Tagged / COVID-19

EVENT: Returning to Sport Sustainably Post-Covid

The Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) invites you to join us at our lunchtime seminar, “Returning to Sport Sustainably Post-Covid”. The seminar is taking place on Wednesday 7 July, between midday and 1.30pm.

The event, which is being held in conjunction with BASIS (the British Association for Sustainable Sport), aims to bring together practitioners and academics working in sport & sustainability, to discuss key issues and best practice as we emerge from lockdown.

The seminar is an excellent opportunity for BU staff to engage with those working in industry, in one of BU’s Strategic Investment Areas – Sustainability.

Programme:

12.00   Introduction: Sport and Sustainability Research – Raf Nicholson (Bournemouth University)

12.10   Building Back Better: The BASIS White Paper – Russell Seymour (CEO of BASIS)

12.25   Strategies to Ensure the Sustainability of Women’s Sport – Beth Clarkson (University of Portsmouth) and Keith Parry (Bournemouth University)

12.40   Returning to Action – Leigh Thompson (Head of Policy, Sport and Recreation Alliance)

12.55   Roundtable Discussion: Returning to Sport Sustainably Post-Covid

 

The Zoom link for the seminar is here: https://bournemouth-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/89306375276?pwd=SWJSay80QTl3V256eWk2N3JhMUtmUT09

 

For any queries, contact Dr Raf Nicholson – rnicholson@bournemouth.ac.uk

New COVID-19 publication by BU academics

Congratulations to FHSS’s Prof. Jane Murphy and Victoria Lawrence on the publication of their study ‘A UK survey of nutritional care pathways for patients with COVID‐19 prior to and post‐hospital stay’ in the Journal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics [1].
This study examined the development of care pathways by UK dietitians to manage the post‐hospital nutritional care of patients following COVID‐19 infection and the evaluation of these pathways. Of the responses, 51% reported developing or adapting a pathway for COVID‐19 infection and 54% planned to undertake evaluation of their pathway. Despite challenges encountered, dietitians have responded rapidly and adapted to new ways of working.  The paper is Open Access and co-authored with colleagues from the University of Plymouth, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (in London), University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Glasgow & Clyde, and Imperial College London.

 

Congratulations!
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
CMMPH

 

Reference:

  1. Lawrence, V., Hickson, M., Weekes, C.E., Julian, A., Frost, G., Murphy, J. (2021) ‘A UK survey of nutritional care pathways for patients with COVID‐19 prior to and post‐hospital stayJournal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics [Online first 12 May 2021]

5 films made in lockdown; innovation and experimentation during Covid-19

Co-creation for Screened and Heard; 5 films made in lockdown

Screened and Heard, headed up by Annie East with Dr Sam Iwowo, is a collection of five short films produced by women in lockdown who set themselves a challenge during the pandemic to tell a story, learn new skills and explore new ideas. Provoked initially by a newspaper article about women’s research dropping during lockdown whilst men’s increased, this group response was not only about the final films but about the process and support given to enable these women, who each had different caring responsibilities, the opportunity to have a voice and complete a project under the complex conditions that the pandemic presented. Annie East and Dr Samantha Iwowo plan to use the films as a springboard to further research areas. Below is a Q&A with the editor, alumnus Owen Trett BA Television Production Class of 2020.

Fig. 1 Owen BATV graduate working on Dr Samantha Iwowo’s film ‘In Zoom We Trust’. Photo: Owen Trett

Why did you want to get involved with Screened and Heard?

Screened and Heard was a great opportunity to take part in after graduating from Bournemouth University. I believe that taking part in a project that focused on showcasing the voices of women filmmakers during the lockdown of 2020 was extremely beneficial to the industry.

What involvement did you have with each film?

I ensured that each film was the highest quality it could be in. Due to the circumstances, most filmmakers were limited in their choices of equipment. I made sure that whether the film was recorded on a DSLR, phone, or webcam, that each film was tidied up and treated equally as if recorded on industry-standard equipment.

I was then in control of the detailed edit for most of the films. It was a great way of improving my editing skills and working with a variety of different formats and visions.  My graduate project was recorded entirely through Skype and influenced by the 2018 Aneesh Chaganty film “Searching”, so I applied these skills from my graduate film to the edit of Screened and Heard.

A year on what do you think about the films?

