Category / Student Engagement

HE policy update w/e 27th January 2017

Industrial Strategy Green Paper

The Government launched the Industrial Strategy Green Paper and consultation this week. The paper focuses on improving Britain’s innovation and productivity in key areas alongside upskilling the workforce to become world leading. The government suggest a number of areas of industry specialism that should be supported:

  • clean energy
  • robotics
  • healthcare
  • space technology
  • quantum technology
  • advanced computing and communications

The document frequently references the role of Universities as innovation leaders pushing for commercialisation and greater productive cooperation with business. It states that the ‘neglect of technical education’ should be redressed and insinuates that higher-level technical education will be pushed towards the new Institutes of Technology (£170 government investment announced – see below). There is an emphasis on rebalancing the difference in Britain’s economic geography through infrastructure investment. In addition, it criticises how UK research funding is currently heavily invested in the ‘golden triangle’ (Oxford, Cambridge, London) and calls to build on research strengths in businesses as well as other universities. The strategy has a strong focus on STEM and Wonkhe have reported that The British Academy are urging the government not to forget investment in social sciences and humanities teaching and research, which they argue are vital to the continued development of the UK’s services sectors.

The consultation ends in April, we’ll be in touch shortly about how you can contribute to a BU response.

While the strategy has only just been launched it was preceded by the announcement of the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (Nov 2016) and consultative workshops. The workshops aimed to ensure that the challenges identified match UK business capability and are based on the best available evidence for scientific and commercial success on the global stage. The challenges mirror the industry specialisms proposed in the green paper but also mention the creative industries and integrated cities. The workshops conclude this week, implementation plans are expected to follow from the government and the first challenge is expected to be announced in March.

In an interesting article in The Conversation Graham Galbraith, VC at Portsmouth, urges Universities to shun new institutions for innovation and instead form a network of hubs building on relationships with employers, skills organisations and FE colleges. Furthermore he resists the government’s distinction between academic and technical education, seeing the productivity answer through flexible routes to university study and developing skills courses that employers need in accessible ways. He believes the university sector would deliver this far more quickly than new Institutes of Technology. Galbraith also criticises REF 2021: “The government wants the UK to be better at commercialising its world-class, basic research. But the… require[ment]…to include all academic staff…will have the effect of making universities re-balance their staff’s priorities so that there is more focus only on peer-reviewed research and less on outward-facing activities like business collaborations.”

Brexit –The Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament must vote to trigger Article 50 which begins the Brexit process. The government timescale is to trigger Article 50 by end of March and to this end they have introduced a European Withdrawal Bill (EWB). The European Withdrawal Bill gives the PM the power to notify the European Council of the UK’s intention to withdrawn from the EU through the required Act of Parliament. It is being fast tracked through Parliament. Parliamentary time is scheduled for 31 Jan, 1 Feb, 6-8 Feb.  The House of Commons Education Select Committee continues visits to Universities (Oxford, UCL) to examine impact of Brexit on HE. At the UCL visit (Wednesday) Michael Arthur (Provost) broke the UCAS data embargo revealing a 7% drop in EU applicants in the current cycle. The Guardian leads with ‘first decrease after almost a decade of unbroken growth blamed on… Brexit’. Committee Chair, Neil Carmichael is reported on Twitter as asking whether HE needs a sector-specific Brexit deal – panel response ‘yes absolutely!’

Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB) – The Lords continue to scrutinise the HERB carefully with the long list of amendments.  The list has stopped growing quite so quickly but new amendments proposed this week include one to set up a new UKRI visa department that will sponsor academics (507ZA). So far apart form the first one, no amendments other than government amendments have been passed, but the level of debate and the length of the list suggests that there may have to be some concessions by the government. James Younger, the government lead on the Bill in the Lords, wrote to Peers on 25th January about the bill.

