Tagged / Digital

UKRI want your views on ‘Digital Innovation for Development in Africa’

UK Research and Innovation are opening an online discussion platform and they want to collect thoughts and ideas to help shape research in the area of digital innovation for development across Africa.

The Digital Innovation for Development in Africa Online Platform will allow you to share your thoughts on the issues and challenges faced by people living within Africa to determine where digital solutions could lead to the biggest impacts. From undemocratic elections to infectious diseases; to lack of access to education to global warming, they want to realise the challenges faced by communities across Africa and consider the potential value digital research and innovation could bring.

The platform will also create an online community which will engage and connect local actors, researchers, entrepreneurs, charities, etc., and allow users to exchange ideas and expertise. The ideas gathered from the Digital for Development in Africa Platform will be collated and used to shape future UKRI spending activities under the Global Challenge Research Fund. Thoughts collected on the challenges and potential for digital innovation to solve these will provide recommendations for research and innovation in these areas in order to make progress in addressing these challenges.

To express your interest in joining this platform, please complete the following SmartSurvey. Expressions of interest to join the online platform will close at 16:00 BST 19th October 2018. After this, users will be selected and notified from the expressions of interest. Please note, there is a limited number of users permitted to use the online platform, therefore, by completing the survey, you will not be guaranteed an invitation to use the platform. For further enquiries, please contact GCRF@rcuk.ac.uk

Photo of the Week: Understanding Digital Immersion within Streaming and E-Sports

Digital Tethering: Understanding Digital Immersion within Streaming and E-Sports

Our Photo of the Week series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week is by Charlie Simmons, a final year undergraduate student on a BA (Hons) Business Studies with Marketing programme. This project was co-created with Dr Elvira Bolat, Senior Lecturer in Marketing in the Faculty of Management, and won a prize for the Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) co-creation awards. Charlie’s work is around digital tethering, particularly in understanding digital immersion.

Immersion is used outside of digital space as a term to measure the degree of involvement in a specific activity. Digital immersion is now a ubiquitous phenomenon that can be observed in all human activities starting with consumption of services and products as well as professional tasks. Overall academic literature, in particular business and management literature, lacks understanding of digital immersion, perhaps due to methodological challenges associated with researching this area. Using the context of e-sport, this research study revealed that in the context of digital connectivity immersion is not only a feeling but a state of mind; it causes behavioural changes in its e-sport players and keeps them habitually absorbed. At the heart of digital immersion are people, streamers (influencers) and community whom have the power to manipulate individuals’ behaviour.

At the heart of digital immersion is community; the more an individual is experiencing community and feels part of that community, the more likely they are to be immersed in the digital environment. Entertainment within content is also irrelevant to the digital immersion, which is contrary to existing research. Content allows users to escape from reality and forget about real world problems, and learning in combination with community factors found to have a strong and positive impact on digital immersion. Findings of this research have implications beyond its contextual focus, e-sports. Businesses can utilise learning, escape and community effects to improve online presence and stimulate much more meaningful engagement with a digital content.

For more information about this research, please contact Dr Elvira Bolat here.

Digital Me is an online collection of research publications/narratives within the domain of digital, written by BU academics and students. This research covers various disciplines, i.e. management and marketing, health and social science, computing and media, education and more; and spreads through various topics, i.e. digital consumption, digital business, education and digital and more. Find out more here.

HE Policy update for the w/e 6th July 2018

Fees & Funding

The Government has announced that from 2019/20 EU nationals will continue to be eligible for home fee status for undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for the full duration of their course as per current rules. Sam Gyimah said:

  • EU students, staff and researchers make an important contribution to our universities. I want that contribution to continue and am confident – given the quality of our HE sector – that it will.”

UK (home) student fees will remain frozen at £9,250 (full time) and £6,935 (part time) for 2019/20. The maximum fees for accelerated courses have not yet been confirmed. The student loan repayment threshold will remain at £25,000.  These arrangements will be laid before Parliament for confirmation in early 2019.

Meanwhile the post-18 education and funding review continues. Jane attended the Wonkhe “Proceed with Caution” event on Tuesday, and it was a lively and stimulating affair, as you will have seen if you follow @policyBU on Twitter (if you don’t, try it, we won’t sulk if you later unfollow us).

Wonkhe were live blogging during the day and you can read it here.  They have all the links to the materials referenced.

The first part of the day focussed on data and context for the discussion about fees.

  • Anna Vignoles, one of the authors of the infamous IFS report on LEO graduate earnings data that we reported on a few weeks ago, talked about what the research showed and why it was important. Anna acknowledged that the data told us something about government subsidy, might be useful to [some] students, and then more controversially, might highlight where programmes could be developed to improve employability.  It does not tell us anything about current course quality [please take note, politicians and media commentators]. Anna also pointed out that, as the data was adjusted for prior attainment, and showed socio-economic gaps in earnings after graduation means that the expansion of HE has not consistently supported social mobility.

Our thoughts: importantly on the subsidy point, there are other relevant issues – the government may decide to subsidise courses because they do, or they don’t, on average increase earnings – but they may also decide to do so because they meet a societal or economic need.  Or they might subsidise people not courses – ie choose who to subsidise not what.  Or they might of course choose which institutions to subsidise – as they do for research.

  • Andrew McGettigan gave a brilliantly clear exposition of the current accounting position for student loans and the perverse incentives for government that it creates, by hiding the true impact of the loan system on the economy – the “fiscal illusion”. To quote Wonkhe: “Accounting conventions make it look like our loan system creates a surplus – flattering the headline deficit figures. In reality, it does not. And the terms of reference of the post-18 review precludes any modification of this practice”.  