It’s been interesting to see the direction that the film and TV industry has headed in going into 2021. I feel that all early lockdown content, like “Staged” (BBC) for example, has a very grounded aesthetic compared to pre-lockdown content. Seeing content like this, of actors at home recording pieces to camera, as having an authenticity to it.

I feel that the films showcased in Screened and Heard have a similar vibe, this sort of authentic look to them is hard to replicate outside of the context of Covid. “Working from Home” for example, dealing with themes of lockdown relationships and home-schooling, I feel that we will take a lot of these grounded concepts and continue to use them throughout the future of TV / film storytelling.

What was it like working on an project based on a true story about bereavement during Covid 2020? (In Zoom We Trust)

I feel privileged to be able to work on a project that dealt with such a raw and personal topic. I think that, because the content dealt with quite a sensitive subject, there was a lot of pressure to make sure that it was edited correctly, in a manner that was respectful.

Samantha (Iwowo) really has an amazing directorial vision, and allowed me to use creative techniques that I hadn’t used in this format before. I was lucky to be able to work with her on this project, and I’m glad that she had a positive response to the edit.

How has being involved with Screened and Heard helped you as you graduated and went to look for work in the UK film and TV industry?

Trying to find work during a pandemic was not the easiest process in the world. However, working on the Screened and Heard projects really helped boost my portfolio. it showed that as an industry worker, I had the ability to overcome limitations and adapt to complicated situations.

In early 2021 I was offered a job working from home as a Junior Video Editor for the video games company Sumo Digital.

Anything else you would like to comment on?

I loved my time at BU, I met some of the most amazing and talented students from both the BATV and BA Film courses. The staff were some of the most supportive tutors that I have ever had the pleasure of being taught by. A lot of practitioners within the media industry do argue that university isn’t needed for a media career, and I would like to respectfully disagree. Those three years at BU allowed me to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be, and created a network of friends and colleagues that I will continue to use throughout my career. Although my time at BU was cut short by the pandemic, I would not have traded in those years for anything else, and if you gave me the chance to do it all again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

 

UK COVID-19 research passes one million participants

Please see below for an update from the National Institute for Health Research.


More than one million participants have now taken part in COVID-19 research across the UK.

NIHR data shows that a total of 1,075,000 participants have taken part in COVID-19 research, across more than 180 studies. Of these, more than 100 studies were funded by the NIHR, amounting to more than £108 million given to dedicated COVID-19 research.

This milestone has been achieved across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by members of the public, NHS doctors and nurses, NIHR research staff and researchers, regulators, life science companies, research funders and policy makers.

Their efforts have enabled world-leading research into therapeutics such as dexamethasone and tocilizumab and delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Platform studies such as RECOVERYPRINCIPLE and REMAP-CAP have all made a significant contribution to the global understanding of COVID-19.

These discoveries have significantly improved outcomes for people who get the virus, especially those most at risk of becoming severely unwell and hospitalised.

On Monday 15 March, the NIHR and NHS will be launching the #ResearchVsCovid ‘thank you’ campaign to celebrate the efforts of participants, researchers and healthcare professionals for their involvement in COVID-19 research.

The campaign kicks off with a series of video thank yous to participants, researchers and NHS staff. These celebratory videos will feature England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof. Chris Whitty and NHS England Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and co-lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), said:

“Reaching one million participants in COVID-19 research shows the impressive selflessness of people across the UK who have volunteered to take part. This research has led to vaccines, better treatments and improved care. A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in, led or enabled the research.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said:

“During the darkness of this pandemic, NHS clinical researchers, UK scientists and one million volunteer patients have together helped illuminate a more hopeful path for humanity.

“Thanks to their remarkable and selfless work, they have made unique and decisive contributions to therapies and vaccines for our shared global fight against Covid-19. It is amazing to consider that more than one million people in this country who have selflessly volunteered to participate in our research will themselves help save over a million lives worldwide.”

Find out more about the COVID-19 research people have helped to make happen.

