Tagged / collaborative research

Creative & Digital Economy Theme

I’d like to update colleagues on the Digital Hub HEIF-funded project which runs in its current format to the end of July. Picking up on an earlier post by John Oliver of the Media School, the Hub is currently providing a lead on this important theme across the university with colleagues from the School of Tourism, Media School, DEC, Applied Sciences and the Busines School involved – it is by any definition a cross-university project. There have already been several tangible outputs:

  • The Hub has just secured £70k of funding for three projects related to digital tourism and online consumer behaviour – two of these projects are a collaboration between Dr Philip Alford (School of Tourism) and Dr Jacqui Taylor (DEC) and are inter-discplinary projects involving psychology and digital marketing (in a tourism context);
  • The Digital Hub website is up and running with the current objective of building a community of experts around the digital theme;
  • The Hub has also embraced social media and has both a Facebook page and a Twitter feed (LinkedIn is under development);
  • The Hub has two events planned – both aimed at external organisations (businesses, charities, public sector): A Digital Dinner which will be an invitation-only event designed to showcase our expertise around this theme; a Digital Day event on the 19th July at Kimmeridge House which, although showcasing our expertise, will be more of a consultative event and an opportunity for us to listen to what organisations’ needs are around the CDE theme. After the keynotes the central value-added proposition of the event is to feature breakout seminars where Digital Theme leaders will present but also use them as an opportunity to engage with organisations.
  • Both events feature Tiffany St James as a keynote speaker. Tiffany is currently retained by Microsoft, The Guardian, Channel 4 and built the world’s first social media laboratory as a managed service for Euro RSCG London, one of the UK’s top integrated advertising agencies. She is a Special Advisor to the British Interactive Media Association and Advisor to the Speaker of the House of Commons. And as a bonus she is a BU graduate! This will give the Digital Hub at Bournemouth University great profile and form a positive association.

If you’re interested in being involved the BU digital community then send me an email (Philip Alford:  palford@bournemouth.ac.uk)

Vice-Chancellor’s Award: Research/Enterprise Project of the Year

The Design Simulation Research Centre (DSRC) in the School of DEC won the Vice-Chancellor’s award for the best research/enterprise project. The research, led by Prof Siamak Noroozi, Dr Philip Sewell and Bryce Dyer, is detailed below.

Members of the DSRC have used the results of previous research, funded by EPSRC and the medical charity REMEDI, to develop a research collaboration with Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd, the UKs leading prosthetics supplier.  This has resulted in the team being awarded an EPSRC CASE Award (£86k) to design and develop a ‘Smart Socket’ to provide lower-limb amputees with increased mobility and improved quality of life.  This collaboration has also led to the development of research to evaluate the performance of prostheses used by athletes in elite sport.

The underlying technology developed has other applications in civil, aerospace and marine engineering resulting in the initiation of two research projects with BAE Systems (PhD matched-funding – £26k and an EPSRC CASE Award – £95k).

IP rights have been negotiated with both companies meaning that a proportion of the income generated form any products developed will come to BU.

The research into the ‘smart socket’ and prosthetics fit has seen widespread public interest as the socket will help soldiers returning to active duty who had been injured in combat.  This has resulted in the following publications in the international press:
– Soldiers could get back to active duty with the help of a ‘smart’ prosthesis” was published in the Guardian, January 2011.
– Ahhh…Comfort! UK Research Takes Next Generation “Smart Limb” to New Level” was published in the International Magazine OandP Edge (Vol. 9, No. 5), May 2010.
– Amputee mobility fix is socket science” was published in the Engineer, February 2010.

The parallel stream of research in the ethical use of sports prostheses saw one of its researchers invited to join the International Paralympic Commitee Sports Equipment Working Group. This advises on legislation of equipment used by athletes at the Paralympic Games. Along with this, invitations in this area resulted in several keynote speeches on the centre’s research at international conferences in both Germany and Spain during 2010.  The team won the research prize at the Paralympics GB National Conference based on this research.

The findings from both projects and the resultant innovations will inform an area which has seen little attention historically.  As a result of this research the team was nominated for ‘Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards in 2010.