This is going to change, because the Office for National Statistics are undertaking a review, after being told off by their EU counterpart.  His main message is that this needs to be sorted out, because accounting should not drive policy – but he pointed out that an accounting change is more likely to leave the government with less, not more, money to spend on implementing the outcomes of the HE review.  That change to the repayment threshold earlier this year suddenly looks even more like a strange way to prioritise government spending on HE.

  • In one of the most through provoking sessions of the day, London Economics presented a model and then moved swiftly on to some options for the HE review. Their slides are here and are well worth a look. The  recommendations are controversial – some of this was prompted by the Diamond review of funding in Wales.
  • Up next was Philip Augar, Chair of the independent advisory panel to the review. He didn’t give much away – positively declining to answer two questions and ducking or giving very general answers to many.  Some potential leads:
    • He is very focused on simplifying the system so everyone can understand it. Or maybe improving the way it is explained so everyone can understand it.  The first would require some major change.  The second less so, it would be more about labels (graduate contribution not a loan)
    • He mentioned employers a lot. Might there be an apprenticeship levy type contribution for degrees?  He did talk about skills shortages and graduates doing non-graduate jobs, and referred to strengths – and weaknesses  – in the sector, but refused to be drawn on the latter.

What is most interesting is  what he described as his remit – to come up with some interesting options for the government to pick from.  They will be practical, realistic and simple and build on existing initiatives.  And may be ignore by a government that in March will be stuck with the outcome of the ONS review and dealing with Brexit?  The BBC review of the speech is here.  There’s another twitter thread from Rosemary Bennett of the BBC here

  • Later sessions focussed on a discussion about value for money – most of which has been well rehearsed in other contexts, but there was a good level of debate and some interesting points. Amongst them were the point that the government is with one hand telling students not to worry about student debt (because it is income contingent) and on the other hand raising concerns about responsible lending.  The squeeze on living costs and cap on maintenance loans is driving students to take out other loans for sums or to work too many hours.  The focus in the public debate on debt and interest, and on tuition fees, is unhelpful.  Living costs are the real practical day to day challenge for students –  which is why most of the panellists agreed that maintenance grants should be a priority

It does feel as there is a perfect storm coming – and while the timing might suggest that this review is headed for the filing cabinet, the costs involved will mean that something will have to be done.

Immigration – borders open for science

Sam Gyimah spoke at a science park opening on Thursday to announce a relaxation of the immigration regulations which will allow an influx of scientific talent to the UK. Gyimah stated

  • it was only the first step towards a liberalisation of visa restrictions on scientific talent amid concerns that Brexit could damage the UK’s ability to attract bright academics from overseas.

The Government coverage of the speech states the relaxation is Britain’s new unique selling point and aims to establish Britain as the ‘go-to place for science and innovation’.

The new scheme will allow non-EEA researchers, scientists and academics to reside in the UK for up to two years. It forms a new element within the Tier 5 (Government authorised exchange temporary worker) visa route. UKRI and 12 other approved research organizations (including Natural History Museum) have the ability to directly sponsor individuals to train and work in the UK.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes, stated:

  • I recognise the crucial contribution science makes to the UK economy and society and I am determined that the UK will continue to welcome leading scientific and research talent from around the world…We must have an immigration system that makes sure we can attract leading international talent and benefit from their knowledge and expertise.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will monitor this new scheme with UKRI regularly to ensure it meets the criteria for a Tier 5 scheme.

In his speech Gyimah stated:

  • “we…face a longer-term question: what should our post-Brexit economy look like? And we cannot wait till the Brexit deal is done to answer it… With the City less profitable today than it once was, and North Sea output naturally declining, the search is on for the next wave of world-leading British businesses… We need new sources of growth, and a vision of how to succeed. And we need to set a direction that will sustain us not just for the next 9 months, but for the next 30 years…The businesses of the future will be based on science, research and technology. The world is changing, and the UK needs to take advantage of this… To tackle the grand challenges our society faces, and to move up the economic league table, we need to double down on our strengths in science, technology and innovation.
  • This is partly a matter of investment. A decade ago, they idea that government investment had a role to play in fostering innovation was contentious, even controversial… investment is about much more than just public money. For every pound of public R&D in the UK, business contributes 2. And it takes more than R&D to build successful businesses. That’s why we are also working hard to create the conditions for greater long term private investment.
  • Now is the right time to ask ourselves some big questions when it comes to our public R&D investment. How can we do more to ensure our investment crowds in private money? Have we struck the right balance between funding for basic and applied research?
  • We should be proud that so many of the best and brightest from other countries choose to bring their knowledge and skills to Britain, and we should recognise that our economy is stronger for it. I don’t believe that the vote for Brexit was a vote for the UK to close ourselves off from the world.
  • We also need to make the most of our openness to ideas. We should learn from the sharp-eyed heroes of the Industrial Revolution and think not just how we commercialise our own technology, but what we can learn and borrow from the best research around the world.”

Gyimah went on:

  • “It is also time to ensure our institutions are playing the most effective role they backing innovation…Our universities are an intrinsic part of our innovation economy. Our best universities are not just powerhouses of research – they are also deeply connected to their local and national businesses, and to their community. There is an important geographical angle to consider. It is no surprise that many of the UK’s most successful publicly funded labs and institutions are in the Oxford-Cambridge-London triangle, because we rightly fund research on the basis of excellence and not political patronage, and one corollary of that is that the most successful universities have consistently punched above their weight in winning further research funding. But it is important that we recognise that, when it comes to innovation, there is life outside the Golden Triangle. Indeed, sometimes the private sector seems quicker to realise it than public research funders.
  • I want to see to N8 Alliance of Northern Universities become powerhouses of economic growth in their area, and to ensure we back innovation wherever it may be… But universities are not the only institutions that are can drive innovation. We should also consider how our regulatory systems can encourage innovation, by making sure that our rules keep up with the pace of technology and business change.”

