Tagged / BU research

Ada Lovelace Day 2021 at BU: celebrating women in STEM

Ada Lovelace

Tuesday 12th October is Ada Lovelace Day: an international celebration of women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Often referred to as the ‘first computer programmer’, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s. Find out more about her here.

All week we are profiling a selection of  the women who work in STEM disciplines at BU,  in areas as varied as games technology, sport psychology, electronics and clinical nutrition. Today we feature Dr Rebecca Neal and Dr Amanda Wilding.

Dr Rebecca Neal

Dr Rebecca Neal, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Programme Leader for the Sport and Exercise Science degree programme. Rebecca teaches physiology and research methods units across the Department of Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences and the Department of Sport and Events Management. She has conducted research in the Extreme Environments Laboratory at the University of Portsmouth in the areas of exercise and environmental physiology and sports performance for the English Institute of Sport, British Triathlon, GlaxoSmithKline and the Ministry of Defence.

Susan Dewhurst, Head of Department and Principal Academic in Exercise Physiology, who nominated her, says: “Rebecca is an early career researcher excelling in the traditionally male-dominated field of sport and exercise science. Her work in the field of extreme environmental physiology is published in prestigious physiology journals and she has been the recipient of external and internal grants to advance her work. [She] contributes greatly to transferring her research findings to the end user, through public engagement events, magazine articles and podcasts aimed at raising the awareness of the issues and needs of individuals exercising in extreme environments.”

What does Ada Lovelace mean to you?  

“The vision that Ada Lovelace had, to create and use a computer that would produce an answer that has not been pre-programmed, is fundamental to research in STEM. I’ve been interested in understanding how the body works since trying to develop athletic skills as a child. I chose to follow this up with a degree in sport and exercise science, where the lecturers and my desire to adventure inspired me to dig deeper into what happens to our bodies in different stressful environments, whether that was exercise, disease or different extreme environments. Now, research from sports science and environmental physiology, like that of my PhD research on heat and hypoxia, is being used to explore therapeutic treatments to aid clinical populations.”

What sparked your interest in male-dominated sports and extreme environmental physiology?

“Growing up, my drive to be involved with sports stemmed from wanting to explore, learn new skills, and compete. When you’re competitive, you want to achieve, no matter what sport it is, so I would train with anyone who thought the same – often men. The same was true for exploring science throughout school and my degree, and these experiences led to me completing a PhD in Environmental Physiology, working with a team of like-minded people.

 What do you consider to be your biggest achievements so far in your career?

“So far, I’m particularly proud of the series of publications that came out of my PhD, as the experiments were demanding, involving about 40 different types of whole-body and molecular physiological measurements, with human participants visiting the laboratory over 30 times across several months. More recently, I led the successful launch of a new degree programme at BU, during a pandemic, which we are excited to see develop now our new students are back on campus and in the Human Performance Laboratory.”

Have you faced any challenges in your chosen field because you’re a woman? 

“Exercise physiology is a STEM area that combines topics that have historically been led by men: science and sport/exercise. We have progressed in many ways, but in both areas, there is much work to do for equal opportunities. Support exists for women researchers and educators in exercise physiology, however there is not equal representation yet at international conferences, and the focus of this research is often on male physiological responses. Still, the ability of women to lead complex studies is often underestimated. There is a drive in current research, which our research at BU is a part of, to include and focus studies on female physiology both during exercise and at different stages of their life – to better serve more people and further our knowledge.”

Dr Amanda Wilding

Dr Amanda Wilding, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Psychology. Amanda has supported athletes, coaches and parents in hockey, rugby, fencing and athletics, from county to international level, including athletes at their relevant world championships. She is also visiting lecturer at the Azerbaijan Sport and Physical Education University

Her colleague, Susan Dewhurst, Head of Department and Principal Academic in Exercise Physiology, says: “In addition to teaching, Amanda works as a sports psychologist in professional male football and army rugby. Her involvement in male-dominated sports led to her being invited to lead a workshop on Women in Sport to women at the Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Saudi Arabia.”

What does Ada Lovelace mean to you?  

“As a child I was always told I was no good at maths. I’m the fanciful Ada that wanted to fly, not the logical one. I never imagined I would end up in a STEM subject.”

 What or who inspired you to pursue your career in a STEM subject? 

“As a child, I was a runner. My father pointed out a woman once and told me: ‘She’s the lady who went to the Olympics’. ‘Wow!’, I thought. How do you do that? I’m never going to be a professional athlete but how do I ensure others are?’ At the end of my undergraduate degree I still hadn’t found my passion, but I knew the woman still worked in athletics so I contacted her. She told me that on her way home from the Olympics, she asked a man what event he did. He told her he was a sports psychologist, and helped ‘people to be at their best under pressure’. She told him: ‘I wish I’d met you three days ago, I could have been sat here with a medal. I underestimated myself and just ran my slowest time of the season.’ That was when I knew I was destined to be a sport psychologist.”