Given the timing of the Brexit discussions, Wonkhe speculate that to achieve the timescales for the Bill and to clear sufficient parliamentary time for the European Withdrawal Bill to be passed the government may make concessions on HERB.  Key discussions this week:

  • NSS statistically unfit for TEF – Lord Lipsey discussed the statistical inadequacies of NSS and the implication for this as a TEF metric. The NSS in the TEF is using—or rather, abusing—statistics for a purpose for which the NSS was never designed.” Lipsey acknowledged that the Government have gently retreated from the emphasis on NSS scores – in their latest instructions to assessors they stated: “assessors should be careful not to overweight information coming from the NSS“. This was reinforced by Chris Husbands, Chair of TEF, who informed a meeting at the House of Commons this week that his team would “not be overweighting the NSS” when awarding ratings this year.  The proposed amendment was withdrawn after Viscount Younger: stressed the NSS was not the primary source of information for the TEF and that the framework was about much more than metrics. “Providers submit additional evidence alongside their metrics, and this evidence will be given significant weight by the panel”. HE continued: “we cannot ignore the only credible, widely used metrics that captures students’ views”.
  • There were also debates about the gold/silver/bronze ratings and the government provided reassurance that Bronze was “above a high quality baseline”. This contradicts statements made by some in DfE before the final specification was agreed about Bronze institutions “needing improvement”. The panel have praised positive communication on this subject.
  • Validation – The government have issued a factsheet for the Lords on Validation which provides explanation from the perspective of an alternative provider seeking to enter a validation arrangement. It describes Clause 46 of HERB, which gives the Office for Students (OfS) power to commission authorised HE providers to provide validation if other providers decline. It states such authorised providers are free to choose whether they wish offer this service, however once an arrangement is in place the OfS could require them to validate award) delivered by other registered HE providers. The commissioned arrangement would be made public.  The controversial Clause 47 which appoints OfS as the validator of last resort was also discussed. The controversy arises as OfS isn’t an academic institution and doesn’t hold Degree Awarding Powers. The OfS will advise the Secretary of State (SoS) if intervention is required (likely through an evidence based report and stakeholder consultation) and the SoS would then authorise the intervention through regulation which is subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
  • Contract Cheating – The amendment proposed by Lord Storey on contract cheating was withdrawn following Government reassurance. Lord Storey provided a passionate discourse including detailed sector information and cheating statistics. Baroness Goldie confirmed that the Government were addressing cheating referencing the (Aug 2016 published) QAA investigation and Jo Johnson’s commitment to close working to progress the recommendations. She revealed that the Minster would shortly announce a new initiative to tackle cheating in conjunction with QAA, Universities UK, NUS and HEFCE.


The 15 page written submissions for year 2 of the TEF were finalised and submitted this week, and this was the final opportunity for institutions to opt out of the TEF. Although there may have been others who have not published their positions, most Scottish Universities have opted out, as well as the Open University. Given the difference in the Scottish funding system they have less to gain from the TEF – but the 4 who have opted in have noted international reputation as a crucial factor. The OU explain their non-participation is due to the poor fit of the metrics with their social mobility demographic.

And the future of the TEF? According to Research Professional, a German academic has criticised the way that teaching excellence funding is being used in Germany.

“Whereas lower-ranked universities have tended to spread their funding from the programme thinly across faculties and courses, higher-ranked institutions have had the luxury of being able to focus on priority areas, the analysis found.

“You are starting to see emerging differences between disciplines taught at different universities,” Bloch told Times Higher Education on 17 January. For the first time, elite universities are starting to build up strong institutional identities when it comes to teaching, in an effort to get further ahead.

“It will be a long time before we reach the stratification that you see in the American system [around teaching], but we are seeing a difference for the first time in how resources in teaching are distributed,” he said.

UCAS 2016 entrants report – this data includes applications, offers and placed rates by sex, area background (LPN-polar 3), and ethnicity. BU’s report can be selected from the drop down menu towards the end of the webpage. The Guardian reports on the lower offer rates to black applicants. Wonkhe covers the HEIs that have a significant upward or downward trend in acceptances

Research Impact training: Parliament are running a Research, Impact and the UK Parliament event in Bristol on Wednesday 1 March. It covers the basics of the Parliamentary process and how academics can engage with parliament through their knowledge and research to inform scrutiny and legislation, including the impact of influencing policy to support REF submissions.

Submissions for the Research Photography Competition are closing soon!

Paris photo

There’s not long left to submit your entry to the Research Photography Competition. Submissions will be closing on Friday 27 January at 5pm. 

We have already seen a number of fantastic images submitted from both our staff and student researchers, but there’s still time to submit your image. This a great opportunity to present your research that you’re either currently working on or have already completed. The competition allows your research to be showcased across BU and is a great addition to your portfolio.