Gyimah went on to:

  • Launch the new £10 million Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, as an integral part of the Industrial Strategy. The fund will invest in initiatives to support businesses that are bringing innovative products to market
  • Announce the Government Office for Science will work with UKRI and the Better Regulation Executive to develop standards for new technologies and their applications (to build on work for self-driving car testbeds).
  • State: “We need to consider whether we have struck the right balance between encouraging spin-outs and maximising university revenues.”

He concluded by stating: “By drawing on our national strengths of openness, entrepreneurship and strong institutions, we can make the UK a true platform for innovation. This in turn will help establish the UK’s place in the world, and our future prosperity.”

Gyimah’s speech was covered in The Times: UK opens door to gifted foreign scientists.

Mature students and cold spots

UCAS published a report into admissions patterns for mature applicants: Full report

“Research published by UCAS shows that mature students are more likely to apply to universities and colleges close to home, primarily for a limited selection of vocational subjects, and when there are fewer jobs available.  Our analysis also shows significant regional variations in entry rates to full-time higher education among mature students, and these differ notably from the patterns in entry to university among applicants of different age groups.

The report  Admissions patterns for mature applicants (5.37 MB) compares the characteristics within groups of mature students aged 21 and over, to those aged 18, applying for full-time undergraduate courses. The key findings are as follows:

  • Living at home – mature students are more likely to live at home while studying full-time, and this likelihood increases with age. Half of 21 to 25 year olds live at home while studying, compared to nearly 80% of those aged 30 and over. In comparison, 18 year olds are more likely to attend a university over an hour away from their home, with over 50% having a drive time of 70 minutes or more.
  • Vocational subject choices – mature students are typically drawn to a small range of courses, with subjects allied to medicine (including nursing), education, and social studies the most popular. As more female students typically apply for these courses, this may explain why more than 70% of mature students over the age of 31, accepted to full-time degrees, are female.
  • Entry rates by region – in 2017, for mature students aged 21 to 50, entry rates to higher education by UK country and region are highest in Scotland, followed by London. However, due to differences in age distribution across the regions, entry rates vary by region for different age groups of mature applicants, with London having the highest entry rates for those aged 36 to 50.
  • Applications are higher when the job market is weaker – there appears to be a relationship between applications and the number of job vacancies. When the number of UK employment opportunities was at its lowest, between 2009 and 2011, application rates for full-time undergraduate courses from mature students peaked. Since 2015, the number of job vacancies has increased, while application rates for full-time study have declined. This suggests mature students look to the employment market when jobs are plentiful, and apply to higher education when jobs are sparse.”

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said:

  • Mature students have different motivations, expectations, and needs compared to their younger counterparts.  Entering full-time higher education as an older student is a life-changing commitment, reflected in the focused choices many older students make to pursue highly vocational subjects.”

This was written up on Wonkhe by David Kernohan,  and reported in the Times Higher a

The same day a report was issued by IntoUniversity at a conference looking at the geography of higher education, access and participation.  Chris Millward, the Director of Fair Access and Particpation gave a speech:

So far, so not very surprising.  So what were the remedies that he proposed?

“Strategic and sustained work to:

  • engage with local communities, schools and colleges on expectations, pathways and attainment before HE
  • recognise background within admissions and support transition into HE
  • develop skills and attributes for employment and absorptive capacity for graduates in local areas”

Meanwhile the OfS is going to ensure:

“Pressure for individual universities and colleges to:

  • demonstrate continuous, year-on-year improvement through their access and participation plans by:
    • reducing the gaps in access, success and progression for underrepresented groups among their own students
    • improve practice, including through better evaluation and sustained engagement with schools from early years and with employers.

Sector-wide support for:

  • availability and use of more common and rigorous data and evidence to target and evaluate access and participation work
  • collaborative working between different universities and colleges and with schools and employers, e.g. NCOP
  • advancement and sharing of innovative and effective practice, e.g. Barriers to Student Success”

And Chris Millward also wrote a blog:

  •  ‘To ensure the benefits of higher education flow back into local economies and public services throughout the country, there need to be better opportunities and support for people who want to study close to home and later in life, as well as for young people who live on campus.
  • ‘The Office for Students is challenging higher education providers to reduce the gaps in access and outcomes for mature students through access and participation plans, which universities and colleges must have approved if they wish to charge higher tuition fees.”

We were puzzled by some of the analysis of this – which seems to imply that mature students are first deciding to go to university and then choosing a course, which happens often to be a vocational one, and happens often to be close to home.  And then of course the implication is that graduates of “vocational” courses are less well paid, see the headline story on fees and funding , and that by choosing local courses they may be choosing less good courses.  This was the line taken by Chris Parr on Research Professional.

In our view, this analysis is upside down – if mature students are choosing vocational courses, it is likely to be because they have a vocation – and have decided that they want to pursue it.  They may study locally because they may have family or other ties, or financial concerns that make it difficult to travel.  And they may choose low-tariff courses – but in some cases that may be because one of the reasons they are mature students is that they didn’t get very high grades at school but are now coming back to education.  Those local, low tariff vocational programmes may be an important means of allowing mature students with potential to gain life changing experience and qualifications that will enable them to give back to their communities as well as improve their own lives.

So the OfS focus on access, participation and outcomes is important, but once again, we need to be careful to challenge views that success is only measured in terms of entry tariffs and graduate salaries.  And too much focus on improving choice may miss the point for many mature students who can’t take advantage of the options.

Part Time Students and ELQs

As well as the decline in mature students, the decline in the numbers of part-time students has also been widely discussed as a challenge for the Post-18 review, and of course many mature students will also be part-time, so the same issues may apply.