 What sparked your interest in male-dominated sports?

“I fell into it. When the Premier League started the Elite Player Performance Plan, football clubs were required to hire a registered sport psychologist. Southampton FC contacted me and 11 years later I’m still there. It’s been an accident rather than design, but I love it.

Have you faced any challenges in your chosen field because you’re a woman? 

“I’m working on a project called ‘Women in elite football: have you got the balls for it?’, investigating female experiences of operating in a male-dominated environment. I’ve previously been told not to stand on the side-lines as it’s ‘not your place, go to the grandstand’, I’ve been to places with no changing facilities as there are ‘no women in football’. The challenge is to be taken seriously without compromising my own identity and philosophy.”

Tell us about your area of work/research

“It is all about getting the best out of people, whether that’s an elite athlete striving for the Olympics, a stroke patient trying to walk again, or a student getting a first in their degree. My work is about people, helping them to understand themselves and the environment around them. It about educating the next generation, and also working directly with those in the sports arena: athletes, coaches, parents etc. I research the real world to drive up professional standards. I currently work with Southampton FC Ladies first team, the Royal Signals Rugby team and England Athletics coaches to support integrating sport psychology into their high-performance teams.”

What would you like to change as a result of your research?

“I’d like to see more women working in the elite context as scientists. The perception that women wear suits, not tracksuits, is something I’d like to see change. My goal is to help males feel more comfortable with women entering their domain, so women don’t feel the need to mould themselves into something they’re not. I don’t want a female to feel like she can’t enter the field because of her gender. ”

What do you consider to be your biggest achievements so far in your career?

“Getting my PhD was amazing. I had two children during this period and thought it was never going to happen. I remember being on stage and as I went to walk across, I got so overwhelmed I cried. It suddenly hit me how much I had given to it.”

What was it like leading a workshop on Women in Sport to women at the Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Saudi Arabia?

“The trip was petrifying and amazing. Getting into the country was so intimidating as I was travelling alone but the country, the people, and the whole experience was fantastic. The ladies were so engaged – I learnt just as much from them as they did from me. We compared and contrasted our different cultures, our approaches to sport and where women fit into this picture. This trip sparked my interest in examining female experiences in elite sport and male-dominated environments.”

What would your advice be to girls looking at STEM subjects as a possible career? 

“There is much more to STEM subjects than what we are taught at school. You can go down avenues you never knew existed. Keep going until you find the right path for you. Ask questions, seek experiences, and go for it – you never know where it will take you.”

Ada Lovelace Day 2021 at BU: celebrating women in STEM

Ada Lovelace

Tuesday 12th October is Ada Lovelace Day: an international celebration of women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Often referred to as the ‘first computer programmer’, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s. Find out more about her here.

All week we are profiling a selection of  the women who work in STEM disciplines at BU,  in areas as varied as games technology, sport psychology, electronics and clinical nutrition. Today we feature Dr Roya Haratian, Dr Vanessa Heaslip and Dr Michele Board.

Dr Roya Haratian

Dr Roya Haratian, Assistant Professor in Electronics in the Department of Design and Engineering. Roya works in multidisciplinary topics such as Mechatronics, Signal Processing and Control System Design applied across different industries. Roya is the co-lead for Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) in her department and submitted their application for the SWAN bronze award with the aim of supporting women in their career development. They have also formed an inclusivity committee to address diversity and equality.

Dr Diogo Montalvao, Deputy Head of the Department of Design and Engineering, who nominated her, says: “Roya has led the department’s submission to Athena Swan and championed the Women in Engineering Society at BU, [launched in 2019]. Her contribution to raising the profile of women in engineering aT BU has therefore been of the utmost importance. She has been challenging gender stereotypes by being the most qualified engineering professional we have in Electronics. She is our ‘in-house’ specialist in a range of fields… traditionally dominated by men, namely mechatronics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, with applications to biomechanics.”

Please tell us a little about your area of work/research

“My research is currently focused on, but not limited to, on-body sensing and signal processing systems for the development of new algorithms to improve the quality of life… [The aim is] to bring awareness to the early signs of issues and provide biofeedback for stress management by collecting physiological signals. My research looks at how awareness of user experience affects the human-machine interaction (HMI), in areas such as utility, ease of use, and efficiency. The machine’s ability to recognise users’ experience during user-machine interaction would improve the overall HMI usability and such machines could adapt their speed, for example, based on the user experience.”

What would you like to change as a result of your research?

