Late last week my colleague Dr. Pramod Regmi, Senior Lecturer in International Health, returned home from his Erasmus+ exchange to Nepal. He brought home for me a copy of the MMIHS (Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences) Souvenir 2023, this outliens key events at the institution of the past year. One of the write ups in the Souvenir is from the seven MMIHS M.Sc. students in Public Health who visited Bournemouth University in late 2022-early 2023 for three months. The students have since all completed their M.Sc. in Public Health at MMIHS. Their story highlights some of the British features of student life which were new to them. These included the support they received from our SUBU (=students’ union), or registering with the NHS, and the UNIBUS app, as well as cultural celebrations during their time in Dorset, such Halloween, Christmas and New Year. They rave about the module Public Involvement in Research and specifically thank Dr. Mel Hughes and BU’s PIER (Public Involvement in Education & Research) team. Their second module at BU focused on Systematic Reviewing, they particularly mention the guidance and support received from Prof. Vanora Hundley in the Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health (CMWH) and our Faculty of Health & Social Sciences librarian Mr. Caspian Dugdale.
Unfortunately, the Erasmus+ scheme has come to an end, but Bournemouth University has just been awarded funding for a serious number of Turing Scheme exchanges. The latter is for BU students to go aboard, and this funding supports study exchanges, work placements, voluntary traineeships and other international extra-curricular or curricular activities worldwide for a minimum of 28 days and maximum of 12 months.
A team of academics from Bournemouth University (BU) on the Erasmus+ exchange met with the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Green Tara Nepal (GTN) in Kathmandu this week. BU has been collaborating with Green Tara Nepal for nearly 15 years. GTN is non-profit making charity, established in 2007, which focuses on research, publications, advocacy, training and social mobilization in a holistic community development approach. GTN works closely among the individuals and groups through health promotion using participatory and community development approaches. Over the years various BU academics have conducted many research projects with the support of GTN in Nepal, organised dissemination events and conferences, wrote grant applications, published papers, and so so.
The BU Erasmus+ visitors included FHSS academics Prof. Steve Ersser, Dr. Michele Board and Dr. Pramod Regmi, as well as the Head of BU International Partnerships Dr. Alistair Morrison and Global Engagement Officer Elaine Hakes, and from the department of Psychology Dr. Shanti Shanker, and last, but not least, FHSS Ph.D. student Yagya Adhikari.
I would personally like to say thank you very much for all the support I have received from GTN over the past two decades!
This week we had the luxury of four exchange visitors from Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Nepal who are here on the Erasmus+ scheme. Erasmus+ funds are a great way to build academic networks and gain experience of teaching and learning elsewhere. Global staff mobility, including training and teaching, leads to professional development and networking and brings great value to BU and our students, whilst also offering invaluable international experience for BU staff and postgraduate students in Nepal.
Today Prof. Sujan Marahatta, Dr. Sujata Sapkota and Dr. Sujan Gautam offered a workshop under the title ‘Introducing federalization in Nepal: What are the effects on its health system?’ All three academics are part of the Nepal Federal Health System Project, our major collaborative project examining the consequences for the health system of Nepal’s move to a federal government structure in 2015. This is a joint project (2020-2024) led by the University of Sheffield and it is an collaboration with Bournemouth University, the University of Huddersfield, MMIHS and PHASE Nepal. This longitudinal interdisciplinary study is funded by the UK Health Systems Research Initiative [Grant ref. MR/T023554/1]. After highlighting the difference between ‘federalisation’ and ‘decentralisation’, the Nepalese academics briefly explained the political changes in the Nepal over the past decade or so. Followed by an outline of the project’s research methods and the key preliminary findings. The presenters focused on the data generated through a participatory method called River of Life, and from the policy analysis based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Health System Building blocks. This project has resulted in three publications to date [1-3].
Our visitors got involved in a range of teaching activities, for example, Prof. Beenu Bista, Professor of Nursing at MMIHS, taught various groups of BU nursing students earlier this week, whilst Dr. Sujata Sapkota helped supervise and advise one of BU’s M.Sc. Public Health students for her dissertation project.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health (CMWH)
Sapkota, S., Panday, S., Wasti, S.P., Lee, A., Balen, J., et al. (2022) Health System Strengthening: The Role of Public Health in Federal Nepal, Journal of NepalPublicHealth Association 7 (1): 36-42.