This week the House of Lords held a debate on part-time and continuing education. Criticism for ELQs featured heavily in the debate. An ELQ (Equivalent and Lower Qualification) is when a student already holds a qualification at the same or a higher level than the programme they intend to study. A student with an ELQ cannot access student maintenance loan or tuition fee funding from the Student Loan Company – meaning they, or their employer, has to fully self-fund. There are a small number of courses that the Government considers a priority where the ELQ rule doesn’t apply and students can access student finance. Furthermore, a student with an ELQ can actually be charged above the £9,250, up to £13,000 (BU does not charge this higher fee for ELQ students).

Baroness Bakewell led a debate on part-time and continued education,  in particular the future of the Open University (OU). She said the OU’s purpose was to promote greater equality of opportunity and widen access to the highest standards of education. There had been a fall in part-time and mature students and the OU had been hit particularly hard by this drop. According to universities, she said, the cause had been the rise in the cap on part-time fees to £6,750 a year and the introduction of maintenance loans had not alleviated the issue significantly.  The post-18 review were welcomed by the Baroness, but she warned that this should not be a missed opportunity. She urged the minister to ensure that the post-18 review addressed a major review of student finance and that it considered different policy responses for different types of students.

  • “It must reappraise the availability of maintenance grants and the restrictions on maintenance loans, and it must further relax restrictions on equivalent or lower qualifications, ELQs. I ask, above all, that it prioritises mature students and lifelong learning.”

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Con) thought that the ELQ rule was a major cause in the decline of part-time education. Bakewell agreed this was contributing factor.

Baroness Bakewell spoke highly of Birkbeck University, of which she has been head for 10 years. She insisted the main cause of the decline in part-time students was the rise in tuition fees, which explained in part why mature students were no longer willing to take the risk of more debt. She asked the Government to provide a part-time premium to universities and colleges to promote the supply of part-time courses and stop relying on maintenance loans for part-time students, as the latter would increase their debt. She called for the reduction of fees in line with any premium provided for universities.

Baroness Garden of Frognal (LD) spoke highly of the work and the opportunities that the two universities offered. She called on the Government to release colleges from the tortuous and pointless demands of GCSE maths and English resits

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws (Lab) suggested the establishment of a “learning nation fund” to go to the parts of the country where there are no opportunities.

Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho (CB) thought that there was a need to build wider partnerships into different communities, with employers and with government, with the skills needed to build a modern and resilient society. She added she would do her best to ensure that OU was fit for the future and asked what funding plan the Government had.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean spoke critically about the ELQ rule, adding that at one point 50% of Birkbeck’s students had an ELQ and now it was 5%.

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Lab) noted that the Welsh Government was introducing a student support package to offer parity of support for full time and part time students alike and the university there was experiencing substantial increases in early registrations for study in the coming year.

Lord Addington (LD) argued that the Open University had a tremendous the capacity for credit transfer. “It is a conduit between different skills being credited in another institution.”. He thought ELQ decision and fees should be removed.

Lord Haskel (Lab) asked about the national retraining scheme, which was promised by the end of the Parliament and talked about the importance of retraining and continuing the relationship between universities and their alumni.

Viscount Hanworth (Lab) spoke critically of the current offerings of FutureLearn – “threadbare and compare unfavourably with the traditional course materials of the Open University”. He noted that large industrial enterprises were no longer as keen as they once had been to sponsor the education of their workforce.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford called for proactive investment in part-time, continuing, lifelong education, accessible in every place and to every part of society. “This new deal needs to be means tested, as we have heard, at the point of delivery, to prevent the stagnation of much of our economy”.

Lord Holmes of Richmond (Con) criticised the current student finance system and interest rates.

Lord Shipley (LD) asked the Government to look urgently at whether it was justifiable for tuition fees for part-time students in England to be two and a half times higher than in the rest of the UK. He also reminded the Government that around 20 million adults in the UK did not have level 4 qualifications, which he considered a huge untapped resource.

Baroness Taylor of Bolton (Lab) argued for more flexibility in education and spoke about the need to provide progressive pathways: “It is desperately important that people can move from one sector of education and one type of qualification approach, and we need credit accumulation and credit transfer to become an integral part of all we offer to part-time and mature students.”

Lord Watson of Invergowrie (Lab) suggested a single national portal showing career opportunities with available jobs, apprenticeship options and links to training requirements and a strategy for retraining and upskilling at all levels. He also called for flexibility.

Government Whip, Viscount Younger of Leckie, talked about the steps the Government had taken to address the fall in part time students, such as the Higher Education and Research Act.  He noted that in 2016-17, 47,000 OU students were able to benefit from a tuition fee loan for undergraduate courses and the Government had removed the so-called ELQ restrictions. He mentioned that HEFCE—now replaced by the Office for Students—targeted an element of the teaching grant in recognition of the additional costs of part-time study.  He added that the Government had tabled regulations that would allow part-time students on higher education courses to access maintenance loans similar to those received by their equivalents on full-time courses.

Viscount Younger of Leckie noted that:

  • the Government was committed to seek to introduce maintenance loans for part-time distance learning courses.
  • on credit transfer, he said the Section 38 of the Higher Education and Research Act allows such arrangements
  • on the post-18 review, he said the panel would publish its report at an interim stage at some point this year, before the Government concluded the overall review in early 2019. He noted the word flexible “was very much in there”.
  • according to the findings of the work that the Economic Affairs Committee, he noted the Government had overhauled apprenticeships to focus on quality and are fundamentally transforming technical education.
  • on the national retraining scheme, which would be set up by the end of the Parliament, he said that the strategic direction of the scheme was set by the National Retaining Partnership.

Motion agreed.