” My research is mainly centred on the design and development of assistive technologies for long-term monitoring of mental well-being.”

What would your advice be to girls looking at STEM subjects as a possible career?

“My advice to women who are considering a career in STEM is to believe in their abilities and power to break the gender stereotypes which still exist in the 21st century. Although now it is more subtle in comparison to decades ago, we need to be aware that still it exists.”

 

Dr Vanessa Heaslip

Dr Vanessa Heaslip, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department for Nursing Science. Vanessa was nominated by her colleague Professor Steven Ersser, Head of Department for Nursing Science, who describes her as an “amazing leader in nursing related to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups [especially] that of the health of the Romany/travelling community.”

In 2019, she was honoured as a Woman of the Year at the prestigious annual Women of the Year Lunch and Awards held in London. She was named for her commitment in ensuring health and educational equity for individuals from marginalised communities. Vanessa’s educational research in widening participation and fair access in higher education, alongside her clinical research in vulnerability and vulnerable groups in society, whose voices are not traditionally heard, is nationally and internationally recognised.

Her current and recent research includes her role as principal investigator on a project funded by the Burdett Trust to co-produce a technological solution to support rough sleepers to self-care by locating and accessing services, and leading a systematic review exploring experiences of vulnerability among adult male prisoners. She also worked with BU archaeology colleague Professor Tim Darvill on the Human Henge project at Stonehenge, which investigated the impact of immersive experiences of prehistoric landscapes on the well-being of participants with mental health issues.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career in a STEM subject? 

“My research interests in health equity and addressing health disparities faced by many socially excluded groups derived from my clinical experience as a nurse working in both hospitals and community settings. I find it simply unacceptable that those who need healthcare services the most often face the most barriers in accessing it, and feel compelled to raise this educationally, clinically and politically.

“I am honoured to be recognised in this way and recognise I stand on the shoulders of women like Ada. who came before me, those who dared to follow their passion and ask questions of the world in which we live.”

Dr Michele Board

Dr Michele BoardAssociate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department for Nursing Science. Michele, who is the deputy lead for the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre.  was also nominated by colleague Professor Steven Ersser, who says: “[Michele] is an “amazing leader in gerontological nursing, with specialist expertise in the field of dementia care and frailty.”

Michele describes herself as being “passionate about caring for the person, not the diagnosis”.  She has been an adult nurse since 1985 and has had a broad range of clinical experience, with a specific focus on nursing the older person. She started lecturing in 2003, and has also led the development of dementia education programmes for health and social care staff working in the NHS and the private sector.

Michele’s general research interests are in the field of nursing older people and people with dementia. As a qualitative researcher she uses creative approaches to collect and present research data. A recent grant from Alzheimer’s Research UK enabled her to evaluate their app, A Walk Through Dementia – designed to put people in the shoes of someone living with dementia – for its effect on learners’ understanding of the lived experience of dementia.

Her other research work includes widening participation and nurse education, as well as consideration of the impact of changes to nurse education funding on recruitment and retention of staff. She also works one day a month with the Dorset Memory Advisory Service, contributing to the assessment of people with a cognitive impairment.

Ada Lovelace Day 2021 at BU: celebrating women in STEM

Ada Lovelace

Tuesday 12th October is Ada Lovelace Day: an international celebration of women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Often referred to as the ‘first computer programmer’, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s. Find out more about her here.

All week we are profiling a selection of  the women who work in STEM disciplines at BU,  in areas as varied as games technology, sport psychology, electronics and clinical nutrition. Today we feature Professor Wen Tang and Dr Melanie Coles.

Professor Wen Tang

Professor Wen Tang, Professor of Games Technology in the Creative Technology Department. Wen is Director of the Centre for Smart Immersive Technology and the lead developer of the BU Games Analytics Platform.

Her colleague, Fred Charles (Head of Department of Creative Technology) says, “Throughout her career as an academic in Computer Science, Wen has provided leadership and mentoring to staff and students in Mathematical Modelling, Algorithmics, Physics in Simulations, Computer Games Programming, Virtual and Augmented Reality. She is inspiring as a teacher and a researcher, and her funded projects have led to positive impacts on society.”

Wen has an impressive list of research funding awards to her name, including, most recently, £2 million worth of projects for which she is BU’s PI, such as H2020-MSCA-RISE-2018:iGame, looking at gaming techniques for e-health and m-health apps, Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeen PATH, aimed at improving perinatal mental health, and Interreg Channel ASPIRE, creating tools for healthier lifestyles.

What does Ada Lovelace mean to you?  

“Ada Lovelace is a great inspiration and a towering figure for women in all walks of life, especially in STEM subjects. She is proof that women are equal to men in STEM subjects –  in creativity and in practice. I am inspired by both Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, for their love of science and their intellectual power of thinking.”

