Tagged / BU research

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.

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

RDS Funding Development Briefing spotlight: British Academy Small Grants

Reminder: The RDS Funding Development Briefing spotlight will be Wednesday at 12 noon. The spotlight will be on the British Academy Small Grants.

We will cover:

  • Overview of the new schemes
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Invites for these sessions have been disseminated via your Heads of Department.

Early Career Researchers Network Meeting

We’re kicking off the new academic year with a meeting for all Early Career Researchers on

Wednesday 22nd September from 15:30 – 16:30

This is a great opportunity to get to know other researchers across BU.

 

It’s a friendly, supportive environment for raising all sorts of questions, and hearing about other’s research-related experiences, and plain networking should you be interested in interdisciplinary working.

This month we will have a discussion focused on the Research Concordat, and what it means for you as a researcher, but there will also be plenty of time for a general chat. This will be a MS Teams meeting.

If you have any queries, please contact RKEDF@bournemouth.ac.uk, or see the staff intranet page to book.

Health Research Authority – new final report requirements

Please see below for an update from the HRA –

Changes to the way you submit your final report

The Health Research Authority has implemented changes to final study reporting requirements. The changes apply to all studies across the UK which require ethics approval and which have not yet submitted a final report.

The Make It Public strategy set out our commitment to make transparency easy, make transparency the norm and make information public. We have now developed a standard dataset on research transparency which will be collected in the study final reports. Coupled with changes we have already made to help you plan at the start of a study how you will inform participants at the end, these changes are steps towards fulfilling that commitment.

In the future we will be able to see more clearly what proportion of studies are fulfilling transparency requirements, including information about study registration, publication of results, informing participants of the outcome of the study and the sharing of data and tissue (if applicable).

In standardising the information we request from you and the form for collecting this, we hope it will be easier for you to know what is expected.

If you have any questions, please email research.transparency@hra.nhs.uk

REMINDER: RDS Funding Development Briefing tomorrow – spotlight ERC

Reminder: The RDS Funding Development Briefing will be tomorrow at 12 noon. The spotlight will be on the European Research Council (ERC) funding.

We will cover:

  • Overview of the new schemes
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Invites for these sessions have been disseminated via your Heads of Department.