Tagged / BU research

One man’s experience of the Research Proposal Review Service

A short while ago Richard Berger, Head of Postgraduate Research for the Media School, submitted a proposal to the Research Proposal Review Service.  This is his story…..

I recently used RPRS for the first time. It’s a system that’s been running for a while, and before then I used to informally ask colleagues to look over bids I was in the process of putting together. This time however, I used the RPRS for a recent Expression of Interest. Previously, I had always been in a rush to get bids in and felt that I wouldn’t have time to go through a formal peer-review process. But I was wrong.

Despite quite a tight deadline and the fact that this took place in August – when many colleagues and support staff are on leave – the service was very prompt and extremely diligent. I was asked to select some designated reviewers from the Media School, and in a week, I received two comprehensive reviews of my EOI. The comments were extremely useful, and I incorporated most of them into my document. It was clear that both reviewers, and Caroline at the Centre for Research and Enterprise, had read the quite complex (and lengthy!) call for expressions-of-interest – which much have taken some time.

I’ll have to wait and see, but I do feel the process was very worthwhile. Bid-writing is often quite a lonely process, and it’s nice to know that there is now a great deal of support at BU, even in the height of summer. It’s quite difficult to get the balance right between being objective and critical, and being supportive; I think the team at CRE have got it just about right.

So, in future, I will still show work-in-progress to colleagues and friends at BU, but I’ll use the RPRS too, as it’s more formal and doesn’t take as long as you perhaps think it might. Also, your colleagues may not be as critical as RPRS no doubt will be. Being successful at getting research funding will benefit everyone who works at BU in the long-run, as the reputation of our institution increases. So, why not try for yourselves?

To find out more about the RPRS and how we can support your proposal,  please contact Caroline O’Kane

Find out about Dr Samuel Nyman’s research into the psychosocial aspects of falls and their prevention in older people

Research by Age UK estimates that falls amongst older people in the UK could be costing the NHS in excess of £4.6m a day, with up to one in three people over 65 falling each year. Falls account for over 50% of hospital admissions among the over 70s, with around 14,000 older people dying annually in the UK after a fall. Evidence suggests that if older people regularly take part in exercise specially designed to improve strength and balance then their risk of falls can be cut by up to 55%. Dr Samuel Nyman in the Psychology Research Group (DEC) undertakes research primarily focused on the psychosocial aspects of falls and their prevention in older people, and has a particular interest in helping older people become physically active to prevent falls. His work has focused on how internet-based falls prevention advice can be made more motivating and inspiring for older people, and he was invited as a guest speaker to present his research at Arthritis Research UK’s Musculoskeletal Educators Conference in June 2011.

Samuel is part of a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, led by Prof Marcus Ormerod at the University of Salford, who have been awarded funding from the MRC-led cross-council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme to conduct a year-long pilot study called: “Go Far (Going Outdoors: Falls, Ageing and Resilience)”. Go Far starts in January 2012 and will investigate the role of the outdoor environment in shaping health inequalities, explore older people’s experiences of falling outdoors, develop and test tools and techniques to evaluate the relationship between at-risk people and the outdoor environment, and develop a clear road map for future cross-disciplinary research in this area. The project will also involve experts from Age UK, the UK Health and Safety Laboratory, and Toronto Rehab.

Working with Dr Claire Ballinger (University of Southampton) and Prof Judith Phillips (Swansea University), Samuel’s contribution will be to explore through focus groups older people’s perceptions of the key risk factors for falling in the outdoor environment. This aspect of the project will lead to an understanding of the environmental risk factors which have yet to be accounted for in the current evidence base. Overall, the project will develop a greater understanding of the many factors involved in outdoor falls and create practical tools which will significantly help older people’s health and wellbeing.

Prior to this project Samuel undertook a systematic review of older people’s participation in falls prevention interventions. Earlier this year Samuel presented this research at a symposium in Italy for the European Congress of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, which he also co-chaired. He will also present this work as one of the six selected oral presentations at the forthcoming 12th International Conference on Falls and Postural Stability to be held in Manchester on 9 September 2011. The work has also been published as two journal articles in Age and Ageing, a leading international geriatrics journal:

Samuel is currently developing a website to use with older people later this year with the aim of identifying further (with the use of psychological theory) what are the best ways of communicating falls prevention advice to older people to facilitate their ability to continue to lead healthy, independent, and active lifestyles.