The research into prosthetics fit and the smart socket will potentially transfer into widespread practitioner health practise through Blatchford’s 30 UK prosthetic centres. As a result this will influence how amputees are rehabilitated both from treatment within the NHS but also specialised private clinics such as Headley Court which addresses military personnel both retired or seeking return to service.

The research into the prostheses in sport has resulted in across school collaboration between DEC and the School of Tourism. This relationship investigated novel ways of assessing amputee motion. One of the researchers was invited to join a working group within the International Paralympic Committee which will help inform the sports stakeholders and the wider community ahead of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Congratulations to the Design Simulation Research Centre! 😀

Vice-Chancellor’s Award: Collaborative Research Project

Dr Richard Shipway (School of Tourism) won the Vice-Chancellor’s award for the best collaborative research project for his ESRC-funded project – The Sport Tourism Opportunities for Research Mobility and International Networking Group (STORMING) Initiative.

The grant award formed part of the ESRC’s ‘International Training and Networking Opportunities Programme’. The project supported seventeen early career researchers across eleven higher education institutions throughout the UK, through the provision of a series of international networking opportunities for emerging researchers with a commitment to supporting and further developing sport tourism research. All aspects of the delivery, organisation and external leveraging of the project were managed by Richard. The project has delivered a series of international research outputs and positioned the School of Tourism at the heart of emerging research in this area. Richard has also maximised opportunities from this project, including an invitation to serve on the ESRC Peer Review College, reviewing grant applications in the social sciences.

Richard received the award for having made a substantial impact in collaborative working within BU, and securing external funding to create an innovative research network involving internal colleagues and external institutions. The research undertaken by the network has led to high impact outputs.

Congratulations Richard! 😀

Vice-Chancellor’s Awards – research project winners!

The Vice-Chancellor’s Awards took place last night and the winner’s of the two research awards were:

Collaborative research / enterprise project of the year: Dr Richard Shipway from the School of Tourism

Research / enterprise project of the year: Design Simulation Research Centre led by Professor Siamak Noroozi from the School of Design, Engineering & Computing

Congratulations to all staff involved! 😀

We will be featuring both of the award winners in future blog posts!

Using Skype to collaborate!

Skype is a VoIP (voice over IP) application to enables users to collaborate via a computer interface by calling one another. To use Skype you need to download an install a client application which enables your PC to work as a telephone. You can then make free calls to other Skype users on the network via your PC, regardless of location.

The benefits for collaboration via Skype rather than conventional telephone calls are:

  • longer and more frequent interactions
  • free phone calls to other Skype users via computers
  • you can record and archive conversations and interview notes
  • you can engage in multiuser conversations
  • you can make podcasts to share research with others

For information on using Skype check out the Skype website.

If you have used Skype before, comment on this post to let others know about your experiences!

Social Capital Events at BU

Aimed at all BU Academics (other colleagues welcome), this is a great opportunity to engage with a topic which crosses academic disciplines and to meet colleagues from across the University.

The theme of these events is the role of universities in building social capital, whether at regional, national or international level. By ‘social capital’ we mean the resources in a society which underpin social cohesion and inclusiveness. More cohesive societies with high social capital are likely to be more economically successful as well as politically stable.

Universities are or should be key institutions in enabling the growth of social capital, for example by generating and testing ideas for its enhancement, monitoring and supporting activities intended to increase it, and analysing examples of its decline or growth. Some of this will happen as a direct consequence of their educational missions and of research dissemination. However, much more could be achieved by universities through deliberate and strategic initiatives to engage with external communities.

A number of leading academics will be visiting BU to share their knowledge and expertise in this area:

  • The work of the Institute of Community Cohesion in relation to the HE Sector
    Professor Ted Cantle (Institute of Community Cohesion)
    Thursday 16 June 2011, 11.00-12.30, K101, Talbot Campus 
  • Engagement with Thames Gateway Communities
    Dr. Iain MacRury (University of East London)
    Tuesday 21 June 2011, 12.00-13.30, Student Hall, Talbot Campus
  • Research meets Local Theatre
    Professor Stephen Coleman (University of Leeds)
    Friday 24 June 2011, 12.00-13.30, PG19, Talbot Campus

See the Blog events calendar for details. For booking or information, please email Staff Development.

