023. This demonstrates strong commercial and UK government interest in leading advances in TV and film production, and has already attracted significant productions to move to the UK.

The Creative Industries have rapidly embraced this technology, and vendors and studios are moving swiftly to meet this new demand. Commercial R&D ranges from the cameras, tracking and LED walls to the software needed to drive the displays. Production companies are actively investing in R&D to gain competitive advantages, such as Mo-Sys Star Tracker, ILM’s Stagecraft and Bournemouth-based Tree House Digital’s custom drive train for filming vehicles.

Bournemouth has been classified as a high growth area in the Creative Industries, fuelled by access to talent from local Universities and geographic advantages. BU has ranked in the bottom 30% in terms of local growth and regeneration, and bottom 50% of working with business in the recent KEF exercise, presenting an opportunity for significant impact through regional growth.

This proposal seeks to address internal and external priorities: sustainability in the creative industries is an identified priority of BU, BFI and the Creative Industry Pact; production costs and finance are identified as one of the four key challenges facing the sector; innovative immersive applications are a UKRI priority; and post-pandemic business and production models are critical research questions currently facing the immersive technologies, particularly virtual production.

BU’s Strategic Investment Areas and our new research clusters

As articulated within BU2025, our Strategic Investment Areas (SIAs) build on our existing academic strengths and future opportunities aligned to external priorities, including policy direction and funding. BU Research Blog | How do I get involved with the Strategic Investment Areas at BU? Insight for academics and professional service staff | Bournemouth University

The four Strategic Investment Areas are:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Animation, Simulation & Visualisation
  • Medical Science
  • Sustainability, Low Carbon Technology & Materials Science.

These areas were developed in consultation with BU staff through the BU2025 planning process.

Since the launch of BU2025, we have developed the scope for each SIA and reviewed the relevant policy, legislation, networks/specialist interest groups as well as related growth/acceleration of areas of research for the UK, EU and globally. To date, two major new initiatives have been supported and enabled strategic University support, the Institute of Medical Imaging & Visualisation and the Institute of Modelling Socio-Environmental Transitions.

But what comes next? As we have explored before on the Research Blog, the creation of new knowledge is a fundamental part of what we do as a University. This is especially pertinent for BU given our commitment to fusion, meaning that everyone has responsibilities for research (alongside education and professional practice). Over the spring and summer of 2021, as we began to emerge from the initial COVID-19 related crisis, you may remember that we put out a call forward for Expressions of Interest for game-changing research concepts. Many brilliant ideas were forthcoming with a number of concepts identified as priority areas for support further to a competitive process. A series of blog posts will take you through them this week in more detail, but can be summarised in brief as follows:

  • Towards Remote Production: Multi-Disciplinary Innovation in Virtual Production to widen access, enhance sustainability and enable new applications; led by Dr Richard Southern
    • Virtual Production (VP) defines a set of new production practices where practitioners work in and interact directly with a virtual set. VP reduces the need to move crews and equipment to the location and enables remote working in VR, reducing CVD-19 risks, the environmental footprint, slashes production costs and upends the traditional production process by blurring the lines between production departments. The logical next step in the evolution of the discipline is to transition production in film, TV and broadcast media practices from those that are mainly facilities-bound to working environments that are remotely collaborative.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Ultrasonic Fatigue Prediction and Life Extension (ADDISONIC); led by Dr Diogo Montalvao:
    • Our mission is to reduce global waste by extending the life and enhancing the optimisation of engineered systems utilised in the medical, assistive technology, sustainability and low carbon sectors through incorporating novel advanced materials tested under ultrasonic fatigue for quick and reliable predictability of properties to extend their life”.
  • Multimodal Immersive NEuro-sensing  (MINE), led by Dr Xun He.
    • “The concept is to develop a pioneering Multimodal Immersive NEuro-sensing (MINE) system for the measurement of human behaviour and neural activities in realistic and controlled environments. Our concept will enable strategic research growth in multiple disciplines, with human signal measurement at the core of Assistive Technology (AT).”
  • Fish Ecology and Conservation at Bournemouth University (FishE@BU), led by Prof Rob Britton:
    • The Research Cluster for Fish Ecology and Conservation at Bournemouth University (FishE@BU) is being established to address a significant current global challenge: how can we manage and respond to rapid environmental change to prevent the collapse of aquatic ecosystems that is being driven by the dramatic declines in fish biodiversity? Correspondingly, FishE@BU is being established to help resolve this global crisis through the application of state-of-the-art spatial, behavioural, trophic and molecular ecology approaches to create significant new knowledge to increase contemporary understandings of, and help manage, the underlying causes of the on-going global loss of fish biodiversity. 

How can I learn more? 

Look out for the forthcoming blog posts that introduce these concepts and feel free to get in-touch with colleagues directly to explore the potential for collaboration. Furthermore, if you would like to receive details of forthcoming launch and networking events, please email: sia@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

NIHR Bulletin

RDS NEWS

From the RDS (Research Design Service) desk – raising the public involvement standards in the RDS.
Patient and public involvement has been an essential element of research funding applications for many years, and the RDS has been making it an essential element in how we work. Our blog this month shows how we’ve integrated our public contributor teams to our advice-giving service, and the resulting benefits. Read the blog here.

NIHR News

Good Clinical Trials Collaborative launches new guidance consultation

Professor Lucy Chappell begins role as NIHR Chief Executive

eBulletins and Newsletters

NIHR Funding and support round-up: August 2021

NIHR ARCs – August Newsletter

Funding Opportunities

Latest NIHR funding calls

Evidence Synthesis Programme
Incentive Awards Scheme 2021

Programme Development Grants
Competition 31

 

Your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) should you need help with your application. We advise on all aspects of developing an application and can review application drafts as well as put them to a mock funding panel (run by RDS South West) known as Project Review Committee, which is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before this is sent to a funding body.

Contact us as early as possible to benefit fully from the advice

Feel free to call us on 01202 961939 or send us an email.

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!