Come and meet the Research Development Unit! THIS WEEK!

This Thursday between 11am-1pm we will be commandeering a space in the Atrium and available to talk to all of you lovely people about Research!

If you want to know about the new BU internal research funds (the Open Access Publication Fund and the Research Development Fund), the internal peer review service (RPRS), UK, EU and international funding opportunities, the REF, BU’s new research management system, the changes we’re making to RED, Research Professional, the emerging BU Research Themes, publishing and research outputs, in fact anything at all to do with research then now is your chance!

Drop by and have an informal chat with us. There might even be  a cake in it for you 🙂

Research is cool – come and find out how to get involved!

Bag that Bid

Richard Brooks and Katherine Timms, Officers from CRE Operations, recently attended a training session called Total Proposal run by Aron Cronin, director of GIC limited. GIC limited is an international management and business consultancy specialising in business development and training services. 

The course gave an insight into the key areas of consideration when writing a proposal. The course attendees were a mix of university academics, managers and administrators. 

The key learning point for the day that Aron wanted people to take away was that proposals need to be tailored. Too often he has seen proposals recycled with no thought for the current funding body’s requirements, and proposals have even been submitted with other funder’s name – an easy way to ruin any chance of securing funding. 

Key points from the training:

 Proposals need…

  • To be responsive in terms of the approach, timescales, and deliverables.
  • To be compliant in terms of: administration, legal, and technical requirements.
  • To provide a workable offer – the apportionment of work must be flexible and phased appropriately.
  • To stress benefits over features:
  • Be a selling document – ‘why us?’
  • Be structured
  • Contain clear expressions
  • Hit the ‘hot buttons’ on the evaluation grid/table
  • Give an indication of the two-way traffic we would expect – there needs to be a tangible benefit to both parties
  • Indicate our expectations

Project stages…

  • Pre-planning stages, it is important to realise that this stage is a project in its own right and requires:
    • a plan;
    • an action list; and
    • a timetable.
  • Proposal process requires:
    • a key issues meeting;
    • ownership at a senior level (authorised signatories) – investment in risk is essential;
    • CVs
      • should be tailored
      • should contain a ‘golden paragraph
      • should be written in the context of the team the strengths you bring
    • Proposal
      • should be tailored
      • should link directly to the ‘job’
      • should be linked to the CVs
    • Finance
      • should capture all elements
      • should allow for secure risks
    • Quality assurance – use the following tools to help ensure this:
      • checklists
      • call over (read out loud/ to other people)

Aron left us with some helpful techniques; these can be found in the uploaded course material (see link below): 

  • helpful hints and winning tricks
  • story boarding
  • word consistency grids
  • blue checklists

(\\Lytchett\IntraStore\CRKT\Public\Research & Enterprise\Conference & Workshops handouts\15-06-11 Training Gateway Total Proposal)

If you would like any further information, email me or Richard

Funding success for Dr Lee Ann Fenge

Dr Lee-Ann Fenge, Associate Dean Postgraduate Students at Bournemouth University’s School of Health and Social Care has secured nearly £10K from the Big Lottery Fund for the project, ‘Developing Practice with Older Lesbians and Gay Men – A Method Deck’ . 

The project follows on directly from work accomplished in the ‘Gay and Pleasant Land? Research Project’ carried out at the School at Bournemouth over the past three years and led by Dr. Kip Jones in which Dr. Fenge acted as Community Organiser.

A Method deck consists of a range of colourful playing cards which include exercises, suggestions for activities and brain-storming ideas for practitioners and their clients.  The Method Deck will develop, produce and distribute this educational training tool to promote understanding of the needs and experiences of older lesbians and gay men amongst their peers, communities and service providers within UK society. The deck of cards will include information and activities to promote good practice with older people from minority sexual groups. The deck of cards will be designed to inspire and empower local communities, community organizations and health and social care practitioners to review and develop their practice with such groups. This will encourage an inclusive approach to practice, promoting recognition of the diversity within the ageing population.

