Tagged / collaborative research

Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) Events and Services

BUCRU incorporates the Dorset Office of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service – South West (RDS-SW). This means that in addition to the support outlined in previous blogs, we can also provide access to the following:

RDS Grant application workshop.

This workshop is going to be held at Bournemouth University on the 29th February 2012 (http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/grant_workshop.htm). Although the official deadline for applying has recently passed, it is worth contacting us to see if there are any remaining places. The workshop will also be held in other locations in the South-West region in the near future.

This is a one-day workshop for researchers who are developing proposals with the intention of applying for a grant. The workshop does not provide detailed training in research methodology; rather it more generally covers the full range of issues inherent in developing a successful grant application. It will be of relevance to researchers applying to any of the major health research funders, but particularly the NIHR funding schemes.

Researchers will need to send in advance the latest draft of their research proposal. As a minimum they should have a plan for a project but, ideally, a worked up proposal, perhaps even one that has been previously rejected. All proposals will receive detailed written feedback from the RDS team.

Topics include

  • The application as a marketing document, selling the topic, selling the method, and selling the team;
  • The balanced team;
  • Clarity of description and explanation;
  • Feasibility issues;
  • Identifying and avoiding potential pitfalls

 

RDS Residential Research Retreat

The Residential Research Retreat (http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/rrr_home.htm) provides an opportunity for research teams to develop high quality health related research proposals suitable for submission to national peer-reviewed funding schemes. The aim of the Retreat is to provide the environment and support to promote rapid progress in developing proposals over a relatively short time period.

This Research Retreat is open to health professionals and academics working within the South West. Applications to attend the Retreat should be submitted by a team of three people with varied skills. Applications are reviewed competitively and places awarded to the most promising team proposals. The deadline for the next Research Retreat has passed, but it is anticipated that applications will be invited again later in the year.  

At the retreat participants are supported by a range of experts while developing their research proposal. They work intensively on their proposal, while learning how to maximise its chances for successfully securing a grant.

In addition, the Residential Research Retreat helps participants develop the key skills needed to conduct research in a clinical setting as well as nurturing presentation skills and giving them the confidence to tackle research problems. 

 

RDS Scientific Committee

The RDS Scientific Committee (http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/scientific_committee.htm) provides an excellent opportunity for researchers in the south-west to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before it is sent to a funding body. The Committee brings the benefit of seeing the proposal with “fresh eyes”, replicating as far as possible the way the real funding committee will consider the application. Committee members include senior research consultants who have considerable experience of obtaining research funding, resulting in comprehensive comments and advice fed back.

Committee meetings take place approximately 9 times per year. To submit a study for review at the meeting, study paperwork must be provided to the Committee via BUCRU two weeks prior to the meeting date, and preferably a couple of months before the intended funding deadline.

 

Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education (CoPMRE) Annual Symposium

In addition to events aimed at supporting the development of grant applications we also host an event geared towards dissemination. The CoPMRE Annual Symposium will be held on the 11th September 2012 at the Bournemouth University Talbot Campus. These successful annual conferences have been running for the past nine years and have featured themes such as ‘Professionalism and Collaboration’, ’Research Innovation’ and ‘Interprofessional Learning’. This year’s theme will be on using ‘Social media techniques in healthcare research and education’.  The conference is open to all healthcare professionals and academics.  More information will be posted on our website in due course and you will be able to register online nearer the time.  For further information on the symposium please contact Audrey Dixon, Conference Manager (adixon@bournemouth.ac.uk ).

Contact us: For further information about, and access to, the Grant applications workshop, the Residential Research Retreat and the Scientific Committee please contact:

Louise Ward (administrator):

Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit

R505 Royal London House

Christchurch Road

Bournemouth BH1 3LT

BUCRU@bournemouth.ac.uk

Tel: 01202 961939

http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/bucru/

ESRC Knowledge Exchange Opportunities

ESRC logoThe ESRC has announced two new calls as part of its Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme

The scheme exists to enable researchers to work with individuals and organisations in the private, public and civil society sectors. Knowledge exchange can involve a range of methods but is ultimately about sharing and applying good ideas, research results, experiences and engagement skills. The ESRC fund and manage a range of schemes to support collaborative projects and create a dialogue between researchers and individuals/organisations that have the potential to benefit from social science research.

The two calls that have been announced are:

 – the Follow on Fund scheme

 – the Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme

The Knowledge Exchange call is open from 1 September until 27 October 2011 and 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.

Future calls are scheduled as follows:

  • 12 December 2011 – 6 February 2012
  • 9 April 2012 – 4 June 2012
  • 20 August 2012 – 1 October 2012

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.

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

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.

Excellent BU Research Highlighted in New Report

Universities Week What's the Big Idea? 13-19 June 2011

Big Ideas for the Future

Thursday’s theme is Big Ideas for the Future and a research project being undertaken by Prof Alan Fyall and Dr Heather Hartwell has been highlighted in a new report out today.  The report produced by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK (UUK) called Big Ideas for the Future looks at 100 ground breaking pieces of research from all fields, including science, social sciences, engineering, and the arts and the humanities, that is taking place in UK higher education at the moment and what it will mean for us in 20 years time.  The report is narrated and backed by high-profile celebrity academics such as Professor Lord Robert Winston, Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Iain Stewart.

The BU research team are exploring the relationship of co-locating a tourism and public health strategy, in particular examining the positioning of seaside towns in Southern England.  The Big Ideas for the Future Submission prepared by the team and containing more information on the research is available by clicking the link.

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