ESRC knowledge exchange opportunities

ESRC logoThe ESRC has announced that the next Knowledge Exchange call will go live on the 26 April 2011 will will be open until the 14 June 2011.

There will be two schemes – the Follow on Fund scheme and the new Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme which is an amalgamation of all of the previous KE scheme, i.e. placements and KE small grants. The new scheme allows applicants to apply for a number of activities in one proposal, up to £100k, and it is hoped this will encourage applicants to think creatively about KE/impact and the best mechanisms for achieving these. The scheme is intended as a complement to the Pathways to Impact.

The call is aimed at social science researchers at all stages of their career and at organisations in the business, public and civil society sectors, with the intention of encouraging dialogue and collaboration between these groups.

Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme

This is a new flexible scheme that provides funding for knowledge exchange activities at all stages of the research life-cycle and is intended as a complement to Pathways to Impact.

The scheme provides the opportunity to apply for funding for knowledge exchange activities at any stage of the research lifecycle, and is aimed  at maximising the impact of social science research outside  academia.    The scheme replaces the ESRC Placement Fellowships (all sectors) and Knowledge Exchange Small Grants schemes.

The flexibility built into the scheme is intended to encourage applicants to think creatively about knowledge exchange, and applications are welcomed for either a single activity or a combination of activities; be it setting up a network to help inform the development of a  research proposal, arranging an academic placement with a voluntary or business organisation, or developing  tools such as podcasts and videos aimed at communicating the results of research to non-academic audiences. Some examples of knowledge exchange activities can be found below.

The Follow on Fund Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to provide funding for additional knowledge exchange and impact generating activities to follow on from a specific piece of substantial research that is drawing to an end or has recently finished.

This scheme provides the same flexibility as the Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme, and applications for either a single activity, or a combination of activities are welcomed. Follow on funding should be thought of as an extension and complement to the Pathways to Impact section of a research grant.  Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the format of the knowledge exchange, and to involve research users from the earliest stages of developing the proposal.

Further information is available from the ESRC website: http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/collaboration/knowledge-exchange/opportunities/index.aspx

If you are interested in applying to one of these schemes, please contact CRE Operations who will happy to support your application.

Using Facebook to collaborate

facebookAs a social networking tool, Facebook provides an interface for groups of people to to meet one another, communicate, store details about each other, and publish information about themselves in the form of a profile.

Facebook can be used as an academic collaboration tool for:

  • identifying potential collaborators
  • posting photos and files to share with others and inviting others to comment on them
  • commenting on other people’s photos and files
  • engaging in one-to-one private conversations
  • engaging in many-to-many conversations
  • creating private and public spaces (groups) for themed discussions

Facebook has been set up to suggest to users links and people they may know or be interested in, based on their interests, common goals, friends, etc. It is these serendipitous connections that help Facebook bridge the gap from social networking tool to academic collaboration tool.

BU Research Group, FacebookBU has recently set up the BU Research Group as a private Facebook group. This is a closed group that only members of BU staff can join. As such this provides a collaborative e-working environment for BU staff to:

1. discuss research ideas safe in the knowledge that all discussions will only be visible by other group members, i.e. BU staff only
2. make contact with one another, to search for one another, to identify colleagues with particular skill sets, etc.

You can also use Facebook to set up your own private collaborative work space for themed discussions (for example to discuss ideas for a multidisciplinary bid) – you can select who to invite (this could be anyone, providing they have a Facebook account) and only those who are members of the group will be able to access the shared information.

Setting up a private group is really easy, you just need to:

  • log in to your account in Facebook
  • from your News Feed page, click on ‘Create Group’ on the left hand menu
  • a pop-up will open asking you to enter the name of the Group and to select from your friends list who should be invited to join the group
  • ensure the privacy is set to ‘closed’ to ensure that only those invited to be members of the group can access the information
  • Facebook will then send the invites and your private group space has been set up

A number of guides have been published about how researchers can use social networking tools to collaborate. The best two we are aware of are:

RIN logoSocial Media: A guide for researchers, published by the Research Information Network in February 2011

Collaboration Tools, published by Educause Learning Initiative in August 2008networking

Using Google Docs to collaborate on documents

Google Docs logoGoogle Docs is an online tool that enables collaborators to work in a synchronous environment on a single document. Rather than passing a document between authors, Google Docs allows authors at different physical locations to work together on the same document in real time. Changes made to the document can be tracked and attributed.