Digital Accord

On Thursday Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Digital) visited Paris to announce a new agreement to strengthen ties between the UK and France’s digital industries.  The five-year accord aims to boost both countries’ digital economies and forge closer links between the leading companies in France and the UK. It forges closer working between each country’s leading digital research centres to deepen collaboration. The UK’s Alan Turing Institute signed the agreement with the French institute DATAIA. The two organisations will pursue collaborative research in areas of shared interest, e.g. in fairness and transparency in the design and implementation of algorithms. They will share expertise and visiting researchers will spend time at each Institute and hosting joint workshops and funding calls.

At the UK-France Digital Colloque – a summit of more than 350 businesses, researchers and officials from both countries – Mr Hancock and Mr Majoubi signed an accord on digital government committing UK and France to extending their cooperation in the digital sector on innovation, artificial intelligence, data and digital administration.

Digital Secretary Matt Hancock said:

  • “The UK is a digital dynamo, increasingly recognised across the world as a place where ingenuity and innovation can flourish. We are home to four in ten of Europe’s tech businesses worth more than $1 billion and London is the AI capital of Europe. France is also doing great work in this area, and these new partnerships show the strength and depth of our respective tech industries and are the first stage in us developing a closer working relationship. This will help us better serve our citizens and provide a boost for our digital economies.
  • Because throughout history, the nations who get the technology right in their era are the nations who succeed. And in our era, our challenge is these data-driven technologies that are transforming our economy and society beyond recognition. If we get them right, and work with other nations to do so, it will lay the path for productivity, prosperity, and a better quality of life. That is why this colloque is so important. Bringing together some of our greatest minds, to discuss the big issues and opportunities that lie ahead. So please keep creating, innovating and making the impossible possible. Because technology was forged by humankind. So we need to make it work for humankind.”

Read Matt Hancock’s speech in full here, it’s a lovely opportunity to brush up on your French.

 LEO data accessible through Unistats

The LEO (Longitudinal Education Outcomes) data is now available on Unistats through a user friendly interface. Applicants can access data on their chosen course to find out the national average salary for a graduate of that type of course. They can also select a HE institution and see the salary range of its graduates across all disciplines.

The OfS consulted prospective students on what graduate outcome information they would find useful. OfS report that applicants said they wanted to consider a range of factors when making decisions about future study and OfS expected earnings to play a role in decisions made by many students and be a key factor for some. The OfS expect to expands access to this dataset for prospective students in the future by incorporating responses from the new Graduate Outcomes record when this becomes available in 2020. Read the OfS press release here.

Conor Ryan, Director of External Relations at OfS, said:

  • “Adding the LEO earnings data to Unistats provides more valuable information to assist students in their course decision making. It comes as the Office for Students is developing our Information, Advice and Guidance strategy to help prospective students find and understand the information they need to make decisions about what and where to study…The Office for Students will take a leading role in ensuring the availability of unbiased information to help all students make informed choices. This should put students in a better position to make the most of their education experience and future careers.”

Parliamentary questions

STEM – Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had recent discussions with the Minister for Women and Inequalities on increasing the number of girls who choose to study STEM subjects at school; and if he will make a statement. [158682]

Nick Gibb:

  • The Government has taken focused action to increase the take-up of STEM subjects amongst all teenagers, and since 2010 there has been an 18 per cent increase in the number of entries by girls to STEM A levels in England. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, plans to meet the Minister for Women and Equalities in the coming months to discuss how to build on this so that more girls are taking STEM subjects at all levels.
  • The Department funds the Institute of Physics to deliver an intervention to increase the number of girls studying physics at A level. The Department also funds a number of other programmes to improve the quality of teaching STEM subjects and to encourage take up. For instance, the Department is investing £84 million to improve the teaching of computing and increase participation in computer science. This includes a programme to identify effective approaches to increase participation in computer science amongst girls.

STEM: Equal Pay – Jim Shannon: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to tackle the gender pay gap in STEM industries. [158753]

Victoria Atkins:

  • In 2017 we introduced ground breaking regulations requiring large employers from all sectors, including STEM industries, to report gender pay gap information annually.
  • This increased level of transparency highlights where women are being held back in the workplace, and is motivating employers to tackle their gender pay gaps.
  • Government will be engaging with businesses and educators over the coming months to understand more about the barriers for women in the STEM workforce.

International Students

Lord Watson Of Invergowrie : Further to the Written Statement by the Minister for Immigration on 15 June (HCWS768), what criteria were used to determine which countries were included in the expanded low-risk Tier 4 visa category for overseas students; and why India was not amongst them. [HL8807]

Baroness Williams Of Trafford :

  • Careful consideration is given to which countries could be added to Appendix H of the Immigration Rules, taking into account objective analysis of a range of factors including the volume of students from a country and their Tier 4 immigration compliance risk.The list of countries in Appendix H will be regularly updated to reflect the fact that countries’ risk profiles change over time.

Mental Health

Q – Preet Kaur Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had and with whom on funding for mental health services at universities; and if he will make a statement.

A – Sam Gyimah:

  • Mental health is a priority for this government. This is why the Department for Health, together with the Department for Education, have published a joint green paper on Children and Young people, which sets out plans to transform specialist services and support in education settings and for families.
  • In higher education, there is already much work underway to improve the quality of mental health services for students, alongside services provided by the NHS, including through the NHS programme Improving Access to Psychological Therapies.
  • In addition, we are in the process of introducing a University Mental Health Charter, backed by the Government and led by the sector. This will drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing.
  • Higher education institutions (HEIs) are autonomous bodies, independent from government. HEIs are not only experts in their student population but also best placed to identify the support needs of their particular student body.
  • Universities UK published its ‘Minding Our Futures’ guidance on 10 May 2018 which recommends: Links between NHS providers and student services to create ‘student mental health teams’ will help support students within the university provision and facilitate timely and seamless referrals for those who need specialist help.