The content of the Method Deck will be particularly informed by the findings from two recent research projects at HSC: The Gay and Grey Project (2006) funded by Big Lottery led by Dr. Fenge and The Gay and Pleasant Land? Project (2009-2012), funded by the UK Research Councils under the umbrella of the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme. The Method Deck will support practitioners to reflect on their own practice, the agency context and the wider structural issues which influence the experiences of older lesbians and gay men in their local communities. Development of the deck will begin shortly with the input of the project’s community partners.

Thanks to the Social Innovation Lab for Kent for their earlier advice on their project and the use of their Method Deck in this photo.

Come and meet the RDU!

On Thursday 8 September between 11am-1pm we will be commandeering a space in the Atrium and available to talk to all of you lovely people about Research!

If you want to know about the new BU internal research funds (the Open Access Publication Fund and the Research Development Fund), the internal peer review service (RPRS), UK, EU and international funding opportunities, the REF, BU’s new research management system, the changes we’re making to RED, Research Professional, the emerging BU Research Themes, publishing and research outputs, in fact anything at all to do with research then now is your chance! Drop by and have an informal chat with us. There might even be  a cake in it for you 🙂

Research is cool – come and find out how to get involved!

Launch of the BU Research Development Fund

It’s a beautiful summer’s day and to celebrate the new academic year the Research Development Unit has some exciting news – the launch of the BU Research Development Fund!

The Research Development Fund (RDF) is open to BU academics and will provide selective support to research initiatives considered to be of strategic importance to BU. There are two strands to the RDF: i) Small Grants Scheme (up to £2k per application); and ii) Large Collaborative Grants Scheme (up to £25k per annum, must include two or more Schools). It is envisaged that each year approximately 20 small grants will be awarded and one large collaborative grant.

Awards will only cover direct costs (i.e. overheads and established staff costs will not be reimbursed). Applications need to include a precise breakdown of costs calculated using full economic costing (fEC) methodology – this will be calculated for you by the CRE Operations team.

All decisions on funding will be made by the University R&E Forum (UREF).

An overview of the two schemes is provided below. For further information please read the Research Development Fund Policy.

RDF – Small Grants Scheme (up to £2k per award) – There will be three competitions per annum. Academic staff wishing to apply must submit an application form to the PVC (Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation) via the RDU by the scheme deadlines:

  • 31 October 2011
  • 28 February 2012
  • 31 May 2012

Priority will be given to applications that involve staff from two or more Schools and/or those from early career researchers.

Examples of research activities covered by the RDF include:

  • Pilot projects
  • Pump-priming
  • Interview transcription
  • Fieldwork
  • Visiting major libraries, museums, other research institutions, etc.
  • Organisation of an academic conference at BU with external participants
  • Attendance at external networking events leading to collaborative research proposals
  • Meetings with external organisations to establish collaborations
  • Preparation of specialist material or data
  • Short-term Research Assistant support or replacement teaching
  • Research consumables and equipment (providing it is clear these would not normally be purchased by the School)

To apply for a Small Grant, please complete the RDF-SGS application form.

RDF – Large Collaborative Grants Scheme (up to £25k per award) – There will be one competition per annum. Academic staff wishing to apply must submit an application form to the PVC (Research, Enterprise and Internationalisation) via the RDU by the scheme deadline:

  • 1 December 2011

The RDF – Large Collaborative Grants Scheme aims to provide funding for the development of large-scale, complex, inter/multi-disciplinary collaborative research activities leading to external funding. Applications must involve academic staff from at least two BU Schools. Priority will be given to applications that meet the following criteria:

  • In line with BU’s emerging Research Themes
  • Include external organizations (particularly SMEs and/or international organizations)
  • In line with the strategic priorities of major funding bodies (such as the UK research councils, European Commission, etc)
  • Clearly beneficial to BU’s submission to REF2014

Examples of research activities covered by the RDF include:

  • Pilot projects
  • Pump-priming
  • Meeting expenses
  • Travel to proposed collaborators
  • Attendance at external networking events with the aim of expanding the network
  • Preparation of specialist material or data
  • Short-term Research Assistant support or replacement teaching
  • Consumables and equipment (providing it is clear these would not normally be purchased by the School)
  • Fees for external proposal support and review

To apply for a Large Collaborative Research Grant, please complete the RDF-LCGS application form.