You can find out more information here. 

If you have any questions then email us.

Please read through the terms and conditions here.

Submissions for this years Research Photography Competition close on Friday!

There’s still time left to submit your image to this years Research Photography Competition which closes on Friday 27 January 2017. The past two years have seen some fantastic entries from across all our faculties from both our staff and students here at BU. This year we want you to submit an image that shows us the impact your research will have on your field. Need some inspiration? Take a look at some of the fantastic entries from our first competition back in 2015.


‘Beyond the Beauty of Nature’

Arjan Gosal
Faculty of Science and Technology


‘VeggiEAT: a lovely VeggiHeart’

Carmen Palhau Martins
Faculty of Management


‘Research Takes the Lead!’

Bruce Braham
Faculty of Management


‘What can eye movements tell us about reading, writing and dyslexia?’

Julie Kirkby
Faculty of Science and Technology

Have something in mind? You can find out more information here. Or simply send over your photo with a 100-200 word blurb to

If you have any questions then get in touch with Hannah Jones.

Please have a read through the terms and conditions here.

Only 100 days to go until BU welcomes hundreds of undergraduate students from all over the UK to showcase their research at BCUR17


100 days from now, Bournemouth University will be hosting the prestigious British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR). The annual event is an opportunity to celebrate the valuable research contribution of undergraduate students to a wide array of subjects and disciplines.

Bournemouth University students have been involved in the British Conference of Undergraduate Research since the first event at the University of Central Lancashire in 2011. Each year, students gather to present their research through a combination of posters and oral presentations. Many have undertaken research projects as part of their dissertation or a placement.

Professor Gail Thomas, Head of BU’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and the Chair of BCUR17 commented, “We’re delighted to be hosting this year’s BCUR and are greatly looking forward to welcoming students from across the country to Bournemouth this April.

“Here at Bournemouth University, we strongly support the fusion of research, education and professional practice as we believe that each factor reinforces the other. It’s wonderful to see how many students have submitted abstracts to the conference, as it highlights the importance of research as part of a student’s educational journey.

“BCUR is a great opportunity for students to share their research activities and have their first taste of an academic conference. Whether or not they choose to go onto a career in academia, they’ll have the chance to develop their communication and presentation skills, which will stand them in good stead for any future job.”

BU graduate, Amy Tidball, took part in BCUR16 and presented her dissertation research at Manchester Metropolitan University. Below she shares her experiences:

“Looking back, the entire experience from planning to reflection tested my professional skills which university life doesn’t normally expose you to. BCUR gave me an insight into the world of conferences, networking and communication. These are skills which now as a graduate I need to be confident in, internally and externally at work.

“The thought of BCUR initially made me very apprehensive. It wasn’t until I started putting my presentation together that I realised my dissertation had become a comprehensive piece of work, which I was quite proud of, and putting it into a different format gave me a different perspective on it.

“Although the actual presenting part can seem quite daunting, on the day my nerves calmed a little, especially as I had the opportunity to listen to other people’s presentations and realise that the atmosphere is very friendly. One of the best parts of BCUR was getting to hear about a whole variety of different areas of research – trust me, you’ll definitely learn something new!”

For more information about BCUR17 or to register to attend, visit

Submit to 2017’s Research Photography Competition

Now the Christmas holidays are upon us why not use the time to think about what you might like to submit to 2017’s Research Photography Competition. You can be as creative as you like and submit an image from any area of your research. The competition is an excellent opportunity for both our staff and students to showcase their research across the university. Now in its third year we’re looking for you to convey the impact your research can have or will have through a single image.  Not sure where to start? Here are some photos from last years competition for some inspiration.


‘Parallels of Self’

Laurie Byrne
Faculty of Health and Social Science


‘Bullseye! Psychomotor Performance under Pressure’

Emma Mosely
Faculty of Science and Technology



Lizzie Sykes
Faculty of Media and Communication


‘The Care of Kin’

Jill Davey
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Have something in mind? You can find out more information here. Or simply send over your photo with a 100-200 word blurb to The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 27 January 2017.

If you have any questions then get in touch with Hannah Jones.

Please have a read through the terms and conditions here.

The Research Photography Competition is Returning for its Third Year!