What or who inspired you to pursue your career in a STEM subject?  

“When I was a young girl growing up in China during the cultural revolution, my father taught me to pursue knowledge and to have intellectual curiosity.  As an engineer himself, he advised me to study an engineering subject in my first degree.  I was also greatly inspired by a Chinese female poet from the 9th century Song dynasty, Li Qing Zhao, who is revered as one of China’s greatest poets.”

Have you faced any challenges in your chosen field because you’re a woman?  

“Although women are increasingly studying STEM subjects at school and university, there is still a very low glass ceiling in China for the employment or promotion of woman in companies or universities after their education. And there are still barriers too in Europe. For 15 years I was the only female on the committee of the European Association for Computer Graphics. During my academic career, I was one of very few female members of my teaching group, and for a very long time I was the only female in my department. It can be lonely and there can be barriers when communicating over different issues, but this does not detract from my love of computer graphics-related subjects (games, VR, AR) and the enjoyment of researching and teaching in this area.”

What would your advice be to girls looking at STEM subjects as a possible career?  

“I would very much encourage girls to look towards STEM subjects as possible career paths, and am always very happy to meet girls studying games, software engineering and games design courses. I tell them during open days that girls are just as good as boys in computer programming.  The situation is slowly improving, but the UK digital industry really still needs more woman and girls.”

Please tell us a little about your area of work/research. 

“My research area is concerned with digital games, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. While I research novel algorithms and frameworks to address specific technical questions, I am also interested in how the technologies can be used to address societal challenges through interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary collaborations. My recent large European projects have been focused on digital technologies for healthcare.”

What would you like to change as a result of your research?   

“By working within large consortia of project partners across different countries, I have gained an understanding of gaps in digital technologies in real-life applications. These gaps require new ways of research thinking… we need to think and work more creatively and imaginatively to put emerging technologies to real-life use.”

Wen is clearly an inspiration to young women in computing. A former student of hers, who now works for a Cambridge-based company as a user interface designer, recently wrote to her: “I gave a presentation for International Women’s Day, describing my experience in the industry as a woman. I also discussed [what] it was like going through university, and that you were the only female professor on our course. I would like to thank you for being a wonderful inspiration to me personally too.”

Photo by David Latorre Romero on Unsplash

Dr Melanie Coles, Deputy Head of Department in Computing and Informatics. Her colleague Dr Vegard Engen describes her as “one of the most experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic problem solvers we have in the department, often being a key person both academic and professional support staff reach out to if they have a problem. As one of the deputy heads, Melanie is the only female in such a leadership position in the computing department.

“She continuously champions gender equality, and challenges gender stereotypes through her leadership role, teaching and Athena SWAN contributions. While having moved into management and leadership, she retains her technical curiosity and involvement with students, and makes a real difference to our department – for students and staff alike.”

Melanie’s research in computing began in the early 1990s, putting her in the vanguard of women studying computing and information systems. She received her MSc in Distributed Information Systems from the University of East London in 1994, having attained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology prior to that. She was the recipient of Technology Strategy Board Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grants in 2009, and worked alongside computer scientists at Morning Data Limited and Hark Solutions.

Her teaching experience has informed her research and, as she explains, “[my research] has impacted upon subsequent teaching and learning developments. I have taught programming for a number of years, with different sized cohorts, at different levels, on different degrees and it was this experience that led me to explore why programming can be difficult to both learn and teach, and what can be done to improve the student experience in learning to program.”

Combining her expertise in psychology, pedagogy and computing/information systems, Melanie’s research is powerfully demonstrated in publications she has co-authored on subjects such as the application of innovative technologies and practices in remote learning, undergraduate students’ learning approaches in programming and brain types as programming aptitude predictors.

Melanie continues to teach Principles of Programming, Persuasive Technology and Behaviour Change, and Cyberpsychology. She also mentors several members of staff and, in the words of another colleague, Dr Gernot Liebchen, “always looks at the best interest of the students in a student-centric approach, while focusing on academic integrity”.

Profiles by Nicolette Barsdorf-Liebchen

A small or a large national survey?

Congratulations to Dr. Pramod Regmi and Dr. Nirmal Aryal on the acceptance of their paper ‘Risk of kidney health among returnee Nepali migrant workers: A survey of nephrologists’ [1].  This paper has been accepted by the Asian Journal of Medical Sciences, after having been rejected previous by another scientific journal . The reason for rejection was the small sample size of 38 nephrologists (=medical specialists in kidney disease).  We think one of the reasons for acceptance of this research by the Asian Journal of Medical Sciences is the high proportion (74.5%) of all Nepal’s nephrologists who participated in this national study.  Although the absolute number of participants is low there are only 51 kidney experts in the whole country and three-quarters took part in this study!