Health

NHS Recruitment Drive

NHS England has launched an £8 million recruitment campaign following their research which showed although nurses and doctors are the most trusted and respected professionals in society the majority of the public don’t know the wider range of careers available. Under the banner ‘We are the NHS’ the recruitment drive aims to education and highlight the vast range of opportunities available to work within the NHS. It will initially focus on nursing, prioritising key areas (mental health, learning disability and community and general practice nurses) that are essential to deliver the long term plan for the NHS. While it will primarily target school children aged 14-18 aiming to increase the total number of applications into the NHS by 22,000, it also hopes to double the numbers of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors.

The campaign hopes to improve the skills shortage the NHS is currently experiencing. In a 6 month period in 2017 there were over 34,000 nursing vacancies reported, with over 6,000 in mental health and 1,500 in community nursing. The campaign also hopes to work with parents to address gender stereotyping and address the perception that while nurses are ‘caring’ they can also be leaders, innovative and academic.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “The NHS is our country’s most loved institution and that is down to the expert skill, dedication and compassion of its brilliant staff.

  • “There are over 350 careers available within the NHS giving young people an astonishing range of options. Nursing and midwifery make up the largest part of the workforce and as I know from personal experience, provides a unique opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ lives in a way that simply cannot be matched.
  • “Nurses and midwives provide expert skilled care and compassion, and they are highly talented leaders in the NHS. This campaign is all about inspiring young people and others who want a change of career to come and work for the NHS and have a rewarding and fulfilling career that makes a real difference.”

The autumn will see the recruitment drive expand when  the Department of Health and Social Care will run a national adult social care recruitment campaign to raise the profile of the sector and attract people to consider it as a career.

Applied Health Research – The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has announced £150 million of funding for applied health research aiming to tackle the key issues with the healthcare system. The funding will cover the pressures caused by our ageing population, the increasing demands on the NHS, and multimorbidity alongside the need to increase research in public health, social care and primary care. Of the new funding £135 million will be for new NIHR Applied Research Collaborations which will undertake applied health and care research and support implementation of research into practice.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

  • “As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, more people than ever before are living longer lives thanks to the dedication of hardworking staff. It is therefore vital we harness technology to develop the next generation of innovative treatments as part of the Government’s long term plan for the NHS.
  • That’s why I want our world-leading academics, researchers and technology experts to work with frontline staff to develop the innovations which not only allow people to live longer, but also to lead healthier lives, so the NHS can continue to provide world-class care to all.”

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy stated:

  • “With a growing and ageing population, maintaining a world-class NHS depends on harnessing the discoveries of cutting edge research and rapidly bringing them into every day healthcare…The UK has a proud tradition of ground-breaking medical R&D and this funding means our country can continue to lead the world.”

Recess

Parliament enters recess on Tuesday 24 July so the volume of announcements and news will likely slow. We’ll continue to send a shorter policy update through the recess period on the weeks when there is sufficient content to share. Parliament reconvenes on Wednesday 5 September.

Consultations

Click here to view the updated consultation tracker. Email us on policy@bournemouth.ac.uk if you’d like to contribute to any of the current consultations.

New consultations and inquiries this week:

Zulfiqar Khan is the first BU academic to submit an elevated pitch to the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges. Read his engaging posts on Clean Growth and Future of Mobility. Log in and leave a comment on his research to promote BU and support his ideas.

There is still time to submit your ideas and research to the Grand Challenges – deadline 21 July. This could be your first step towards policy influence and societal impact! Contact Sarah if you need support.

There have also been outcomes published to several items:

Other news

Finance Education: 70% of students state they wish they’d been better education in managing their finances before starting university. 50% acknowledge that when they are short of money their diet suffers, and 46% said that their mental health suffers, with 78% worrying about making ends meet. Read more in The 2018 Student Money Survey. The BBC covered the survey noting that poorer families often contribute to their children’s finances whilst at university than richer parents. Cosmopolitan magazine examines a student’s outgoings and questions when the maintenance loan is generous enough.

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JANE FORSTER                                            |                       SARAH CARTER

Policy Advisor                                                                     Policy & Public Affairs Officer

Follow: @PolicyBU on Twitter                   |                       policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

The next six months within education, science, tech, digital and the environment

Dods (political monitoring consultants) have produced a series of short policy lookahead guides contemplating what is coming up politically in the following spheres over the next few months:
Science Tech and Digital
The Education Sector
Environment and Rural Affairs
The viewing permissions on these guides have been set to BU staff and students, please don’t download and share more widely.

Spaces still available: Innovate UK visit- Health & Care at Innovate UK and Mini-STEAMLab 30/5/18

The M3 Network welcomes Chris Sawyer, Innovation Lead for Health & Care at Innovate UK, to speak at Bournemouth University on the 30th of May, 2018, 12:00-14:00. This event is an opportunity to gain not only information about Innovate UK and funding opportunities but to discuss the challenges facing health and care technology innovation.
Following the presentation there will be lunch and a facilitated workshop designed to bring forward ideas from academic and industry collaboration.
Academics from the M3 network and those from industry working with health and care technology are encouraged to attend. To book onto this session please e-mail RKEDevFramework@bournemouth.ac.uk with your name and organisation.

Political and Policy – News & Publications

Health

Macmillian has published the specialist cancer adult nursing and support workforce census 2017.

The Education Policy Institute has published research on vulnerable children and social care in England.

On Tuesday there is a Westminster Hall debate on safeguarding children and young people in sport, and a Health and Social Care Select Committee examining childhood obesity.