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/uk-covid-19-research-passes-one-million-participants/27215?utm_source=twitter-research&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=covid&utm_content=1millionnews

New Select Committee Inquiries

Select committee inquiries launched since 1 March:  

Covid-19 and the criminal law | Justice Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Friday 9th April 2021

Local government and the path to net zero | Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Friday 30th April 2021

Tech and the future of UK foreign policy | Foreign Affairs Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Tuesday 11th May 2021

Armed Forces Bill 2019 – 21| Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill | Deadline for evidence submission: Sunday 21st March 2021  

Role of batteries and fuel cells in achieving Net Zero | Science and Technology Committee (Lords) | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 29th March 2021  

Concussion in sport | Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Tuesday 30th March 2021  

Long term funding of adult social care | Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: 16th April 2021 

More inquiries: all inquiries currently accepting evidence are found here. 

Why should I engage? Submitting evidence to a select committee can lead to further engagement, such as an invite to give oral evidence. Your submission will be published on the Committee webpage. Your insights may inform the Committee’s conclusions or recommendations it makes to the Government. Find out more about why to engage with Parliament hereAnd find more on engagement for impact here

Support: Please engage with BU’s policy team before submitting evidence to a select committee. We can provide guidance and templates for colleagues who are new to responding to inquiries and we read through a substantial draft before all colleagues submit their response. Contact us – policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

Ask the Experts – Briefing on COVID-19

The Parliamentary & Scientific Committee are holding an Ask the Experts briefing on COVID-19 on Monday 15 March from  5.30pm to 7.00pm on Zoom – organised jointly by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.

This briefing event is the next in a series of ‘ask the experts’ online briefings and Q&A sessions on COVID-19 organised for Parliamentarians by the National Academies.

As all four nations of the UK begin to ease restrictions, this session will bring together a panel of experts who can answer your questions about:

  • New variants of COVID-19 and our ability to respond to them
    Professor Judith Breuer FMedSci, Director of Infection and Immunity, Professor of Virology at UCL, who sits on the BSI immunology advisory group  
  • Vaccine passports
    Professor Melinda Mills MBE: Fellow of the British Academy, Director, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, University of Oxford & Nuffield College and co-author of Twelve criteria for the development and use of COVID-19 vaccine passports 
  • How we can make spaces COVID-safe and the limitations of this
    Dr Shaun Fitzgerald FREng Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Sustainable Buildings at the University of Cambridge and member of the SAGE Environmental Working Group
  • Long COVID
    Professor Charles Bangham FMedSci FRS: Professor of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine; Co-Director of the Institute of Infection, Imperial College London

    The event is free for BU colleagues. Please contact policy@bournemouth.ac.uk to find out how to book your place.

 

Other Forthcoming  Meetings and Events 

Monday 12th April 2021 at 5.30pm, Online 

The UK National Quantum Programme  

In partnership with Innovate UK 

 

Monday 7th June 2021, at 5.30pm, Online  

Natural Capital Initiative  

 

Monday 5th July 2021,  at 5.30pm, Online  

Climate Change    

In partnership with the  Met Office    

 

BU project explores potential power of constructive journalism in Covid-19 aftermath

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the news media have played an instrumental role in providing the latest updates and information. An increasing number of people, however, have sometimes avoided the news, finding negative coverage has a detrimental effect on their mood and wellbeing.

A new collaborative project will explore how constructive journalism – also known as solutions journalism – can increase audience engagement and empower communities to tackle the problems they face in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Constructive journalism breaks from traditional journalism’s focus on reporting social problems to also feature how people respond to problems, in order to help audiences to feel more motivated, inspired and empowered to deal with challenges.

Early evidence shows that this style of journalism also leads to greater engagement, with articles read more deeply and shared more widely.

The project is being undertaken by Bournemouth University (BU) in conjunction with Newsquest, one of the UK’s largest publishers of local and regional newspapers, with training and consultancy provided by the US-based Solutions Journalism Network, and the Association of British Science Writers.

Dr An Nguyen, Associate Professor of Journalism at BU, is leading the project, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Covid-19 rapid-response research scheme.

He said: “Traditionally, due to their professional dedication to the watchdog role in monitoring and holding powers to account, journalists focus disproportionately on social problems and pay inadequate attention to the ways to solve problems.

“Over time, it has become a bit too much of ‘doom and gloom’ news, which can lead to many people becoming mentally fatigued, desensitised or feeling helpless or powerless, because they can’t see a way out or don’t know how they could take action.

“Constructive journalism does not shy away from the crucial watchdog function but aims to offer a balance, moving away from focusing on problems to also exploring how problems are tackled and solved.”

Dr Nguyen added that the pandemic offered an opportunity to deploy constructive journalism in a large scale to help the UK’s local and regional communities and investigate the potential of constructive journalism in helping the public to deal with the social issues of our time.