So what does this actually mean? What does Google Docs do? There a is a rather nice explanation of this on the Google Docs Help site:

“Google Docs enables multiple people in different locations to collaborate simultaneously on the same doc from any computer with Internet access. For example, Alice and Meredith are working on a project together, and they need to write a document, keep track of their work in a spreadsheet, and create a presentation and a drawing to share with other people involved in the project. Alice lives in New York, and Meredith, in Los Angeles. When Alice makes changes to the document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing, Meredith can see them in real time and respond to them immediately. Both of them work on the same docs, so there’s no need to go back and forth, comparing and consolidating individual files.” (Source page)

Sounds fabulous! And with Google Docs you can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. You can start a document in Office and then transfer it to Google Docs for collaborative editing. In addition, documents are saved to the cloud meaning that you can access them from anywhere with an Internet connection – no more faffing about with saving documents to pen drives or emailing documents!

Google Docs is free to sign up to; access is via a Google account.

You can keep up to date with enhancements to Google Docs via their blog.

If you’re already using Google Docs then let us know by commenting on this post!

RCUK delivery plan published

RCUK logoLast week Research Councils UK (RCUK) published its new delivery plan. The plan sets out the programme of collective activities for the period 2011-2015, building on the strategic objectives set out in the RCUK Strategic Vision.

The collective work that the Research Councils do as RCUK will cover two broad areas: delivering excellence with impact and enhancing efficiency.

The RCUK programme, detailed in the Delivery Plan, contributes to:

  • Co-ordinating multidisciplinary research to address societal challenges
  • Maximising the impact of the research funded by Research Councils
  • Supporting research in the international context
  • Ensuring a continued pipeline of highly skilled researchers for the sustained health of the research base, and for wider economic and societal benefit
  • Engaging the public with the research.

Collaboration and multidisciplinary research will continue to be supported through the six cross-Council themes:

Research Councils will also work collectively to both improve the efficiency of their own operations and drive enhanced efficiency in the wider research base.

For further information read the full RCUK Delivery Plan

Employee wellbeing consultancy package offered to health-conscious businesses

typical workplace

The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) awarded by HEFCE to English HEIs as an annual block grant to support the development of a pervasive enterpreneurial environment through sustained engagement in enterprise activities. Prof Steve Ersser and Dr Ann Hemingway (HSC) were internally awarded HEIF-4 funding to collaborate with academics across BU to develop a consultancy package to promote wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace, building on the success of the cross-School Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life (CeWQoL). We caught up with Project Manager Dr Ann Hemingway to find out how the project is going…

The funding is to enable BU to develop a multi-dimensional consultancy package to help businesses improve the wellbeing of their employees.

“Organisations are more dependent than ever before on well-trained, highly qualified and motivated staff,” said Dr Ann Hemingway. “60% of adult waking hours are spent at work, yet 175 million working days are lost to illness, so organisations need to tackle head-on issues around absenteeism but also sickness presenteeism – employees still turning up for work despite ill health and complaints that can so often result in future sickness absence.”

Dr Hemingway continued: “Our research on workforce health and wellbeing has enabled us to achieve a new understanding of health at work which encompasses physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing and the social determinants of health.”

CeWQol has received £250,000 from the University’s HEIF) grant to support commercial and public sector firms and charity organisations in their quest to be recognised as healthy workplaces – and achieve formal accreditation through external agencies such as Investors in People and the Royal Society for Public Health.

The package focuses on wellbeing and humanisation – a term being championed by the University (building on the work of Prof Kate Galvin and Prof Les Todres) around the importance of people-centred processes that support wellbeing and the concern with helping employees feel valued.

Organisations will have the unique opportunity to draw on the University’s wide-ranging research expertise from across all the schools in the university. This includes human resources management (recruitment and retention), occupational health and safety, healthier communities (nutrition, exercise and sport), and the design of working environments and stress alleviation.

As such the project involves five academic schools – Health and Social Care; Business School; Design, Engineering and Computing; Media School; and Applied Sciences – and the BU Wellbeing Enterprise Network in collaboration with the Centre for Practice Development and the Centre for Qualitative Research.