Meindert Boysen has been appointed as Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation.

On Friday Jeremy Hunt launched a review into the impact of technological advances on the NHS workforce.

On Wednesday there will be an adjournment debate on Mental Health Services

Other topics

Clive Efford has joined the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee as a member. On Wednesday this committee will meet to consider Fake News.

David Clark, Kenny Dey and Nick Terrell have been appointed as members of the Oil & Gas UK Trade Association.

On Tuesday the Education Select Committee will examine Alternative Provision.

On Tuesday the Home Affairs Committee will meet to discuss Policing for the future.

On Wednesday there will be a Westminster Hall debate on reducing plastic waste in the maritime environment.

APPGs

There is a new register of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG). Check the list to see which fit with your research interests (scroll down past the country groups to the subject groups).

This week the following APPGs will meet: Social Work (on Tuesday), Industrial Heritage (Tuesday), Archaeology (Tuesday), Carers (Wednesday).

 

Catch up on last week’s policy news here, or email policy@bournemouth.ac.uk to subscribe.

 

Innovation in health and life sciences round 3- DEADLINE 6/12/17

InnovateUK have announced the opening of the Innovation in health and life sciences, round 3.  All projects must be led by a business and have the involvement of at least one SME on the project.  Research organisations may participate in applications as collaborators. All submissions must demonstrate plans for significant innovation in at least one of the priority areas:

  • increasing agricultural productivity
  • improving food quality and sustainability
  • advanced therapies (cell and gene therapies)
  • precision medicine
  • medicines discovery
  • preclinical technologies
  • advanced biosciences

Applications will also need to address at least one of the competition themes.  Applications for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are also welcome.  Total project costs should be between £50k and £2m and last from six months to three years.

For information on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, please contact Rachel Clarke (clarker@bournemouth.ac.uk).  For discussing how to developing a research collaboration with industry, please contact Ehren Milner (emilner@bournemouth.ac.uk).

 

 

 

 

Digital Agenda Impact Awards

award

The Digital Agenda Impact Awards, celebrating innovations that make a positive impact on the way the UK lives, learns and does business, are open for entries. The awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust, take place at London’s Barbican Centre on Thursday March 2, 2017.

The Impact Awards are open to any business, government or non-profit using digital products or services to make the world a better place. The awards are free to enter and open until January 20 2017.

There are 12 award categories under three broad headings – people, places and business.

People

  • Education
  • Employment and skills
  • Health
  • Money

Places

  • Cities
  • Climate
  • Food
  • Smart

Business

  • Business transformation
  • Sharing and partnership
  • Social and economic transformation

Click here for more information and to apply.

 

 

Are you using technology for social good?

Technology in the hands

Digital technologies and the internet are providing new opportunities to address social challenges.  This phenomenon is known as digital social innovation (DSI). To explore what DSI is, who is working on it, and how they can be supported, a website has been launched www.digitalsocial.eu in partnership with the Waag Society and SUPSI, with funding from the European Commission DG Connect. The website features stories and case studies of DSI, along with information on funding and events for DSI. It also helps people and projects working on DSI to showcase their work and find new collaborators.

Two years on, DSI has come a long way. New organisations, projects and collaborations are popping up across Europe. Terms like crowdfunding, making, sharing economy and digital democracy are entering the mainstream. The number of incubators, accelerators and investment funds focused on tech for good has grown. Emerging technologies like blockchain and widely accessible 3D-printing have given DSI new potential.

How can you get involved?

  • Sign up: With over 1,000 organisations and 700 projects signed up,  it’s quick and easy to register and is your access point to the world of www.digitalsocial.eu.
  • Submit funding and events: There are two really simple forms which you can fill in  about funding and events. It doesn’t matter if you’re responsible for them, or if you just came across them on Twitter.
  • Talk to each other: The website allows you to see which organisations work with each other and which projects they work on. Please do reach out to organisations you work with and use the site to find new partners who you think might be able to help you. You never know what might result from a serendipitous conversation on  the website.
  • Spread the word: Please tell other digital social innovators about the website and encourage them to sign up. From Meet-ups to conferences and online communities, this  community is huge.
  • Provide  feedback: about the site.

To find out more about the types of projects showcased on this site and the blog post in full  – click here . A great way to start developing collaborations and identfying ways in which your research could influence policy and generate impact in the future.

#Digital4EU Stakeholder Forum Final Report Published

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The final report from the #Digital4EU Stakeholder Forum which took place in Brussels on Thursday 25 February 2016 is now available online.

This one-day event, organised by the European Commission, was centred around the progress made in creating a Digital Single Market (DSM) in Europe.

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, responsible for the Digital Economy and Society, Wepke Kingma, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the EU and Roberto Viola, Director-General of DG Connect, held keynote speeches during the event.

#Digital4EU 2016 was the second edition of the #Digital4EU Stakeholder Forum, which focused on President Jean-Claude Juncker’s digital priorities.

#Digital4EU 2016 covered the following five topics:

  1. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) mobilising digital projects
  2. Delivering the Digital Single Market – from the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) to action
  3. The Digital Economy: the data and computing opportunities for Europe
  4. Innovate, start and scale-up
  5. Platforms, is there a need to regulate?

(Source: UKRO)

 

 

Digital vision of future local government – connecting our lives in 2025

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The report , Connected Councils, explores how councils can use digital tools to transform the way they work and save a potential £14.7 billion every year.

Digital technologies, from apps to online platforms, can help councils provide better services for their residents and mobilise communities to work alongside these services, as well as find new ways of collecting and analysing data, which could have a significant impact on the quality of future services.

Through a series of case studies the report imagines what life might be like in 2025 for ‘digital by default’ councils and their citizens – from retirees to young graduates and new parents.