“People will face a lot of problems during the transition out of lockdown and will try to find ways to limit the damages and adapt to the ‘new normal’,” he said.

“There is an increasing recognition among news industry that constructive journalism can be valuable. This project is an opportunity to test this concept in the context of one of the biggest issues the world is facing and see whether journalism can help people.”

Journalists across the UK, including journalism students, will receive training to produce constructive journalism through series of online training webinars. About 50 of them will then be mentored on a one-to-one basis by journalists with experience in constructive journalism to produce solutions-focused news for Newsquest’s local and regional titles.

It is hoped that at least 1,000 pieces of constructive journalism will be produced in relation to Covid-19 recovery during this campaign. A new professional network of UK constructive journalists will also be established and launched at the end of the project.

A research team in BU’s Department of Communication and Journalism will conduct in-depth interviews, surveys and experiments with local news audiences, including community leaders, to investigate how solutions-focused news can affect the mental health and wellbeing of the public, as well as civic engagement.

“We are trying to explore what type of constructive journalism would work, what sort of effects it has on audiences and how it might or might not help them to be more optimistic, motivated, inspired or empowered to take actions,” said Dr Nguyen.

The team will also conduct a detailed analysis of the solutions-focused news output from the campaign as well as interview the mentored journalists and their editors about their experience.

Dr Nguyen said: “We’ll look at the content output and see what sort of reporting techniques are used, what are effective and how they engage people throughout the post-lockdown stage of the pandemic.

“We will feed our research findings back to the participating news outlets so that they are informed of the effect of their campaign and, where necessary, what might be done to improve things.”

BU research explores the use of comic artistry and storytelling in public health information

Research at Bournemouth University is looking at the effectiveness of comic artistry and storytelling in the sharing of public health messaging.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) the project will catalogue and analyse comic-style public health graphics, specifically those created during the Covid-19 pandemic, and seek to make recommendations on how the comic medium can be effective at delivering public health messaging to help drive behaviour change.

The idea for the research began as Dr Anna Feigenbaum, the lead researcher, and her colleagues Alexandra Alberda and William Proctor shared clever comic-style graphics with one another that had been created and shared on social media about Covid-19. These single, sharable, comic-style graphics blend the artistry and storytelling of comics with the Covid-19 messaging we have seen throughout the pandemic.

Dr Feigenbaum, an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, said, “What we saw from these comic graphics was the way that the artistry and storytelling combined to share messages in a more emotive and interesting way. This built on work we were already doing on how public health messaging could utilise this medium to make their own messaging more engaging and even lead to better behavioural outcomes.”

José Blàzquez, the project’s postdoctoral researcher, has started work in collating over 1200 examples of comic-style Covid-19 messaging with the aim of understanding what makes them so compelling, and how this genre of communication could be further used to create what the project’s research illustrator, Alexandra Alberda, calls an “accessible, approachable and relatable” style of messaging when communicating important public health messages. The team aims to build a database that archives these comics, including information about their artistic and storytelling techniques, audience engagement, circulation, and what implications they may have for the sharing of health messaging in the future.

The final outcomes will be shared as a report and an illustrated set of good practice guidelines. Results will also be shared in the team’s edited collection Comics in the Time of COVID-19 and a special journal issue for Comics Grid. It is hoped these guidelines will inform public health communicators, as well as graphic designers and educators.

The team has even created their own Covid-19 web-comics, published by Nightingale on Medium. https://medium.com/nightingale/covid-19-data-literacy-is-for-everyone-46120b58cec9

Dr Feigenbaum continued, “Data comics are on a real upsurge as people look to make sense of the world through data visualisation, and there are some wonderful examples from amateur artists who have been incredibly clever and creative in taking what are, essentially, public health messages, and turning them into emotive comic-style stories.

“These sharable comic graphics are engaging and informed – there is a lot to learn here about the way we make sense of the world and how this genre could help us to see the communication of important messages in a whole new light. What we’re researching now could be seen as best practice in years to come.”

In addition to the main team of Dr. Feigenbaum, Dr. Blàzquez and Alexandra Alberda, this research will be conducted with Co-investigators Dr. Billy Proctor, Dr. Sam Goodman and Professor Julian McDougall, along with advisory partners Public Health Dorset, the Graphic Medicine Collective, Information Literacy Group and Comics Grid.