Want to submit to this years Research Photography Competition but not sure where to start? Need some inspiration?

Over the past two years the competition has seen some fantastic entries from both staff and students across the University. From photos of the heart of a fly, the monsoons in Nepal, to Napoleon looking over St Helena and photos which represent the fantastic work academics at Bournemouth University are doing to improve nutritional care for the elderly. You can submit an image for any area of your research and it can be as creative or as simple as you like. Take a look below at some of the entries we had last year.


‘The heart of a fly- exploring cardiovascular disease’

Dr Paul Hartley

Faculty of Science and Technology


‘Monsoons in Nepal’

Professor Edwin Van Teijlingen

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences


‘Napoleon looking over St Helena’

Dan Hogan

Faculty of Media and Communication


‘Dignity in care: improving nutrition in people with dementia’

Professor Jane Murphy

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Want to submit? All you have to do is send an email to with your image and a 100-200 word blurb about the research behind the image, by 5pm on Friday 27 January. 

If you’d like more information have a read through here or you can email Hannah Jones if you any questions.

Take a read through the terms and conditions here.

British Conference of Undergraduate Research – abstract deadline extended

The deadline for students to submit abstracts to the British Conference of Undergraduate Research has been extended to Sunday 15 January 2017.

We have already seen a number of entries from Bournemouth University students, but it would be great to encourage more students to apply.  It’s a brilliant opportunity for them to share research that they’re undertaking or have undertaken as part of their dissertation, placement or a Student Research Assistantship, as well as developing their communication and presentation skills which will be helpful in any career.

Further information about BCUR, including guidance for submitting and abstract and how to submit a finished abstract can be found here:

Stories from students who have taken part in previous undergraduate research conferences can be found here.

COST Action Training School attended by FHSS Postgraduate Researcher Preeti Mahato

img_5141Last week I attended COST Action Training School BEYOND BIRTH COHORTS: from study design to data management which was conducted from November 23- 25 in Valencia, Spain. COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a unique platform where European researchers can jointly develop their ideas and initiatives across all scientific disciplines through trans-European networking of nationally funded research. The specialist training to which I was invited focused conducting longitudinal cohort studies especially birth cohorts.
Various aspects of birth cohort were discussed during the training which included data collection, development of standard operating protocols for analysis of samples, techniques and tools to study biological samples, different methods of data analysis, and data management. Training also included the use of the R-package for data analysis and management. There were presenters from different countries including the UK, Germany, Spain, Malta who were associated with the COST Action.
Overall this training was very helpful and I found it interesting to discover more about the COST Action, their objectives and activities and also about the data on birth cohorts including designing cohort studies and ways to analyse the data. I am sure it will help with my PhD fieldwork which links with the THET-funded project on mental health training for community maternity care providers in Nepal. My fieldwork in Nepal starts in January 2017. I would like to thank the EU for the funding and FHSS for the co-funding of the travel expenses.

One of the presentation from training

Thrivership UK Convention 2017

Join us for a Q&A session with the founder of Life Changing Events on 6 December to find out more.

In partnership with Life Changing Events, we are inviting staff and students to help shape and run one of the largest cancer survivorship events of 2017 – Thrivership UK Convention.

As part of the Festival of Learning, Bournemouth University will bring together leading organisations representing cancer related charities and survivorship projects, sport and physical activity, NHS and local governments to share best practice, research and innovative ideas to improve the services, experience and outcomes for people living with a cancer diagnosis. This event will also host a health and wellbeing clinic for 200 people living with cancer.

In order to make this event a success, Life Changing Events needs support with:

  • Event development, management, marketing and administration
  • Branding and marketing materials design
  • Website development
  • Social media development and promotion
  • Media capture of event (film/photography)
  • Interviewing participants in the event
  • Event impact evaluation
  • Literature review around improving cancer survivorship
  • Event day support/management

We would like to make these opportunities available to staff and students. This is a great opportunity for BU students to gain real-world project experience, enhance their CVs and contribute to people’s potential to live active and happy lives with and beyond cancer.

Interested in taking part?

Then join us for a Q&A session with the founder of Life Changing Events, Layne Hamerston, on 6 December at 11:00am in the Lawrence Lecture Theatre, Talbot Campus.

Please register to attend by Friday 2 December.

Refreshments will be provided.