Dr. Nirmal Aryal was until recently based in the Department of Midwifery and Health Sciences and he will be starting later this month as a Research Associate at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust.  Dr. Pramod Regmi is Senior Lecturer in International Health in the Department of Nursing Sciences.  This paper was also co-authored with a nephrologist Dr. Arun Sedhai based in Chitwan (Nepal) and a public health expert based at the UN organisation, International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This paper which will be Open Access and hence freely available for any reader across the globe adds to the growing research evidence published by Bournemouth University’s researchers on migration and health, especially of migrants from Nepal [2-21].

 

 

Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

References:

  1. Aryal, N., Sedhain, A., Regmi, P.R., KC, R.K., van Teijlingen, E. (2021) ‘Risk of kidney health among returnee Nepali migrant workers: A survey of nephrologists’, Asian Journal of Medical Sciences (accepted).
  2. Simkhada, B., Vahdaninia, M., van Teijlingen, E., Blunt, H. (2021) Cultural issues on accessing mental health services in Nepali and Iranian migrants communities in the UK, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (accepted).  https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12913
  3. Adhikary, P., Aryal, N., Dhungana, R.R., KC, R.K., Regmi, P.R., Wickramage, K.P., Duigan, P., Inkochasan, M., Sharma, G.N., Devkota, B., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2020) Accessing health services in India: experiences of seasonal migrants returning to Nepal. BMC Health Services Research 20, 992. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05846-7
  4. IOM [International Organization for Migration]. (2019) Health vulnerabilities of cross-border migrants from Nepal. Kathmandu: International Organization for Migration.
  5. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Trenoweth, S., Adhikary, P., Simkhada, P. (2020) The Impact of Spousal Migration on the Mental Health of Nepali Women: A Cross-Sectional Study, International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health 17(4), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph1704129
  6. Regmi, P., Aryal, N., van Teijlingen, E., Adhikary, P. (2020) Nepali migrant workers and the need for pre-departure training on mental health: a qualitative study, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 22, 973–981.
  7. Adhikary, P. van Teijlingen, E. (2020) Support networks in the Middle East & Malaysia: A qualitative study of Nepali returnee migrants’ experiences, International Journal of Occupational Safety & Health (IJOSH), 9(2): 31-35.
  8. Simkhada, B., Sah, R.K., Mercel-Sanca, A., van Teijlingen, E., Bhurtyal, Y.M., Regmi, P. (2020) Health and Wellbeing of the Nepali population in the UK: Perceptions and experiences of health and social care utilisation, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health (accepted).
  9. Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E., Mahato, P., Aryal, N., Jadhav, N., Simkhada, P., Syed Zahiruddin, Q., Gaidhane, A., (2019) The health of Nepali migrants in India: A qualitative study of lifestyles and risks, Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health 16(19), 3655; doi:10.3390/ijerph16193655.
  10. Dhungana, R.R., Aryal, N, Adhikary, P., KC, R., Regmi, P.R., Devkota, B., Sharma, G.N., Wickramage, K., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2019) Psychological morbidity in Nepali cross-border migrants in India: A community-based cross-sectional, BMC Public Health 19:1534 https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7881-z
  11. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Mahato, P. (2019) Adolescents left behind by migrant workers: a call for community-based mental health interventions in Nepal. WHO South East Asia Journal of Public Health 8(1): 38-41.
  12. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., Faller, E.M,, van Teijlingen, E., Khoon, C.C., Pereira, A., Simkhada, P. (2019) ‘Sudden cardiac death and kidney health related problems among Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia’ Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 9(3): 755-758. https://www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/25805
  13. Adhikary P, van Teijlingen E., Keen S. (2019) Workplace accidents among Nepali male workers in the Middle East and Malaysia: A qualitative study, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health 21(5): 1115–1122. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10903-018-0801-y
  14. Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen, E.R., Gurung, M., Wasti, S. (2018) A survey of health problems of Nepalese female migrants workers in the Middle-East & Malaysia, BMC International Health & Human Rights 18(4): 1-7. http://rdcu.be/E3Ro
  15. Adhikary P, Sheppard, Z., Keen S., van Teijlingen E. (2018) Health and well-being of Nepalese migrant workers abroad, International Journal of Migration, Health & Social Care 14(1): 96-105. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-12-2015-0052
  16. Adhikary, P, Sheppard, Z., Keen, S., van Teijlingen, E. (2017) Risky work: accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar & Saudi Arabia, Health Prospect 16(2): 3-10.
  17. Simkhada, P.P., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Aryal, N. (2017) Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: A review of the literature, Journal of Travel Medicine 24 (4): 1-9.
  18. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E.Simkhada, P., Adhikary, P., Bhatta, Y.K.D., Mann, S. (2016) Injury and Mortality in Young Nepalese Migrant Workers: A Call for Public Health Action. Asian-Pacific Journal of Public Health 28(8): 703-705.
  19. Sapkota, T., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2014) Nepalese health workers’ migration to United Kingdom: A qualitative study. Health Science Journal 8(1):57-74.
  20. Adhikary P, Keen S and van Teijlingen E (2011). Health Issues among Nepalese migrant workers in the Middle East. Health Science Journal.5 (3):169-i75 DOI: 2-s2.0-79960420128.
  21. Adhikary, P., Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen E., Raja, AE. (2008) Health & Lifestyle of Nepalese Migrants in the UK, BMC International Health & Human Rights 8(6). Web address: www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/8/6