As part of the grant BU has developed a Collaborative Research Space at the Lansdowne campus in which staff can engage in collaborative activity and deliver consultancy training for external organisations.

“What we are offering organisations is our multi-disciplinary expertise to help them organise their work, their environment, and the communication and social opportunities for their staff.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the wellbeing and humanisation in the workplace consultancy package should contact Dr Ann Hemingway at BU’s Centre for Wellbeing and Quality of Life on 01202 962796 or aheming@bournemouth.ac.uk.teamwork

Bournemouth University staff involved in the project are: Professor Steven Ersser; Dr Ann Hemingway; Dr Paul Stevens; Dr Fiona Cowdell; Professor Les Todres; Professor Kate Galvin; Mr Clive Andrewes; Professor Yannis Georgellis; Professor Thomas Lange; Dr Eloise Carr; Professor John Edwards; Mr Joe Flintham; Dr John Hallam; Associate Professor Heather Hartwell; Dr Sarah Hean; Dr Ian Jones; Dr Elizabeth Norton; Ms Julie Robson; and Colin Hewitt Bell. 

For further information please see project page on the CeWQoL website.

links for 2011-03-31

Two exciting reports from the Research Information Network:

Join the BU Research Group on Facebook!

facebookAs well as the recently launched BU Research Blog, BU Research has established a Facebook group to allow those of you on Facebook to have a private shared area to discuss research!

The BU Research group is a closed Facebook group which only BU members of staff can join.

The purpose of the BU Research group is to provide a collaborative working environment for BU staff to:

  • discuss research ideas safe in the knowledge that all discussions will only be visible by other group members, i.e. BU staff only
  • make contact with one another, to search for one another, to identify colleagues with particular skill sets, etc.

To get started, join the group and post a message to the wall!

We aim to use the BU Research group on Facebook to promote research opportunities for multidisciplinary calls, such as joint Research Council calls.

Enjoy making use of the site and please encourage your BU colleagues to join!

Let us know what you think about the group by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

“Blogging is using a new medium for what it is good for – connecting and interacting” (George Siemens)

“Facebook is a social networking website — a gathering spot, to connect with your friends and with your friends friends. Facebook allows you to make new connections who share a common interest, expanding your personal network” (Anon)

What is a KTP?

KTPHave you ever wondered what a KTP is, how it works and how you could get involved? Then wonder no more! Dr Martyn Polkinghorne demystifies the elusive KTPs!

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are partly Government funded and aim to help businesses absorb and benefit from the knowledge/expertise residing within UK Universities and Colleges. The rationale behind each KTP is the formation of a 3-way partnership between a ‘Business’ partner, a ‘Knowledge’ partner and a ‘Graduate’ partner that leads to genuine and sustainable benefits for all involved.

BU has undertaken Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (including the previous Teaching Company Scheme) for 22 years during which time we have run approximately 90 projects that have brought in over £9 million of enterprise income.

When funding is agreed, a Graduate is employed by the University, but based full-time at the organisation to deliver the project. Approx. 1/2 day of specialist academic effort is provided to support the project and drive it forward. Although normally with a business partner, KTPs can sometimes also be run with social enterprises and public sector bodies.

The project budget pays for the Graduate, the Academic support and related training, travel and equipment. Even with the Government’s funding KTP is not a cheap solution, but for the right project it can provide the external partner with excellent value for money.KTP diagram

The major sponsor of KTP remains the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which funds approx 50% of all projects. Both the TSB, and the other minor sponsors (Research Councils, Regional Development Agencies, Government Departments, ERDF etc) have strict priorities for the project sectors and organisational types that they wish to support.

Potential projects must address the funding criteria of one of the sponsors and be able to demonstrate high levels of innovation, impact and challenge.

Recently completed KTPs include a fantastic project with Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm Park in which Steven Richards from the School of Tourism helped the company to develop and implement a new marketing strategy which increased visitor numbers to the tourist attraction, and helped to safeguard the future of the organisation. Further examples of KTP case studies can be accessed here.

If you want to find out more about KTPs or discuss an idea for a potential KTP then contact Martyn Polkinghorne.

Further information can be found on the BU KTP webpages or the national KTP website.