BU Santander Scholarships 2011-12 – apply now!!

Santander is offering five x £5,000 research and travel grants to BU staff and students

The funds must be used for a specific project to build on or develop links with at least one university from the Santander overseas network. Trips must be taken before February 2012.

Preference will be given to applications received from postgraduate research students and early career researchers.

Funds can only be used to cover direct costs (i.e. not salary costs or overheads).

To apply complete the Santander application form and submit it by email to: researchunit@bournemouth.ac.uk.

The closing date for applications is Friday 16 September 2011.

Good luck 🙂

Internationalisation and the research process

Dr Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Professor Jonathan Parker from the School of Health and Social Care discuss some of their recent research that explores the experiences of exchange students.

Although internationalisation is much wider in reach than student exchanges it is recognised that such exchanges can play a critical part in enhancing students’ appreciation and understanding of global issues.  In this blog we describe some of our research exploring the experiences and perceptions of students undertaking an exchange and their ensuing culture shock. Accordingly, a three-year British Council PM1 2 funded research study into student mobility has provided a wealth of data on student learning in international social work placements; although this also provides some important implications for other types of international student exchanges.

BU students at a dinner hosted by Universiti Sains Penang

In respect of these particular student opportunities, the sustainable development of the placements was created through the forging of Memoranda of Understanding with two participating universities: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) in East Malaysia; and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang. The history of the two universities differ; where like BU, UNIMAS is a new university, but with a lively social science faculty, which has been home to a thriving social work programme from the institution’s inception.  USM, by contrast, is a long established, APEX status, research-intensive university, boasting the oldest academic social work provision in the country, and where social work programmes are offered at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level.

Consequently, BU social work students on international placements were able to benefit from an international support network of experienced academics working in concert for the duration of the placements, as well as receiving day-to-day support from local agency staff at the placement settings. The research element of the placements focused on the process of student learning in an unfamiliar cultural context, in which the writing of a daily log and a critical incident analysis formed the raw data collected by the students.

An analysis of data indicates that the concept of liminality – a process of moving through experiences from a status-less position to one of becoming – is useful in understanding the transitions experienced by the students and their confrontation with professional and personal values, often markedly different from their own.  These are duly reflected on in terms of the mediation of the domains of familiar and unfamiliar ‘cultures’ and disciplinary practice. Liminality was also demonstrated by an awareness, new for some, of minority status and how this was perceived in the local context. Exposure to unfamiliar norms relating to gender, religion and culture, were also experienced, where, for example, previously unquestioned assumptions relating to Islam and women were re-examined upon encountering ‘strong’ Muslim feminists.

BU Student, Gatrine Muldoon, with the indigenous family who 'adopted' her.

Other aspects of liminality were constituted through the experience of encountering alternative ideological constructs, such as that of meritocracy as opposed to equal opportunities, ‘triage’ welfare provision as opposed to universal rights, or the strongly promoted Confucian values of family self-reliance wherever possible, even under the circumstances of absolute poverty. These experiences bring the students into sharp relief with their own, often, ethnocentric values, challenging notions of diversity, acceptance and cultural norms which, when worked through, can provide a depth of cultural sensitivity important in working in the contemporary global world.

While analysis of the data continues and the nexus of collaboration has widened over time to encompass other programmes in HSC, such as the new BA Sociology and Social Policy, dilemmas of how such partnerships may be fostered for mutual benefit in terms of expectation and reciprocation are raised. This has relevance for international partnerships between institutions where, for example, significant socio-economic differentials may exist, or where institutional research and resource capacity are unequal.

The outcome of this study, however, indicates a need to theorise teaching and learning in order to more comprehensively address global and internationalisation issues within and beyond the classroom setting. This also requires ways to address ethnocentricity effectively, so often implicit in the perspectives and assumptions of individuals, even those with insight into cultural relativity. Finally, the conclusion of this study will lead to practical outcomes in terms of follow-up research to examine whether international placements enhance employment opportunities for graduates.

High flying publication for BU academic!

Dr Scott Cohen in the School of Tourism has had a paper published in the latest issue of the Annals of Tourism Research, one of the most prominent journals in the field of tourism.