More information about the project will soon be available at www.covidcomics.org.

Two new COVID-19 papers in FHSS

Today FHSS Prof. Jonathan Parker published an article (online first) on structural discrimination and abuse associated with COVID-19 in care homes in The Journal of Adult Protection [1].  Whilst Dr. Preeti Mahato, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and FHSS Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada had a COVID-19 paper published in the Journal of Midwifery Association of Nepal (JMAN) in late-January 2021 [2], although an electronic copy only reached their email inbox today.

 

  1. Parker, J. (2021) Structural discrimination and abuse: COVID-19 and people in care homes in England and Wales, The Journal of Adult Protection, Online ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-12-2020-0050
  2. Tamang, P., Mahato, P., Simkhada P., Bissell, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2021) Pregnancy, Childbirth, Breastfeeding and Coronavirus Disease: What is known so far? Journal of Midwifery Association of Nepal (JMAN) 2(1): 96-101.

Research and the role of the university…

Research is a priority for Bournemouth University and we are proud of the contribution our research makes to society. Ten years ago, I wrote a blog post on the role of universities in the 21st century and the importance of research, inspired by an article in the Guardian – What are universities for? As the pandemic is changing the very fabric and structure of our lives, it seems timely to revisit this and to reflect on what the role of a university such as BU should be during and after the pandemic and the importance of research in this. There will be a handful of blog posts this week exploring this topic.

The role of a university has been debated since the nineteenth century. In 1852 Cardinal Newman wrote that the sole function of a university was to teach universal knowledge, embodying the idea of ‘the learning university’. Newman believed that knowledge is valuable and important for its own sake and not just for its perceived use to society (this is quite different from the current thinking on the importance of research impact, public accountability and the value of research findings to society at large, issues which I imagine Newman would have thought of as irrelevant!). There was not a great deal in Newman’s work about the importance of research in a university, but research was beginning to play the starring role in mainland Europe where Prussian education minister Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote of the concept of ‘the research university’ and eventually set up the Humboldt University of Berlin. After the Napoleonic Wars, von Humboldt’s view was that the research university was a tool for national rebuilding through the prioritisation of graduate research over undergraduate teaching. This model soon became the blueprint for the rest of Europe, the United States and Japan. Arguably the Russell Group universities are today still structured in a similar way to that envisaged by von Humboldt two hundred years ago.

Moving into the twentieth century and we come across American educationalist Abraham Flexner who wrote of ‘the modern university’. In Flexner’s view universities had a responsibility to pursue excellence, with academic staff being able to seamlessly move from the research lab to the classroom and back again. The pursuit of excellence features in many universities strategies and the union and seamless movement between research and education sounds like an early version of BU’s Fusion strategy.

Taking into consideration the complexity of universities in the twenty first century, all of these views are a little too simplistic. Today’s universities have much broader remits and a much greater role in society. Peter McCaffery notes that universities now regularly encompass four roles:

  • Finishing school (the last stage of general education)
  • Professional school (the training of elite workers)
  • Knowledge factory (the production of science, technology and ideology)
  • Cultural institution (the expression of our individual and collective sense of being)

The Government’s R&D Roadmap (published June 2020) sets out the UK’s vision and ambition for science, research and innovation. It recognises universities as a critical part of the R&D infrastructure, particularly in regard to advancing knowledge and knowledge creation and ensuring that research gets into the public domain and has social and economic benefits. This is a significant remit for universities but makes them exciting places to work.

A quick look at the mission statements of a handful of UK universities indicates a common purpose based on the views of all of the aforementioned scholars:

  • “…to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence” (Cambridge)
  • “[The University] contributes to society through scholarship and research, by developing creative graduates and through its cultural, social, economic and environmental activities” (Bristol)
  • “…to be a world-leading, research-excellent, educationally outstanding university, driven by creativity and curiosity, which fulfils its social, cultural and economic obligations to Cardiff, Wales, the UK and the world” (Cardiff)

The creation and sharing of new knowledge and new ideas has become the principal purpose of many modern universities. In Northern and Western Europe and North America the university has become the key producer of knowledge (through research) and the key sharer of knowledge (through teaching).  Professor Eric Thomas (former Vice-Chancellor at University of Bristol) claimed that universities are the knowledge engines of our society having produced the vast majority of society’s breakthroughs and innovations, such as: the computer, the web, the structure of DNA, Dolly the Sheep, and the fibre optic cable. We can now add the COVID vaccine to that list, as developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Where would we be without these breakthroughs and would they have come about so quickly without university research?