Rushton, S., Pandey, S., van Teijlingen, E., Subedi, M., Balen, J., et al. (2021) An Investigation into the Impact of Decentralization on the Health System of Nepal. Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, 7(1): 3–14. https://doi.org/10.3126/jmmihs.v7i1.43146
Dr Jonathan Williams, Principal Academic and Deputy Head of the Department of Rehabilitation & Sports Science is the latest BU academic to visit Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Nepal as part of the Erasmus+ exchange funding. Yesterday he run a workshop in Kathmandu on how to conduct a Literature Review for Health Professionals. This session was well attended by medical doctors at Manmohan Memorial Teaching Hospital.
The workshop was organised buy Prof. Sujan Marahatta at MMIHS, who is also Visiting Faculty member in FHSS. BU is currently in the process of renewing its MoA with MMIHS, to continue working together after this successful Erasmus+ programme.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
The call for applications is now open – with a closing deadline of 23:59 GMT on Monday 7th November 2022.
Erasmus+ funding is only available for activities until the end of May 2023
International staff mobility, including training and teaching, leads to professional development and international networking and brings value to BU as well as our staff and students, whilst offering invaluable international experience.
We are pleased to announce that both academic and professional services staff, can now apply for Erasmus+ funding to support these activities.
Erasmus+ staff mobility funding can be used to support travel, accommodation and subsistence of academic and professional services staff attending and receiving training at any organisation or institution in Europe. It can also be used for academic staff wishing to teach at a European university.
Training opportunities could be international staff weeks or training at various types of businesses, organisations, Higher Education Institutions, labs, affiliated hospitals et cetera. Training related to BU departmental objectives is highly encouraged. We can support you to find the most suitable host organisation should you need further advice. Simply email email@example.com with further details about the subject area you are considering.
For more information, please see the staff intranet pages here.
Last Thursday the seven Erasmus+ exchange students arrived in Bournemouth from Nepal. The exchange is between Bournemouth University (BU) and Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Kathmandu, Nepal. On Friday, their first full day a BU the Nepalese M.Sc. students received a Global Engagement Welcome from Cathryn Street, followed by an International Orientation by Caroline Earth from the Transitions Team. The students were welcomed to the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences by Dr. Angela Turner-Wilson who is Deputy Head of the Department of Medical Sciences & Public Health as well as the faculty’s Interim Associate Dean of Global Engagement. The two main contacts for the students at BU will be Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. This student exchange follows the visit of BU staff (Profs. Vanora Hundley & Edwin van Teijlingen) to Kathmandu and MMIHS staff visiting BU in return this summer.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
Yesterday (10th August) Prof. Sujan Marahatta from Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) gave an insightful talk under the title ‘Response to COVID-19 in Nepal’ to colleagues at Bournemouth University. Prof. Marahatta arrived in the UK yesterday morning and straight off the bus from Heathrow airport came to present in the Bournemouth Gateway Building. He is at Bournemouth University as part of the ERASMUS+ Key Action 107 which includes the exchange of academic staff and students between the UK and Nepal, between BU and MMIHS. His talk covered his role in writing the official report ‘Responding to COVID-19’.
He also spoke about the various joint studies conducted between MMIHS and academics in BU’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences. These collaborations include a range of BU academics, Dr. Pramod Regmi, Dr. Catherine Angell, Dr. Preeti Mahato (who recently moved to Royal Holloway), Prof. Carol Clark, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Dr. Nirmal Aryal, Dr. Shanti Shanker, and Prof. Vanora Hundley.
Erasmus+ is the European Commission’s flagship for financial support of mobility for Higher Education students, teachers and institutions. The British Councill is the funding agency in the UK and coordinates the funding at a national level. BU is proud to be part of Erasmus+.
Professors Vanora Hundley and Edwin van Teijlingen just completed their ERASMUS Plus exchange with Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Nepal. This was a very successful collaboration with colleagues in Nepal, despite the various turns of fate that were sent to challenge us. Indeed, the Profs toiled with the idea of giving this BU Research Blog the heading ‘The show must go on’ or ‘One man down….’ or even the far less punchy ‘The irony of doing a workshop by ZOOM in Nepal from a hotel 200 meters across the road’! In the end we decided that excellent collaboration requires resilience and a wee bit of ingenuity.
The trip to Nepal was marred by many little hiccups. It started at Heathrow where the airline insisted that they complete a now obsolete form about COVID-19 for the Government of Nepal, otherwise they would not let us on the flight. Arguing that Edwin had been to Nepal in April, and that no one then had asked for that particular piece of paper was fruitless. A quick online completion solved that first hurdle. The next hurdle was the flight leaving Heathrow over two hours late, which in turn meant missing the connection in Doha. Fortunately, the airline booked our academics on a replacement flight which left only hours after the original onwards flight had been scheduled to leave for Kathmandu. ingenuity. The trip to Nepal was marred by many little hiccups. It started at Heathrow where the airline insisted that they complete a now obsolete form about COVID-19 for the Government of Nepal, otherwise they would not let us on the flight. Arguing that Edwin had been to Nepal in April, and that no one then had asked for that particular piece of paper was fruitless. A quick online completion solved that first hurdle. The next hurdle was the flight leaving Heathrow over two hours late, which in turn meant missing the connection in Doha. Fortunately, the airline booked our academics on a replacement flight which left only hours after the original onwards flight had been scheduled to leave for Kathmandu.
The first five days in Kathmandu went well, apart from the to be expected tummy problems that go with monsoon in all low-income countries in South Asia. The teaching at MMIHS mainly focused on methodological issues. Our scheduled teaching sessions focused on the first-year MSc Nursing students (Vanora) and the first-year MSc Public Health students at MMIHS (Edwin).
A more informal one-hour tutorial session was organised for the second-year MSc Public Health students who had applied to come to the UK as part of ERASMUS Plus. This question-and-answer-type session was run by both Vanora and Edwin as well as BU PhD student Sulochana Dhakal-Rai. Overall, the teaching was all organised at very short notice, but BU’s professors are flexible and had a broad range of expertise to share.
In addition, with extra funding from GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund), Bournemouth University and MMIHS supported by the local charity Green Tara Nepal planned ran a one-day research workshop in Kathmandu. This GCRF- funded ‘Systematic Review on Dementia Research Workshop’ was very well attended. Although the workshop budgeted for 30 people the attendance register shows that nearly double (n=59) the number of people attended at least part of the workshop. However, running the workshop was not without is problems. Two-days before the workshop Prof. van Teijlingen first had a positive COVID-19 lateral flow test followed by a positive PCR test. This put the burden of running the show very much on Prof. Vanora Hundley with Edwin being called in through Zoom. This is where the potential ‘irony’ title comes in. The irony of doing a workshop by ZOOM in Nepal ….. not from halfway across the globe but from a local hotel 200 meters across the road from MMIHS! The hotel’s internet connection was not as good as most of us have grown used to in Dorset, which added to the difficulty of running the workshop smoothly.
Despite all these challenges, the result was a very successful workshop that will continue to build our collaboration with colleagues in MMIHS and more widely across Nepal.
Finally, to end the story of hiccups, MMIHS forgot to inform the hotel that Edwin would be staying four extra nights. On the day he was originally scheduled to leave Nepal he received a phone call from reception asking what time he was checking out. When he said he thought extra nights had been booked for him, there was no reply. A little later he was told he could get another night, but he would have to move to another floor, and it would be for one night only, since all 91 room of the hotel were booked for the weekend for a big Asian wedding party. Luckily MMIHS found him another hotel a bit more outside the city centre for the remaining three nights.
We are incredibly grateful for the support of colleagues and friends in Nepal and at home in the UK, which helped smooth out some of the more interesting challenges.
· Be ready to change and adapt to the needs of the situation.
· Strong relationships will help you deal with the unexpected.
· Keep positive when things get tough.
In the words of Steve Maraboli “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
Professors Vanora Hundley and Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) shall be traveling to Nepal tomorrow (22 May 2022) as part of the ERASMUS+ KA107 exchange between Bournemouth University and Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Kathmandu. They will be involved in teaching M.Sc. Public Health students as well as undergraduate Nursing students . Furthermore, one-to-one tutorials have been planned with MMIHS health researchers. There will also be sessions on academic writing and publishing following the recently published textbook Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences.
Earlier this spring Dr. Pramod Regmi, Senior Lecturer in International Health in the Department of Nursing Sciences, traveled to MMIHS as part of this exchange. His visit in April 2022 included running the ‘Migration and Health Research Capacity Building Workshop for Early Career Researchers’ in Kathmandu. Bournemouth University organised this two-day event jointly with the University of Huddersfield, MMIHS, and the charity Green Tara Nepal.
Two current Faculty of Health & Social Sciences Ph.D. students are also benefittng from being involved in this exchange. Yagya Adhikari returned back to the UK a week or so ago whilst Sulochana Dhakal-Rai will be arriving in Kathmandu tomorrow. Both will use this ERASMUS+ opportunity to developed aspects of their Ph.D. thesis.
Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P.P., Hundley, V. withShreesh, K. (Eds.) (2022) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books. [ISBN: 9789937117609]
This past three weeks Bournemouth University (BU) has strengthened our existing collaboration with MMIHS (Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Science) in Kathmandu. Until 2023 we have a staff and student Erasmus+ student exchange with MMIHS. Currently one FHSS PhD student is in Nepal at MMIHS as part of this Erasmus+ exchange. Two weeks Dr. Pramod Regmi, Senior Lecturer in International Health, was here for the GCRF-funded health and migration workshop which was organised in Kathmandu jointly with MMIHS. See the BU Research Blog of 15th April for more details (click here!).
Yesterday Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen met colleagues from the UK and Nepal at MMIHS to analyse some of the data from the Nepal Federal Health System Project. This three-year major collaborative project examines the consequences for the health system of Nepal’s move to a federal government structure in 2015. This is a joint project led by the University of Sheffield with Bournemouth University, the University of Huddersfield, and two institutions in Nepal: MMIHS and PHASE Nepal. This interdisciplinary study is funded by the UK Health Systems Research Initiative [Grant ref. MR/T023554/1].
At BU we are looking forward to welcoming MSc students and academic staff from MMIHS to BU as part of this exchange. We hope to generate interest among Nepalese postgraduate student to apply for a PhD place at BU.
Last, but not least, last week Prof. Vanora Hundley and I launched the book Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences in Kathmandu. This textbook has three chapter authors who are currently (or were recently) affiliated with MMIHS: Prof. Sujan Marahatta, Dr. Pratik Adhikary and Dr. Yubaraj Baral.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P.P., Hundley, V. withShreesh, K. (Eds.) (2022) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books. [ISBN: 9789937117609]
Global staff mobility, including training and teaching, leads to professional development and networking and brings great value to BU and our students, whilst offering invaluable international experience.
We are pleased to announce that staff, both academic and professional support, can now apply for funds to support these activities through Erasmus+.
Erasmus+ funds are a great way to build networks and gain experience
Erasmus+ staff mobility funds can be used to support travel, accommodation and subsistence of academic and professional support staff attending training at an organisation or institution in Europe. It can also be used for academic staff wishing to teach at a European university.
Erasmus+ funds are a great way to build networks and gain experience.
To be eligible for teaching (not training) mobilities, BU needs to have an agreement with the proposed University – you can check which organisations we have inter-institutional agreements with in the globalBU database.
The call for applications is now open – with a closing deadline of 23:59 GMT on Sunday 13 February 2022.
There are 2 different sets of application documents: one for activities between January 2022 and May 2022 and one for activities between June 2022 and May 2023, and so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the necessary application forms, FAQs and guidance.
This year we are running two online Information Sessions on MS Teams for interested staff members on:
Three weeks ago I had a pleasure and amazing opportunity to attend and engage with fantastic research training – the 4th European University Association (EUA) Funding Forum. The forum took place in one BU’s current and established Erasmus+ links – the Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona, Spain).
The 4th EUA Funding Forum, titled ‘Frameworks that empower, universities that deliver’ has primarily focused on macro-level changes that affect models and processes that EU universities traditionally apply.
The opening talk by Joseph Garrell I Guiu, Rector of Ramon Llull University (Spain); Jose Manuel Pingarron Carrazon, Secretary General of Universities (Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities) and Rolf Tarrach, President of the European University Association, highlighted the roles of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in a deeper engagement with social issues. This naturally can be done via education. However, research and business engagement would require different models of thinking in relation to funding. Investments should be attracted from elsewhere and with the purpose of HEIs being at forefront of sustainable living. BU with its new BU2025 vision and strategic plan puts a large emphasis on responsibility. However, to deliver an evidence-based impact would require reconsideration of processes and in many cases steeping out of the HE comfort zone and take risk by implementing different but importantly efficiency-based approaches.
Following the opening talk, Thomas Estermann, Director, Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development at EUA has presented astonishing statistics on how various HEIs within the EU operate in terms of attracting investment and students. Photo below show extract from the slides, presented by Thomas Estermann.
4th EUA Forum, Thomas Estermann
Thomas Estermann stated that the UK has a 20% decrease in attracting any sort of investment that supports HE sector. This is mainly driven by a lesser exposure to funding opportunities that the UK had access to but also nation-wide issues with decreasing student numbers. This left me wondering what can be done to minimise the gap.
Elvira Bolat, 4th EUA Forum
The event took place over two days, 18-19th October, and was an amazing opportunity to meet a frontline of EU HEIs’ leadership. Combination of plenary sessions and masterclasses offered the participants, not only an opportunity to network, but hear stories of ‘brave’ approaches to leading and managing HEIs and to learn about i.e. new types of partnerships within the HE context that can generate funding to support HEIs’ missions or importance of integrating business intelligence systems and management structures to inform HEIs’ processes.
One of my favourite talks was a panel formed by Mikulas Bek, Rector of Masaryk University (Czech Republic); Francisco Jose Mora Mas, Rector of Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain) and Petra Wend, Vice-Chancellor of Queen Margaret University (United Kingdom).
The 4th Funding Forum Plenary Panel I
The panel shared personal professional stories of their HEIs’ journeys in tackling financial uncertainty. It was quite refreshing to see how HEIs are moving, although I must admit this is a slow follow-up on some comprehensive business models, towards evidence-based decision-making via data mining and data-based intelligence. It is uplifting for me to witness the shift in HE leadership mindset, as my and Dr Gelareh Roushan’s PhD student, Claudia Vanzellotti, is exploring how for instance social media intelligence is embedded into small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs) strategic decision-making. In era of Big Data HEIs ought to observe trends around own sector but also other related and unrelated contexts which will spark ideas for efficient processes and funding models that will generate impact. Listening to students and open consented online conversations is also something educators should be doing in order to adapt pedagogical models and deliver effective and exciting education experiences.
Overall, attending the 4th Funding Forum had a number of immediate benefits for me:
Expansion of networks with various organisations (i.e. HEIs, governments, other public organisations and businesses);
A better understanding of the HE environment, challenges and future areas of consideration, critical for the UK HEIs operating in post-Brexit context;
Knowledge around the latest thinking in the debate around sources of funding for HEIs – the programme covered sessions around leadership, evaluation of economic impact of research activities, on how to develop income-generating partnerships, on designing institutional efficiency strategy, university management and overview of next generation of EU funding;
Feeding lessons learned on HE strategic directions into design of new UG and PG programmes across the Business School departments as well as within global engagement models we ought to consider.
Of course following BU’s Fusion I would like to reflect on some teaching and pedagogical lessons I gained from attending the 4th Funding Forum. In particular, I learnt about new TEL tool, Sli.do, that is alternative to Mentimeter and Kahoot and allows engaging large groups of students via Q&A feeders or group discussions to stimulate a better understanding and critical thinking around the content. I already experimented with the Sli.do during several talks in October/November 2018 period and found it easy to use, from both facilitator and audience perspectives. In addition I am planning to use the interviewing / conversational approach to Panel session discussions during the conference that Dr Kaouther Kooli, Dr Julie Robson and I are co-organising with the University of Manouba in Tunis this December.
Last but not least the training, funded by Erasmus+, enabled me to meet and network with the host institution’s colleagues. BU’s Business School has a long lasting and successful relationships in terms of staff and student mobility with the Universitat Ramon Llull (URL). URL is located in fantastic location, Barcelona, and has amazing facilities which are combined by modern architecture and historical buildings.
Quite impressed by Ramon Llull University campus. It is our Business School’s @BUAACSB1 current Erasmus partner so I recommend all students to consider coming and spending a semester abroad here @GlobalBUpic.twitter.com/K6zcm7qY9G
URL did truly amazing job with hosting the 4th Funding Forum, showcasing its facilities, professionalism of staff and students and warm hospitality of Catalonian capital.
Overall it has been an amazing experience, which will feed into many more exciting professional projects for me personally but also for the Department of Marketing, the Business School and BU. To conclude this post, I would like to leave you with this slide:
The 4th EUA Funding Forum: Presentation by Thomas Estermann
To survive, HEIs need to experiment, expand their external networks and defend their autonomy.
If you wish to experience something new, learn, network and enhance your knowledge in areas of research and/or education, and/or professional practice, I would highly recommend applying for the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Training funding.
Elvira Bolat, Principal Academic in Marketing (The Business School), e-mail:email@example.com
What is consciousness? In the traditional view, consciousness is a state of self-awareness in which the brain can experience perceptions; but which suddenly disappears in anaesthesia, coma or dreamless sleep. However, the common belief that there is sharp edge between an underlying unconscious state and consciousness is being challenged by new neurophysiological findings and theoretical models.
Is an isolated network of cells, a piece of mammal brain confined in a dish (an in vitro preparation) “conscious of itself”? if so, how can this be demonstrated? And by extension, is it a complex neuronal network model, capable of emulating the causal computations of such neuronal circuit, able to perform conscious functions?
Professor Maria-Victora Sanchez-Vives is the leader of an associated project within the large Human Brain Project initiative, https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/en/ a FLAGSHIP FET 2020 project, spanning for 10 years and involving the over 100 European Universities. Mavi Sanchez-Vives co-supervises a Bournemouth University PhD student, Mr Roman Arango-Cabrera, whose research focuses on studying the rhythms of the spontaneous neuronal activity in isolated cortical slices in vitro.
I was particularly keen to know directly from the team of experienced postdoctoral researchers the experimental process leading to the datasets that Roman has been analysing. Likewise, I was very excited about explaining Mavi and the team the new ideas that we are designing in Bournemouth.
Their recording techniques are especially devised for identifying the spatiotemporal propagation of extracellular potentials through a neuronal network. During my short period in Barcelona, we discussed the design of a new experiment, a variant of their current state-of-the-art recording system by enhancing the precision of the registrations. This new experiment can serve as a feasibility test for our new algorithms developed in Bournemouth University.
The visit was successful in every way, I learned a lot and enjoyed very much the atmosphere in the lab during the four days I spent with them. I am very grateful to Mavi, Vanessa and to every member of the Lab for the invitation and for the great support.
In summary, in the quest for a biophysical substrate of consciousness, a key milestone is the understanding of spontaneous activity propagation in isolated cortical networks; which is the topic of this training visit supported by the Erasmus + Mobility funds. The boundary between conscious and unconscious states seems to be increasingly blurred with each new advance in the area; proposing exciting ethical challenges for the following decade.
Maria V. Sanchez-Vives, Marcello Massimini, Maurizio Mattia. 2017. Shaping the Default Activity Pattern of the Cortical Network. Neuron, 94(5): 993-1001.
I just came back from a beautiful place in Portugal, Covilhã, where I went to deliver teaching to the Department of Management and Economics (Faculty of Humanity and Social Sciences, UBI) students. Covilhã is a city surrounded by mountains.
Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in Continental Portugal
It is because of its location, access to water and forest, the city was chosen as the Portugal’s centre of wool and fabrics making. In fact, Covilhã used be known as Portuguese Manchester. However, industrial crises led to a close of numerous factories, with these that are left operating now mainly producing wool for export purposes. Streets of Covilhã are continuous reminder of its heritage and history via unique street art.
Street art (1), Covilhã
Street art (2), Covilhã
Street art (3), Covilhã
Street art (4), Covilhã
UBI is a public university that was established in 1973 as Polytechnic Institute (hence very similar to BU). Currently, UBI hosts more than 7000 students who study across five faculties, Arts and Letters, Sciences, Health Sciences, Human and Social Sciences, and Engineering.
UBI – main campus
The BU-UBI Erasmus staff exchange partnership was first established by Professor Chris Shiel back in 2010. As it stands both institutions have not extended the partnership to cover student exchange because up until now UBI has not delivered their content in English. While teaching digital marketing to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, I have met many Erasmus+ exchange students who came to UBI from Bulgaria, Poland, Spain and Brazil.
UBI – Faculty of Human and Social Sciences
Majority of students expected teaching delivery in English and for this reason, as well as increasing interest towards UBI from EU students, from September 2018 the Department of Management and Economics starts delivery of their business and management courses in English. In light of such positive improvements, it is worth for us reviewing our Erasmus partnership with UBI.
Back to main focus of this post: this teaching opportunity was my first experience of teaching outside the UK and Russia, and first experience of engaging with Erasmus+. My teaching content and learning outcomes were agreed prior to the visit. I was down to teach aspects of e-commerce [I decided to talk about Headless Commerce instead] to final year BA (Hons) Marketing (1st cycle programme) students and digital marketing communications to MA Marketing (2nd cycle programme) students. In both cases students had not covered the topics previously so my aim was to introduce these, explain basics, critique applications and instil interest to read further. I did, however, felt nervous about the language, the pace of teaching and students’ understanding of concepts which might not have been applicable to the context of Portugal. All these fears disappeared as soon as I went to the classroom, saw students and started teaching. Both UG and PG students were extremely engaged with the content. In fact they were complimentary of visual images and infographics.
with final year BA (Hons) Marketing students
Students engaged in discussions as they could easily apply theory to practice and share examples of social commerce or search engine marketing from personal experiences. In fact, I experienced what I could call a teaching co-creation process that benefited both I and students. Students learnt from my UK-based examples and I have learnt so much from students on how digital marketing is done in Portugal. Together we debated nuances of newly implemented GDPR – this sparked so much interest. Being an advocate of digital pedagogy via extending classroom engagement to social media spaces, I had to offer an opportunity to UBI students to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Many of them were surprised and connected immediately. Strangely UBI academics were asking me about this as they were surprised how quickly I persuaded students to engage. I shared with UBI academics few links to BU’s TEL videos and they were quite intrigued by an institution wide initiative to encourage use of educational technology to enhance student experience.
Having spent five days within UBI’s walls (28.05.2018-1.06.2018), I managed not only to deliver teaching but also network with UBI’s academics, present my research (in particular recently accepted research paper on deployment of mobile technology by creative B2B SMEs and its impact on service innovation practices) and deliver a session on netnographic methodology to UBI’s academics and PhD researchers (some of whom came to Covilhã from Brazil).
Finally, as somebody who now lives and breathes Fusion my visit could not be all about teaching. In relation to a joint BU-UBI research, Dr Arminda do Paço and Dr Helena Alves are now working with me on two projects, (1) trust and communication, linked to the Faculty of Management QR-funded project on Trust Repair; and (2) circular economy – a comparative study of consumers’ perceptions in the UK and Portugal. Work on both projects is at the conceptualisation level with the team planning to seek an ethics approval in July and commencing data collection by end of July 2018. To keep up to date with developments connect with me on Twitter or read my work on ResearchGate. In relation to professional practice linked to future research and education, I was privileged to visit the UBI’s Wool Museum.
Wool museum (1)
Wool museum (2)
Wool museum (3)
It has been an amazing experience to hear all about sustainable manufacturing and business practices adopted by wool making factories, practices which are challenged by fast fashion and postmodern consumerism. Sustainability is one of the UN’s, EU’s and the UK’s key research areas. Dr Arminda do Paço and I are now discussing potential to work on joint research involving industrial partners as well as opportunities to organise international field trips for BA Business Studies, BSc Marketing and BA Retail Management students.
In conclusion, this week in Portugal was busy and at the start nerve wrecking, but overall extremely positive and led to many more exciting opportunities for BU and UBI to foster our partnership, work on international research, share best practice in teaching and learning and meet again in a sunny Bournemouth this September.
If you wish to experience something new, share and enhance your teaching practices, I would highly recommend to apply for the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Teaching funding.
Elvira Bolat, Global Engagement Lead (Department of Marketing), Senior Lecturer in Marketing (The Business School), e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the UK government’s financial settlement with the European Union in the first stage of the on going Brexit negotiations the Department for Education, the UK National Authority, has issued further clarification about the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme. With the caveat that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, in principle, the UK will continue to take part until the end of the current programme in 2020. For the full update see here.
A new look for the Erasmus+ publications page
Erasmus+ have refreshed their publications webpage so you can find Erasmus+ UK brochures and leaflets more easily. Download the interactive brochures for tailored information on sector-specific funding opportunities in 2018.
Top 10 Tips for applying for Erasmus+ funding in 2018
Check out this Erasmus+ blog post for tips on how to write a brilliant application for Erasmus+.
Upcoming Application Deadline
Key Action 2: Strategic Partnerships Higher education, vocational education and training, schools, adult education. 21 March 2018, 11am (UK time)
Key Action 2 School exchange partnerships Q&A live webinar
6 February, 3.30pm – Register now
Key Action 2 VET and adult education: completing the application eForm
19 February, 2.00pm – Register now
Seminar on Non-Formal Learning in Higher Education: Developing
Intercultural Competence, Turkey Apply by 22 February
If you are thinking of applying for Erasmus+ funding contact;
If you are planning to apply for funding in 2018 through Erasmus+, the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport, you can start to prepare your grant application now. The Erasmus+ Programme Guide, which provides detailed information on how to apply, is available here.
This year’s budget has increased by €200 million since 2017, representing an increase of 8%.
The major changes since 2017 include:
Additional opportunities for Erasmus+ higher education students to carry out traineeships aimed at gaining digital skills;
The ErasmusPro initiative under VET mobility projects to boost long term mobility for VET learners;
A new “Schools Exchange Partnerships” format under Strategic Partnerships to help schools better finding their way into cooperation projects;
The action “Sector Skills Alliances” has been reintroduced to this Programme Guide;
The funding rules for most actions have been fine-tuned;
As in 2016 and 2017, the 2018 Programme Guide places a special focus on encouraging projects supporting social inclusion (notably of refugees and migrants), as well as preventing radicalisation.
The call deadlines for all three Key Actions can be found here. A few Key Action 2 deadlines to be aware of are;
Knowledge Alliances 28th February 2018
Strategic partnerships in the field of education and training 21st March 2018
Capacity building in the field of higher education 8th February 2018
If you are interested in finding out more and applying to the Erasmus+ Key Action 2: “Cooperation for Innovation and Exchange of Good Practices” – Sector Skills Alliances (SSA) call, then why not sign up to this online info day?
RKEO were pleased to welcome UK Research Office’s BU account manager, Maribel Glogowski for our annual subscriber visit, on Tuesday 25th October. Maribel is based in Brussels, along with the rest of the UKRO team, so is BU’s perfect partner for keeping us up to date with funding developments in the EU.
UKROis the European office of the UK Research Councils. It delivers a subscription-based advisory service for research organisations (in the main UK HEIs) and provides National Contact Point services on behalf of the UK Government. UKRO’s mission is to maximise UK engagement in EU-funded research, innovation and higher education activities. As a BU member of staff, you can sign up to receive email alerts direct to your inbox.
Maribel covered the following topics:
Updates on project management including post-referendum statements
Accessing the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges
All the slides from the day are available in the MyBU Community for the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework. Please select the International Pathway to access these slides – more resources are being added over the coming months. All staff have been pre-enrolled into this community.
If you have any questions about this event or are considering applying to EU funding schemes, please contact Emily Cieciura (RKEO, Research Facilitator: EU & International)
BU staff can login below:
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