The paper explores the concept of what has been termed ‘binge mobility’ or ‘binge flying’ – the notion that excessive tourism could constitute a new behavioural addition. Scott co-authored the paper with James Higham and Christina Cavaliere from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

The Annals of Tourism Research is rated a 4* journal in the Association on Business Schools‘ journal ranking list –  the ABS Journal Quality Guide – and has a Web of Science impact factor of 1.95.

In addition the paper was one of only five papers featured in Elsevier’s July 2011 Flash Alert, Elsevier’s monthly round up of the top stories in the science, health and medical journals.

You can read a copy of the paper on our institutional repository BURO.

Congratulations Scott! 😀

Changes to the Research & Enterprise Database at BU

On 18th July 2011 BU’s internal database (RED, previously known as RAKE) which stores information on the university’s research and enterprise projects will move to a new platform.  You will not be able to access the system on the 18th of July while the changes are taking place.

Academic staff can access this database to review their own record of bidding and awarded projects which can be useful for appraisals.  If you would like further details on how to use the database, please contact me at the details below.

Although some things have moved around, the database is very similar to the old version and should be simpler to navigate through.  The database can be accessed using the same link as before red.bournemouth.ac.uk .  Your login details are the same as your standard university login details.

If you have any queries please contact Susan Dowdle (sdowdle@bournemouth.ac.uk, ext 61209).

Visual Cognition at BU?

It depends how you see it process it visually!

On 8th June, several cars arrived in convoy from Southampton University  carrying approximately 25 members of the Centre for Visual Cognition.  Their aim was to meet with their colleagues in the Visual Cognition group in Psychology at Bournemouth University along with other colleagues from DEC, the Media School and HSC who also have an interest in how we process visual information. 

The research poster event was designed to provide an informal forum to ‘talk research’ with a view to forging longer-term research collaborations.  Professor Simon Liversedge, the Head of the Centre for Visual Cognition at Southampton, said, “It is great to have the opportunity to come and visit the research team here and to have the opportunity to discuss our common research interests in such a nice location.” Topics for discussion ranged from visual search in medical research, visual processing in reading, autism, face recognition and much more. 

A big thanks must go to Dr Julie Kirkby who organised the afternoon for us and we hope that this is going to be the first of a number of meetings.

If you missed this meeting and think that you may have interests in common with this group please email Julie and she will add you to our contacts list for when we next meet.

Sine McDougall

Cultural and Social Change research theme discussions

A number of colleagues from four Schools (AS, HSC, MS, ST) met on Monday 27th June to consider whether a meaningful theme, complementary to those already in development, could be defined within the broad territory of the social sciences and humanities. We had a useful discussion and the phrase ‘Cultural and social change’ was considered an appropriate theme title. The meeting decided that to produce a full prospectus for this theme we would invite any interested colleagues to contribute further inputs to it – these could be thoughts about the overall theme, or suggestions for specific elements to be within it. If you’d like to do so, please go to the latest ‘Cultural and Social Change’ post listed under the Research Themes tab – do not reply to this post.

Given the need to finalise a statement about the theme within the next month, we agreed that blog-based conversations and inputs could run until 15 July, at which point a smaller group would hopefully collate them into a generally acceptable statement which would establish the theme across at least the four Schools so far involved. 

Barry Richards

Cultural and Social Change (Barry Richards and Rosie Read)

A number of colleagues from four Schools (AS, HSC, MS, ST) met on Monday 27th June to consider whether a meaningful theme, complementary to those already in development, could be defined within the broad territory of the social sciences and humanities. We had a useful discussion around the following points:

  1. The themes are being defined as a way of presenting BU’s research externally, but may have internal effects, in promoting collaborations, inflecting research identities, etc.
  2. There will inevitably be major areas of overlap between several themes, given that all are broadly defined.
  3. Dialogue between themes in the development phase would help to clarify boundaries.
  4. The themes of ‘Creative & digital economies’ and ‘Leisure and tourism’, and also ‘Health and well-being’, were ones where overlaps and interfaces with a ‘culture&society’ one would be most obvious.
  5. Contributions to the debate about how to define a ‘culture&society’ theme had suggested that ‘history’ and ‘welfare’ were two important parameters, amongst others.
  6. In the discussion we were very aware of the need to introduce some limits to the theme, and of the possibility therefore that some ‘potential ‘members’ might not fit into the final definition of it.
  7. There was also a view that we should try to include both social scientific and more humanities-based researchers.