Research Fundamentals: Why should they fund me?

Professor Melanie Klinkner.

There is so much advice, guidance for beginners and information available that it is hard to write anything original on the subject. Ironically, that’s exactly what grant writing is about: crafting an original, timely, (socially) relevant, scientifically robust, considered and impactful project often in conjunction with great partners. And that pretty much sums it up. But it may take a bit of time for it all to come together…So where might the journey start?

Mine your expertise. For me this still means on occasions returning to the roots of my PhD. I developed my first full-blown funding application during my PhD. I spotted what I thought was an exciting gap, I found a funder interested in post-conflict research, I teamed up with my supervisor and together generated support from the then President of the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia. And off we went to develop a proposal. We made it through the first round and then, a change of guard at the Court meant we could no longer rely on their support. We withdrew the application. Bad luck, but lots learnt. Particularly not to get deterred by a snooty Professor asking ‘why ever would you like to develop that for?’ or a research administrator ‘but that has been done before, right?’ In fact, the same core idea, arguably, far better conceived with a different approach, validated by experts, a multidisciplinary team and virtual technological know-how is presently under consideration as a science communication project. This is 12 years after the original submission; an ‘up-cycling’ of sorts.

Checks & Balances. My second funding application submitted in collaboration with my colleague and mentor Dr Howard Davis was thankfully successful. And it resulted in a co-authored book. A funder recommendation was the creation of a steering group for the project, something that I have since adopted for other applications resulting in lovely, continuous engagement with colleagues beyond the institution for the purpose of project delivery. A steering committee or advisory group is well worth having and they will make the most wonderful advocates for your research expertise.

Look through Examples. Assuming that I am in the initial planning phase where I know

  • what the research aim is;
  • which funder to go for;
  • and who I would like to collaborate with;

then, apart from notifying RDS and your departmental lead with the Intention to bid and thinking about a suitable internal peer reviewer, I visit the Brightspace library of prior successful funding applications. And I look through those. Every funder has different structural requirements and it is helpful to see how others have approached it.

Pro-act, not re-act. Subscribing to Research Professional means that every Friday an email with the latest funding calls matching my keyword search arrives. And that helps you get a rough idea of the funding landscape and what are recurring themes and calls. And I put notes in my calendar if I think that a call might be of interest to me in a year or so. Responding de novo to a sudden, non-recurring funding call seems like a tall order to me unless you have some prior ideas, established links and method expertise that you can build on.

Finally, try to convince the reviewer at every opportunity that you, your idea, project plan, team and network are best and uniquely placed to conduct this study now! I’d like to hope that the journey has an element of linear progression and that one gets better at answering every aspect of the question ‘why should they fund me?’

Research Fundamentals: In conversation with…the BU Clinical Research Unit

This week on the BU Research Blog we are considering bid quality and how to make a bid as good as it can possibly be. I set off on a quest to speak to members of the BU Clinical Research Unit to understand how they contribute to improving bid quality.

How can the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) support researchers to enhance the quality of their external funding application?

BUCRU is here to support academics and clinicians to develop high quality health and social care research applications. BUCRU’s mission is to improve the quality, quantity, and efficiency of research across the university and National Health Service (NHS). We provide a research advice service to support funding applications and can continue providing support in funded research projects.

As a team, BUCRU has a range of expertise spanning intervention development, trial design, behaviour change, qualitative research, mixed methods, research governance, and patient and public involvement.   Our support is available to both BU staff and local clinicians in the NHS. There are no restrictions on project topic area or professional background of the researcher.

As we’re a hub of the National Institute for Health Research – Research Design Service South West (NIHR RDS SW)  (part of the national Research Design Service) we’re fortunate to have access to other methodological expertise (such as statistics and health economics) as well as popular NIHR SW events and services (for more detail about the NIHR RDS SW see below).