Sharing undergraduate research: how SURE led one student to Norway and beyond

Next year Bournemouth University will be hosting the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, an international showcase of research from undergraduates of all disciplines.  Students submit an abstract and if accepted to the conference, have the chance to share their work through a poster, oral presentation or art displays.  It’s a great opportunity to get an insight into academic life and develop key skills that will be of benefit no matter which career they end up in.

Charlotte Fodor, a recent graduate from the Faculty of Media & Communication took part in this year’s Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) – BU’s internal research conference.  Below she shares her experience of taking part and how it’s helped her career to develop.


I am recent graduate who took part in this year’s SURE conference. I presented my research, which explores the representation of disabled people in literature, and was delighted to be awarded a prize for the best presentation.

My prize enabled me to attend a conference related to my research interests.  This led to me applying and being accepted as a speaker at a conference in Bergen, Norway.  I used the funding I won through taking part in SURE to pay for my travel costs.

It was my first time in Norway and I stayed in Bergen for three days. It was a beautiful, welcoming place; with rolling mountains, intricate sculptures, and pastel coloured buildings.

The conference, known as “Gender, Body, and Health”, was organised by the Nordic Network and hosted by the University of Bergen. I met a variety of academics and speakers from all over the world: from America, to India, to Sweden, to Germany, who introduced me to exciting ideas and perspectives that I had never considered before. These are just a few examples of the fantastic topics that I had the chance to learn about. Discussions on whether or not Literature could evoke a DeafBlind experience; Universal Design and Disability; the Female, Disabled body in India; Disability and the Art of Quiet Protest…

SURE was the first conference that I spoke at and it led me to Norway. I sincerely consider SURE to be a stepping stone towards my aims for the future.

Taking part in opportunities like SURE will stretch your mind. You will have to think on the spot during the Q&A, and figure out your time management (you can only talk for a limited amount of time. I had to condense my 10,000-word dissertation into a paper that lasted for 10 minutes). It will also help you to develop as an independent researcher and enrich your C.V.

Whether, like me, you want to pursue academia further; or, you are preparing for the job market, taking part in SURE will cement the skills you need for the future and has the potential to open more doors for you that you may not have considered.

Visiting Bergen and networking was an exciting adventure, and it was a great kick-starter for my Postgraduate research, which I’m now underway with at the University of Southampton!


To find out more about taking part in the British Conference of Undergraduate Research or to find out how your students can submit an abstract, visit

The Research Photography Competition is back for 2017 and set to be the best one yet!


Following on from the success of the previous two years, we’re delighted to announce that the Research Photography Competition will be returning for its third year. The competition is part of our activities to engage BU students with research.

Over the past two years we’ve set BU academics the challenge of telling the story of their research, through a single image. This year we want to focus on the impact that your research can have or will have outside of academia. Not only this, we want both our staff and student researchers getting involved, from across the university. Whether you’re at the early stages of your research or it has come to the end, we want you to get involved and showcase the impact your research has had or will have through a single image.

How do I enter?

It’s easy! Pick up a camera and capture an image or use one you already have. You can be as creative as you like with your images and capture any area of your research, in relation to its impact.

Once you have, all you have to do is submit it to us via email ( by Wednesday 25 January 2017, along with a 100 – 200 word description of your research behind the image.

Voting will then go live in February. Staff, students and the general public will be able to vote for their favourite image. The competition winners will then be presented with a small prize by Professor John Fletcher in the Atrium Art Gallery, in March 2017. You’ll get a chance to view all the competition entries in the Atrium Art Gallery and online after the event too!

Taking part is a great way to showcase your research and grow your academic profile both in and outside the university. As well as raising awareness of your research, you’ll be in for the chance of winning some Amazon vouchers!

Each image will need to be:

  • 300ppi (pixels per inch)
  • with physical dimensions equivalent to an A3 size piece of paper
Millimetres Inches
Portrait (width x height) 297 x 420 mm 11.7 x 16.5 in
Landscape (width x height) 420 x 297 mm 16.5 x 11.7 in

Need Inspiration?

Then take a look at our Photo of the Week, where you can read about the research behind the images

Should you have any queries about the competition, then get in contact with Hannah Jones in the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

For more information, take a look at the Research Website.

Please read through the Terms and Conditions