The proposal that the phrase ‘Cultural and social change’ might be an appropriate theme title was favourably received. While still very broad (no doubt in some contexts unhelpfully so), it puts implicit emphasis on the historical context (‘change’ being a process in time), which is important for those studying contemporary life as well as for those actually doing historical research. It would encompass researchers of different philosophical orientation, and is hospitable to agendas of social engagement (such as the social welfare vision from HSC, the commentaries on democratic culture from MS, contributions to media and cultural policy/production from MS and ST, and the perspectives on various social issues from AS). Whether the theme title can be modified to reflect explicitly this principle of engagement for social betterment remains to be seen.

The meeting decided that in order to produce a full prospectus for this theme we would invite any interested colleagues to contribute further inputs to it – building on or otherwise responding to the above – via the Research blog. These could be thoughts about the overall theme, or suggestions for specific elements to be within it. If you’d like to do so, please indicate which heading of the theme template you are addressing (summary, scope in/out, ‘big societal questions’ which the theme addresses, link to RC priorities, interlinks with other BU themes). Given the need to finalise a statement about the theme within the next month, we agreed that blog-based conversations and inputs could run until 15 July, at which point a smaller group would hopefully collate them into a generally acceptable statement which would establish the theme across at least the four Schools so far involved. Myself and Rosie Read are happy to play a part in that group; if anyone else is interested please let us know.

You can access the latest version of the scoping document for the Cultural & Society theme here:  Cultural and Social Change – July 2011

In the meantime, to help consolidate the responses so far around this theme, please note that the previous two discussion threads entitled ‘Culture and Society (Rosie Read)‘ and ‘Culture and Society (Barry Richards)‘ are now closed and all future responses related to this theme should be made to this post using the link below. Thank you.

Barry Richards

BU on the EU stage

Recent research conducted by a team in the School of Applied Sciences (ApSci) has highlighted the need for a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to environmental management and policy development.  It is a project which is well placed in BU’s movement towards research focused on societal themes and aims to establish how stakeholder values of their local environment can be used to improve the effectiveness of ecosystem management creating stronger links between citizens and policy makers.

This European collaboration is nearing completion. The Transactional Environmental Support System Project (TESS), supported by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission was coordinated by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (www.tess-project.eu) and involved several ApSci staff.  The rationale for this project had its foundations in the move towards citizen-driven environmental governance and policy development.  The aim of TESS was to provide a platform through which biodiversity information collected at a local level can be incorporated into policy development and land-use management.  Could a system of this type encourage local communities to have more involvement in collection of these important data, and a greater role in the maintenance and restoration of their local environment and ecosystem services?

The project involved partnership with 14 other institutions from 10 different European countries. The project identified what information is required by both local land users and policy makers in order to develop effective environmental policy which will benefit both biodiversity and economic development.  The results were tested through 11 local case studies which were then used to further develop the TESS portal (due to go online in the next month or so).  BU’s involvement with the project has allowed us to develop strong, collaborative relationships with a number of institutions across Europe, linking strongly with the University’s desire to become more active on the European stage. 

During the project, the ApSci team, including Prof. Adrian Newton, Dr. Kathy Hodder, Lorretta Perrella, Jennifer Birch, Elena Cantarello, Sarah Douglas, James Robins and Chris Moody, carried out a local case study within Dorset’s Frome Catchment Area.  This case study site falls within the Dorset AONB and includes a SSSI, Local Nature Reserves, National Nature Reserves and Special Areas of Conservation. We were able to incorporate local knowledge and opinion into a novel evaluation of the ecosystem services and biodiversity benefits that might be realised through implementation of SW Biodiversity Implementation Plan. Such strategies have the implicit assumption that working on a landscape-scale to develop ‘ecological networks’ should have potential to  facilitate adaption to climate change, increase ecological ‘resilience’ and  improve the UK’s ability to conform to international policy commitments, such as the Habitat Directive.  However, it is accepted that the cost of the ecological restoration required for such initiatives could be substantial and little work has been conducted on cost-benefit analysis of restoration initiatives.  The work carried out by BU for the TESS project addressed the knowledge gap surrounding the cost effectiveness of ecological restoration approaches to climate change adaptation.