What type of support does BUCRU offer researchers?

We can provide advice on all aspects of preparing a grant application from the initial research idea, including:

  • identifying and refining the research question
  • designing a study
  • research methods (qualitative and quantitative)
  • identifying suitable sources of funding
  • involving patients and public in research design (the NIHR RDS SW has a public involvement fund to support public and patient involvement activities)
  • identifying potential academic, clinical, and public collaborators
  • medical statistics
  • health economics
  • impact and dissemination plans
  • grant writing skills
  • advice on common pitfalls
  • interpreting feedback from funding panels
  • support resubmissions

Which funders will BUCRU support applications to?

We’re keen to help researchers to develop applications for any national external funding bodies with an external peer review process. This includes many funders including NIHR funding schemes, research councils, charities, etc. If you’re applying for seed corn funding to do some initial work to help you to apply for larger scale funding then we can support you with this. If you’re unsure about whether we can help, please do get in touch with us.

If you’re interested in finding out more about NIHR funding and hearing top tips for getting funded, the NIHR RDS SW runs regular online Grant Applications Seminars. The next one of these popular events is on the 9th November 2021. You can find out about it here: http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/research-funding-seminar.htm  and book a place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rds-south-west-nihr-grant-applications-seminar-tickets-177003420997

Can BUCRU support researchers in designing and implementing public and patient involvement (PPI) in bids?

Absolutely, Helen Allen is our PPI lead for the unit, with Louise Ward supporting and they work closely alongside the PPI team within NIHR RDS SW as well as BU PIER.

The recent development of VOICE@BU (a BU PIER and BUCRU initiative) has helped us work closely together in supporting researchers at the university.  We can help with plain English summaries, advise on recruiting and managing patient advisory/consultation groups, assistance with public involvement funding for national peer reviewed applications and advice with involving the public in all stages of the research cycle.  We can provide advice on engaging marginalised groups in research, collaborating with community organisations, developing participatory and user-led research, and delivering user-led public involvement training.  With PPI now such a core part of funding bids we strongly recommend that you sign up as a member to VOICE and look at how the platform can help involve the public in your research.  We have a previous blog here: https://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2021/05/25/voicebu-2/ that explains VOICE including access to a recorded demonstration that we ran for researchers back in May.

How is the NIHR Research Design Service linked to BUCRU, and what advantages does this offer researchers?

The NIHR RDS-SW Research Design Service South West  is one of 10 regional services across England making up a national network of advisers. NIHR RDS advisers support health and social care professionals and academics in all aspects of developing a grant application (including research design, research methods, funding sources, involving patients and the public) to NIHR and other national peer-reviewed funding streams.

The Bournemouth hub of the NIHR Research Design Service South West sits within BUCRU and is one of four regional hubs (the others are Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth). Dr Sarah Thomas is lead for the Bournemouth hub and staff members include Helen Allen and Louise Ward.  We work regionally across the South West and this has the advantage that it gives us access to a wide variety of additional expertise (such as statistics, health economic, qualitative approaches etc.).  We work in accordance with the RDS charter.

We also offer a monthly NIHR RDS SW Project Review Committee. This offers researchers a fantastic opportunity to have their draft applications critically reviewed by a mock funding panel and detailed feedback provided. This brings the benefit of having an application looked at with ‘fresh eyes’ – the panel includes senior NIHR RDS advisers and public contributors. The committee replicates as far as possible the way a real funding committee will consider a funding application. The panel will also provide helpful feedback on an application that was submitted but not funded, to help you revise the application for a future submission. You can find out more about this service and the submission deadline dates here: http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/project_review_committee.htm

How far in advance of a deadline should researchers make contact with BUCRU?

As early as you can!  It’s never too soon, even if you only have a vague idea of a research question. We suggest you contact us ideally at least 4-6 months ahead of a submission deadline. We generally need a minimum of 2-3 months to provide good input. Obviously, it depends on the stage of your application. If it is well-developed and you just require advice on a particular aspect then likely it would need less time. Please see our charter and get in touch with us if you are unsure or have any questions.

What is the best way to make contact with BUCRU?

 You can email us at bucru@bournemouth.ac.uk or wardl@bournemouth.ac.uk or call on 01202 961939.  We are based in BG117 (gradually returning).

Website: https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/centres-institutes/bournemouth-university-clinical-research-unit

Our Twitter is: @BU_CRU

An enormous thank you to Louise Ward and Dr Samuel Nyman from BUCRU for their time to answer my questions. 

Meet the Environment Editor for The Conversation

Environment Editor for The Conversation, Will de Freitas, will hold an online training session for BU on Wednesday 27 October.