Key Findings

Local government has made huge progress in enabling residents to carry out basic transactions online. But most councils have a long way to go to deliver smooth, frictionless services and fully digitise their back offices. Digitisation isn’t just about developing digital services; depending on the level of ambition, digital tools can help:

  • Save money and deliver better outcomes by intervening earlier and helping people manage their own conditions.
  • Transform the way that councils work internally, commission services and partners, diagnose and solve problems, use public space, and attract talent.
  • Make services smoother and easier to access, more personalised and user-responsive.
  • Put residents at the heart of local problem-solving and decision-making and create an environment which supports businesses to startup and scale.

The 2025 vision

Like the best tech companies, future councils will be lean, agile and data-driven. Siloed services will be replaced with multi-agency teams that form around specific local challenges. A truly mobile workforce has freed up public space. Almost all transactions take place online. Instead of two-dimensional council websites, interactive platforms connect users with third-party apps and services, and stream personalised content on local democracy, jobs and services.

Relational services (such as social care) still rely heavily on face-to-face contact. But digital tools help people to manage their own long-term conditions and connect to a broader network of support, such as peer mentors, health coaches, friends and family, volunteers and group-based activities. Digital technologies have helped councils take a more ambitious approach to place-shaping. A larger share of public contracts go to high-growth SMEs. Councils systematically engage residents in decisions about how services are commissioned, delivered and evaluated.

Read the report in full.

 

Regional Digital Business Drop-in – Bournemouth

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The next monthly regional drop in session run by the Knowledge Transfer Network for the creative, digital and design community is to take place in Bournemouth. The event involving the KTN and Innovate UK is aimed at all digital innovation companies across various sectors in the region, looking to access funding and grow. A great networking opportuntity on your doorstep!

Date: Thursday 17 March

Location: Bournemouth

For more information and to register  – check out this link

 

Shakespeare festival: open call for digital ideas

British Council

What is it about?

BBC Arts Online and the British Council, supported by the GREAT Britain campaign, are collaborating to enable audiences, in the UK and overseas, to experience and discover the best of British Shakespeare in all art forms. The plan is to open with a 24 hour live-stream on 23 April 2016 and to offer new content on a regular basis over six months.

The British Council, on behalf of the GREAT Britain campaign, is calling for ideas from artists and cultural organisations across the UK. Funding is available for international rights clearances and to support the production of new content.

Five key cultural organisations are already working with  to provide world-class content – Shakespeare’s Globe, The Royal Opera House, the British Film Institute, Hay Festivals and the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare400 consortium coordinated by King’s College.

The content will be hosted on BBC Shakespeare Lives (bbc.co.uk/shakespearelives ) and promoted internationally by BBC Worldwide online ( bbc.com/culture) so global rights need to be cleared . The campaign will be supported by social media campaigns in order to drive audiences to this unique festival.

This is an unprecedented partnership project for the BBC and the British Council and  believe it has great potential for all organisations involved to increase their international reach and reputation.

How can I get involved?

We are particularly looking for ideas which appeal to younger audiences and convey the diversity and creativity of the UK’s Arts sector. If you are interested in applying, please complete the attached form.

APPLICATIONS CLOSE TUESDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2016

Click here for more information including the application form.

EU funding call now open!

EU heart

EU funding opportunity – are you working with SMEs?
Open call to SMEs and new entrants for industrial experiments Digital Agenda for Europe.  The call is now open (28 October 2015) and the closing date is 3 December 2015.  This call aims to initiate new business and innovation opportunities between SMEs and new entrants, major cyber physical system-platform providers, and competence centres. The maximum European Commission contribution for industrial experiments per applicant is €150,000. The funding rate is 70 per cent. The maximum duration of industrial experiment is 18 months.
For more information: https://www.eurocps.org/innovators-projects/open-calls/

Creative, Digital, Design – October briefing now live !

 

theme - creative-digital

This is a monthly publication that provides a digest of useful information about funding, financing, support and events to assist creative, digital and design businesses with their innovation and growth strategies.

You can sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox or alternatively follow the Knowledge Transfer Network group on social media.

This is a great way to get a quick heads up on what is happening in these sectors with links to further information.

Click here for more information.

 

 

EU funding opportunity – are you working with SMEs ?

 

 

 

EU heart

Open call to SMEs and new entrants for industrial experiments Digital Agenda for Europe

The Digital Agenda for Europe will shortly be inviting applications for its second open call to SMEs and new entrants for industrial experiments. The call will open on 28 October 2015 and the closing date is 3 December 2015.  This call aims to initiate new business and innovation opportunities between SMEs and new entrants, major cyber physical system-platform providers, and competence centres. The maximum European Commission contribution for industrial experiments per applicant is €150,000. The funding rate is 70 per cent. The maximum duration of industrial experiment is 18 months.

For more information:

https://www.eurocps.org/innovators-projects/open-calls/

 

 

Creative, Digital & Design Business Briefing – September 2015

theme - creative-digitalThis is a monthly publication that provides a digest of useful information about funding, financing, support and events to assist creative, digital and design businesses with their innovation and growth strategies.

Highlights include:

European Funding Guide – Creative Industries

A short KTN guide to help you submit a proposal for the Horizon 2020 funding programme (H2020) & other European funding sources. It provides a brief overview of support, how to apply and useful links.

More information »

Internet of Things Cites Demonstrator

Up to £10 million funding competition to demonstrate the capability of the Internet of Things in a city region. Projects should involve at least one local authority, one local enterprise partnership and several businesses.

More information »

Digital forensics – up to £300K phase 1

The challenge from the Home Office, is to improve the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of recovering and automatically analysing data from the seized digital devices of suspects under investigation. Maximum value of £40K per project.

More information »