We currently have a paper in review with the Journal of Applied Ecology based on this work. It shows that spatial Multi Criteria Analysis could be used to identify important ecological restoration zones based on a range of criteria, including those relating to ecosystem services, biodiversity and incorporating the values of a range of stakeholders.  This tool could be of direct value to the development of ecological networks in the UK as a climate change adaptation measure.  Such tools developed through TESS may enable future plans for ecological restoration to incorporate local stakeholder values, improving the chances of societal benefits and long-term success of the schemes.

The wider results of the TESS project were presented at a conference in May 2011, hosted by the European Parliament Intergroup at the European Parliament in Brussels.  BU was represented at the conference by one of our postdoctoral researches, Emma McKinley.

Linking Tourism and Health Initiatives

Dr Heather Hartwell considers the link between tourism and health initiatives…

Some timely news and evidence for a potential strength within our University, we have just been featured in the Big Ideas for the Future, a new report from Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK that explores the excellent research taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time.

Interestingly we were featured in the chapter ‘recreation and leisure’ where we shared some current research linking tourism and public health. The focus of our interest is about co-locating tourism and public health strategy as a means of developing an inclusive culture where the “tourist” destination is seen to enhance and promote the advancement of both physical and mental health for both tourist and local residents.

Therefore, a research stream of ‘recreation and leisure’ building on our School of Tourism reputation seems to me to be a theme that could have future significance for us, particularly when aligned to our strength in health and wellbeing.

Reminder – 5 day internal deadline for Research Councils

Just a reminder that from 1st February 2011 ULT has agreed an internal deadline of five working days prior to the published submission deadline for all Research Council bids made via the Je-S system. 

If proposals are submitted with technical errors they are either returned by the Research Council for amendment or, in the worst case scenario, the application will fail the initial Research Council sift and be rejected. These problems can easily be spotted by CRE Operations prior to final submission if they have enough time to review the application.  The new internal deadline is in line with Research Council recommendations and will allow checks to take place so that the academic content can shine and give the project the best chance of being funded!

Update on the Collaboration Tools for Academics project

This is an update on the ‘Collaboration Tools for Academics’ project that many of you will have contributed to.  The project is being run by Amina Uddin, Steve Webster, Matthew Bennett, Julie Northam, Alan Fyall, Sarah Hearn and Clive Andrews on behalf of the academic community as a whole.  The project seeks to deliver a set of useful services that have been identified by the academic/research community as the most useful  in supporting collaborative work whether it be for education or research.

A service proposal document produced by the project after several iterations is available on the I drive at “I:\CRKT\Public\Research Blog Docs\CTA Candidate Service Proposals 280411.pdf”.  It shows you the set of candidate services that the academic community suggested and explains how we got there. The final section of the document promises a survey to validate the priorities of these services, this has now been completed – thanks to those of you who took part.  The results of this survey demonstrate where there is most concern and interest in support.

Service   Weighting
Install of non-standard software   392
Moving large files externally   296
Questionnaire software   293
Blogs and Wikis   236
Guidance and advice on cloud options   222

We are currently specifying these services in detail and trying to estimate the amount of work required to deliver them in order to plan their implementation.  The project has come a long way since it started with the focus being on creating a tool to enable academics at BU to collaborate with one another more effectively, perhaps via some form of ‘facebook for academics’.  On careful analysis this requirement can be meet by existing services available within the cloud or already available at BU.  The issue was more around documentation and support for some of these services. 

We also have put a lot of emphasis on the importance of being able to find collaborators at BU – the find a colleague or expert functions.  We see these as vital to unlocking the intellectual capital at BU but they have been picked up via other projects, namely the publication management system and the new content management system for our web site.  By the early autumn the find an expert or colleague functions will be enabled allowing you to search for potential colleagues or information within BU more effectively.  The Research Ontology is critical here – effectively the keywords by which we will classify our expertise and interests – and avid readers of the blog will see that we have been consulting on this recently to get your views.