Being part of an environment in which knowledge creation thrives creates a unique and amazing learning experience for students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. BU’s focus on the Fusion of research, education and professional practice enables the creation of this type of environment through the continuous and valuable exchange of knowledge.

In Wednesday’s blog post we’ll look at the role of universities post-pandemic recovery.

Parliamentary & Scientific Committee – online events

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee have announced their forthcoming 2021 seminars. BU staff are eligible to attend without charge.

Please contact policy@bournemouth.ac.uk if you wish to book a place on any of these events.

  • Monday 1st February – What does the UK-EU deal mean for science? in partnership with the Royal Society, 11:00-12:10, online. 
  • Monday 15th February – Sector Deals for SME’s at 5.30pm, online.
  • Monday 8th March – STEM for Britain 11.00am – 1.00pm, online
  • Monday 15th March – Covid 19 update in partnership with the Royal Society, 5.30pm, online 
  • Tuesday 16th March – Annual General Meeting 12.30pm, online  
  • Monday 12th April – The UK National Quantum Programme in partnership with Innovate UK at 5.30pm, online 
  • Monday 7th June – Natural Capital Initiative  at 5.30pm, online
  • Monday 5th July – Climate Change in partnership with the Met Office at 5.30pm, online  

   

  

 

Department of Health and Social Care statement on prioritisation of research studies

Please find below a statement from the Department of Health & Social Care. Please bear this in mind when in correspondence with NHS Trusts and if planning a clinical research study.
If you have any queries, please contact Suzy Wignall, Clinical Governance Advisor, in the first instance.


Statement from DHSC 

We recognise that at the current time those working in many NHS sites are under huge pressure as the number of COVID-19 cases and admissions to hospitals continue to rise and frontline clinical staff are unable to work due to sickness.

While we have a small number of proven treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, more are needed to reduce transmission, reduce the number of patients that require hospitalisation and to improve outcomes for those that do. It is therefore critical that at this challenging time we continue to recruit participants to our urgent public health (UPH) studies. As such I am writing to confirm that the current levels of prioritisation for research studies, set out within the Restart Framework still apply, as follows:

  • Level 1a (Top Priority) – COVID-19 UPH vaccine and prophylactic studies (as prioritised by the Vaccines Task Force and agreed by Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy CMO) and platform therapeutics trials (currently RECOVERY/RECOVERY +; PRINCIPLE; REMAP CAP).
  • Level 1b – Other COVID-19 UPH studies
  • Level 2 – Studies where the research protocol includes an urgent treatment or intervention without which patients could come to harm. These might be studies that provide access to potentially life preserving or life-extending treatment not otherwise available to the patient.
  • Level 3 – All other studies (including COVID-19 studies not in Level 1a or 1b).

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of the NIHR guidance for a second wave of covid 19 activity (https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/nihr-guidance-for-a-second-wave-of-covid-19-activity/25837).This guidance still applies and, as outlined, states that the deployment of staff funded through an NIHR Infrastructure award or funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) to front line duties should only occur in exceptional circumstances.

The deployment of clinical academic staff should be undertaken within the guidelines issued by a working group convened by the UK Clinical Academic Training Forum and the Conference of Postgraduate Medical  Deans of the UK. Where NHS Trusts consider they need to redeploy staff to support the frontline this should only be done to support clinical activity during the emergency phase of the pandemic and we would expect them to return to their R&D roles as soon as possible, once the pressures on the system reduce.

As indicated by the Restart Framework, at the current time, we need to continue prioritise our support for the most urgent COVID-19 research as part of the response to tackle the pandemic. At the same time we need to ensure we continue to try and maintain support to deliver non-COVID studies currently open on the portfolio, particularly those within Level 2. A system-wide Recovery, Resilience and Growth programme has been established which brings together the key partners across the clinical research ecosystem to ensure the UK is well-positioned to take a coordinated national approach to achieving the recovery of the UK’s clinical research delivery and restore a full, diverse and active research portfolio as soon as practicable.