The session will run from 10.30am to 11.30am over Zoom and is open to all BU academics and PhD candidates who are interested in finding out more about working with The Conversation.

Learn how to consider the news potential of your expertise, how to look for story hooks and angles from the news, and how to write a quality story pitch to section editors.

The Conversation is a great way to share research and informed comment on topical issues. Academics work with editors to write pieces, which can then be republished via a creative commons license.

Since we first partnered with The Conversation, articles by BU authors have had over 7.5 million reads and been republished by the likes of The iMetro, and the Washington Post.

Book your place via Eventbrite

With the COP26 climate change conference on the horizon, insights around how to protect and preserve our environment and deal with our changing climate will be high on the news agenda.

A limited number of 20-minute one-to-one sessions with Will are available from 11.30am – 1pm on Wednesday 27 October, to discuss environment-related story ideas. To request a place, please contact newsdesk@bournemouth.ac.uk.

New Look Research Application Development Timeline

New Look Timeline!

The Research Development & Support RKE Application timeline is your ultimate guide to applying for external research and knowledge-exchange funding, and it’s been given a brand new look.

The timeline guides you through all the necessary steps, procedures and processes involved, including navigating through all the requirements of the internal quality approvals, costing preparations, legal and finances approvals, faculty approvals, etc.

The timeline also provides helpful guidance in the time needed in preparing and finalising external funding applications, taking you through initial planning, the submission preparation processes, legal and finance approval processes and to the submission to funder process.

You can also find useful links and information, as well as your Funding Development Team contacts on this timeline document.

Please click on this link to access this useful guidance document in its jazzy new format.

If you have any queries, please contact RDS.

Introducing the “Doctoral College Outstanding Contribution Awards”!

 

Recognising the contributions to postgraduate research by our PGR students, academics and professional staff

The Doctoral College are excited to announce the launch of our “Doctoral College Outstanding Contribution Awards”! 

These awards recognise the outstanding contributions to postgraduate research at BU by any PGR, academic or professional staff member. They can be nominated throughout the year by any member of the postgraduate research community to anyone that they feel is exceptional, has exceeded expectations, and has had a positive impact on the postgraduate research at BU.

Eligibility

You can nominate anyone involved in postgraduate research at Bournemouth University to receive an award certificate. There is no award criteria, as long as the submission falls within the guidelines, whoever you’ve selected will receive a Doctoral College “Outstanding Contribution Award”!

How to nominate

We’ve made it really easy for you to nominate someone for a Doctoral College “Outstanding Contribution Award” – it’s just a short online nomination form!

NCPQSW’s New Mental Capacity Toolkit Launch 2021!

A lovely day by the river Stour on Friday 24th saw around 40 delegates and Bournemouth University staff come together to celebrate the launch of the National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work’s new Mental Capacity Toolkit- mentalcapacitytoolkit.co.uk.

Funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, the toolkit aims to provide easily accessible learning materials and information for nurses and other professionals and is a web-based tool which can be accessed wherever a professional has access to the internet.

The project team, led by Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, Director of the NCPQSW and the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and Principal Investigator Dr Sally Lee, undertook an 18-month long research project investigating the issues that professionals encounter in using the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and what could help to increase knowledge and understanding of the legislation and practice requirements.

The day started with an introduction into the NCPQSW and Centre for Seldom Heard Voices wider work and resources by Professor Fenge before Mike Lyne, Programme Lead for the MCA 2005 at BU and a member of the project team took delegates through the context of past and current mental capacity work at BU with a short tour of future developments. Dr Lee and Dr Debbie Slate then introduced delegates to the research themes and the detail of the project.

Dr Mel Hughes, co-director of the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and Stevie Corbin-Clarke from the project team followed by discussing a project that they have been working on with the charity National Voices, looking at how the introduction of remote service models during the Covid-19 pandemic has affected vulnerable people and those without internet access.

After a light lunch and a warmup quiz, Emily Rosenorn-Lanng introduced the online toolkit and encouraged delegates to log on and have a “play”, and to provide the project team with immediate feedback. Comments included, “I like the visual aspect of the tool” and “I really like the reflective nature of the tool and the questions it asks” and “the quizzes are great!”

Suggestions for further developments were also made with the addition of a search function being a particular desire, which the project team hope to be able to provide this week. Another item on the wish list was the ability to print out a certificate of completion for CPD purposes. The toolkit is very much a work in progress and will be added to over the course of the next few months. The project team are happy to receive feedback and suggestions via the “contact us” details on the NCPQSW website. The toolkit can be accessed at mentalcapacitytoolkit.co.uk.

Here are some example pages of what is included in the tool: