Tagged / BU Clinical Research Unit

Presentation to Research Staff Association 30 November 2016

Thanks to Michelle Heward for organising this event for research staff. Ehren Milner and Emily Cieciura (RKEO) gave a short presentation on the new RKE Development Framework illustrating its flexibility for researchers at any stage! The framework is now being run through Organisational Development and details can be found  by clicking on the RKE development framework category link (above) or visiting the OD page on the staff intranet.

BU Clinical Research Unit were also there (in the form of Lisa Gale-Andrews and Sharon Docherty) and provided an overview of the FREE support available to ANYONE interested in health or social care research. For more information on how BUCRU can help you visit the website or drop by and see us on the 5th floor of Royal London House.

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 7: BUCRU – not just for Writing Week!

We’re coming to the end of Writing Week in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and by now you will have made a good start or have put the finishing touches to your academic writing projects. Over the last week, we have given you some tips on writing grant applications and highlighted some of the expertise within BUCRU. If you didn’t get the chance to pop in and see us we thought it would be useful to remind you what we’re about and how we can help.

Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) supports researchers in improving the quality, quantity and efficiency of research across the University and local National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. We do this by:

  • Helping researchers develop high quality applications for external research funding (including small grants)
  • Ongoing involvement in funded research projects
  • A “pay-as-you-go” consultation service for other work.

How can we help?

BUCRU can provide help in the following areas:

  • Study design
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Statistics, data management and data analysis
  • Patient and public involvement in research
  • Trial management
  • Ethics, governance and other regulatory issues
  • Linking University and NHS researchers

Our support is available to Bournemouth University staff and people working locally in the NHS, and depending on the support you require, is mostly free of charge. There are no general restrictions on topic area or professional background of the researcher.

If you would like support in developing your research please get in touch through bucru@bournemouth.ac.uk or by calling us on 01202 961939. Please see our website for further information, details of our current and previous projects and a link to our recent newsletter.

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 6: What to do with your data

You don’t have to spend Writing Week working on grant applications. You may already have a dataset and now you finally have some time to do something with it. But where to start? It’s often a good idea to go back to your original research questions/aims/objectives. As we said yesterday, a well thought out research question can help shape your analysis strategy.
Hopefully you will have a record of which variables you were measuring and how data were coded. Were any calculations performed using the raw data to create new variables? How were these done? This is all part of good data management. To find out more visit the information pages created by the Library and Learning Support Team.
Once you are reacquainted with your data, it’s often a good idea (in the case of quantitative data) to start plotting graphs to find out more. Always keep in mind the original aims of the study, it’s easy to wander down a path of distraction. If you are feeling confused by all of this or, have got yourself lost down a data track, the BUCRU team are at hand to help.
Peter Thomas is available on Tuesday and Wednesday while Sharon Docherty is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Why not drop us an email or pop by to see us in R505?

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 5: Designing your study

So you have formed a strong team, chosen a funder and involved some service users to help develop a research idea with impact. What’s next?
Step 5 is designing your study. The heart of a good piece of research is a strong research question with clear aims and achievable objectives. Sounds easy, right? This is often one of the most difficult aspects of any research project. If you then add having to align your ideas with the priorities of your chosen funder, this task becomes a bit more difficult. However, it is worth the effort. Spending time putting together well constructed research questions will make designing the rest of the study much easier and will even help you formulate your data analysis strategy.
If all of this sounds a bit daunting, never fear because BUCRU are at hand to help. Did you know that some of the members of BUCRU form the Bournemouth branch of NIHR Research Design Service (RDS)? The RDS is here to advise and provide practical support for anyone developing a research grant application to a national, peer reviewed funding competition in the fields of applied health or social care. You can find the Bournemouth team in Royal London House.
If you need help with the design of your study (particularly if it is quantitative) Peter Thomas is available on Tuesday and Wednesday while Sharon Docherty is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Why not drop us an email or pop by to see us in R505?

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 4: Research grant applications – not THAT PPI

With the start of FHSS writing week, we are continuing our series of blogs providing you with some (hopefully) useful advice on how to make the best of this dedicated time. Remember, there are members of the BUCRU team available during this week to help you (i.e. anyone interested in health research) along the way.

Once you have decided on a funder, an important (but sometimes overlooked) aspect of working up a grant application is the planning and documenting of the involvement of service users/patients/relevant groups or organisations (Public Patient Involvement or PPI) ie the people most likely to have a vested interest in the research you are intending to do. Indeed, many major national funders, including the NIHR, require detailed evidence of how service users have been involved. But do you know who to approach? When? How? What can service users be involved with? What can they add? Sometimes it’s relatively straightforward to identify appropriate individuals and organisations. Other occasions can call for more creativity. Hot tip: everything takes longer to arrange than you might think. Allow a minimum of 6 weeks to plan, consult service users and feedback from the PPI consultation to your colleagues.

If you’d like some advice about planning PPI and conducting service user consultations for a project Helen Allen (helena@bournemouth.ac.uk) will be pleased to advise you. Helen is available on Tuesday 26th.

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 3: Research grant applications – choosing a funder

Since next week (25-29 July) is Writing Week in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (but anyone interested in health research can come and see us), we’ll be giving you some tips on ways to make the most of the dedicated writing time as well as letting you know which members of the BU Clinical Research Unit team can help you and when they are available (see table below).


In yesterday’s post we covered how we can help you build a research team. Step 3 focuses on choosing a suitable funder for your research project. You may be an established researcher with several grants already under your belt and a fair idea about the funders that are appropriate for your area of research. Whatever stage you’re at it’s important to target the right funder. Ensure your research idea fits with the funder’s strategic aims and priorities. Do they fund solely quantitative research, or do they prefer a mixed-methods approach? Do they have open investigator-led calls or commissioned calls only? Although it’s not all about the money, ensure the funder has a sufficient funding limit for your project – an under-costed project will be obvious to a funder and is unlikely to be successful.

If you’re not sure where to start Lisa Gale-Andrews (lgaleandrews@bournemouth.ac.uk) can help identify suitable health research funders for your project. She will be available all day Monday-Thursday during Writing Week if you’d like to pop in (R506).

There’s more to come on grant applications over the next few days including research design, and the importance of patient and public involvement (PPI).

Making the Most of Writing Week Part 1: Be Prepared!

Next week (25-29 July) is Writing Week in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences. A whole week dedicated to freeing up some time for academic writing. So, how can you make the most of this opportunity? Over the next few days, we’ll give you some tips on ways to spend your Writing Week.

Step 1 is to set a goal for the week… but make it realistic. Unless you are one of the lucky people who find it easy to write, you won’t be able to produce a whole grant proposal/manuscript in that time but you can make a start. Go through that list of jobs you’ve been putting off until you “have more time” and decide how you will spend your week.

Don’t forget the BU Clinical Research Unit team are here to help not only HSS researchers but anyone involved in health research. Below is a list of who is available and how each of us can help.