COVID-19 in Qatar

Peer reviewing is the backbone of academic publishing. It is this peer review process to ensure that papers/publications have been vetted scientifically prior to publication by experts in the field, i.e. one’s peers. However, the process is not without its problems. One such problems is the delay in academic publishing. For example, a few days ago we published a substantive editorial on COVID-19 in Qater [1].  When we submitted this in July 2020 the information in our editorial was very up to date, and it still was when the Qatar Medical Journal accepted it on 26th July 2020.  Unfortunately, with all the incredibly rapid developments in vaccine development, approval and roll out some of the paper now reads like ‘historial data’.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

Reference:

  1. van Teijlingen, E.R., Sathian, B., Simkhada, P., Banerjee, I. (2021) COVID-19 in Qatar: Ways forward in public health & treatment, Qatar Medical Journal 2020(38): 1-8 https://doi.org/10.5339/qmj.2020.38

Updated guidance for RKE activities in this lockdown period

The Government announced that new national restrictions came into force across England on 5th January to curb the spread of COVID-19 and that these will remain in place until at least late February 2021. In a similar way to the first lockdown, during this time you must not leave your home except for permitted reasons. Only essential activity will continue on-campus (further details to follow). Research remains a priority for BU and we have put processes in place to ensure time-critical research requiring access to campus facilities can continue. However, the fundamental message remains Stay at Home if you can.

Research on-campus: All on-campus research activity has been suspended temporarily. However, researchers and research students undertaking time-critical research which cannot be undertaken from home and who require access to specialist facilities, resources and equipment on-campus for their work can make a request to their Faculty to access the campus during this lockdown period. You will need to contact your Faculty Operations Team to request access, even if you have received approval previously. On-campus research activities involving face-to-face contact with participants are unlikely to be permitted during this lockdown period. It is recommended that before requesting permission to proceed with research on-campus, you read the latest government guidance on labs and research facilities.

Research off-campus and outside of the home: Research and knowledge exchange activities which take place off-campus and outside of the home should be reviewed in light of the latest government guidance on essential work. If these activities can be undertaken in a compliant way, the risk assessment should be updated and approved by the relevant Deputy Dean (Research & Professional Practice) and Faculty Operations Team. If the research cannot be undertaken under the new lockdown conditions, it should be paused until late February 2021. For colleagues that have previously completed the return to research process and/or undertaking research in the context of COVID-19 process, and have received a letter stating that they can undertake research off-campus, this permission is now paused until restrictions are lifted. If you have reviewed the activities, still wish to proceed and have the approval from your Deputy Dean (Research & Professional Practice) and relevant partner approvals, please email RDSProjectAdmin@bournemouth.ac.uk and an appropriate letter will be issued. It is recommended that before requesting permission to proceed with research activities, that you read the latest government guidance on research. This is important as although BU’s campuses have been made COVID-19 secure enabling you to continue to come into work, this cannot be guaranteed in off-campus locations, and therefore careful consideration needs to be taken as to the feasibility of research proceeding between now and late February 2021.

Further information:

Read the Government’s latest information on universities and the COVID restrictions here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950367/Students_returning_to_and_starting_higher_education_in_Spring_Term_2021.pdf

New interdisciplinary COVID-19 paper

An evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach on risk zoning, personal and transmission risk assessment in near real-time, and risk communication would support the optimized decisions to minimize the impact of coronavirus on our lives. This interdisciplinary paper [1], pubished today in Scientific Reports, offers a framework to assess the individual and regional risk of COVID-19 along with risk communication tools and mechanisms. Relative risk scores on a scale of 100 represent the integrated risk of influential factors. The personal risk model incorporates age, exposure history, symptoms, local risk and existing health condition, whereas regional risk is computed through the actual cases of COVID-19, public health risk factors, socioeconomic condition of the region, and immigration statistics. A web application tool (http://www.covira.info) has been developed, where anyone can assess their risk and find the guided information links primarily for Nepal. This study provides regional risk for Nepal, but the framework is scalable across the world. 

The authors comprised researchers from the University of Bristol, Science Hub (Nepal), University of the West of England, Public Health Perspective Nepal, Nepal Open University, Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Huddersfield and Bournemouth University.

 

Reference:

  1. Parajuli, R.R., Mishra, B., Banstola, A. Multidisciplinary approach to COVID-19 risk communication: a framework and tool for individual and regional risk assessment. 21650 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78779-0