Tagged / impact

Research impact at BU: support for those with ‘face blindness’ & preserving iconic wartime tanks

Celebrating BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021

Pinpointing prosopagnosia: the professional and social impact of achieving NHS recognition

Research area: Psychology

Staff conducting research: Professor Sarah Bate, Dr Peter Hills, Dr Nicola Gregory, Dr Rachel Bennetts, Dr Anna Bobak

Background: People with the cognitive disorder prosopagnosia cannot recognise faces, which can severely affect their everyday lives. In 2012, BU launched the Centre for Face Processing Disorders (CFPD), led by Professor Bate, to investigate the condition. Bate began by conducting a large-scale investigation of face recognition difficulties in primary school children, which showed that, despite low awareness of the condition, prosopagnosia is more common than other, better-known developmental disorders such as ASD. BU researchers interviewed adults with the condition and parents of children displaying face recognition difficulties, which enabled them to develop a detailed analysis of the strategies people use to cope, and subsequently to create the first evidence-based list of recommendations for managing prosopagnosia.

The impact: In 2014 – following a House of Commons roundtable discussion where the BU team presented their research findings – the NHS formally recognised the condition. Subsequently, the first ever page on prosopagnosia was launched on the NHS Choices website, under the A-Z of conditions. It links directly to the CFPD, and more than 20,000 people worldwide have used the resources. The vast media interest in Bate’s work increased substantially in the months after NHS recognition, with coverage of prosopagnosia in high-profile outlets such as The One Show, The Times, ITV News and Scientific American leading to raised public awareness and hundreds more people seeking a diagnosis. The NHS webpage also promotes Bate’s behavioural intervention techniques for improving face recognition skills. This unique resource offers the only known opportunity (globally) for prosopagnosic children to access an amelioration programme, and has reached participants from the UK, USA and Australia. Analyses show improvement in face recognition following 10 sessions of training compared with controls, with stronger improvements in children than adults, while parental feedback is very positive, suggesting that improvements transfer to everyday life.

Preserving historically important battle tanks and developing best practice in the heritage vehicle museum sector

Area of research: Design, Engineering & Computing

Staff conducting research: Professor Zulfiqar Khan, Dr Adil Saeed, Dr Hammad Nazir

The Tiger 131, which featured in the 2014 film Fury

Background: BU’s Condition Monitoring, Analysis and Prediction model (CMAP) develops reliable estimates of large engineering structures’ performance and vulnerability, by using improved simulations based on experimental observations and data. In 2009, Khan’s team began a collaboration with the Tank Museum, with the aim of implementing a framework to monitor and, ultimately, slow down structural deterioration. Initial experimental investigations analysed tanks’ corrosion and wear failures and provided valuable data to develop precision-based mathematical models to predict and prognose failures in military vehicles. The first prototype was commissioned by the Tank Museum and installed on two historically important battle tanks. This led to a patented novel sensor design and the development of a framework of remote sensing techniques, which were used to predict failures such as corrosion, deterioration, cracking, chipping, coating and significant wear and erosion. Combined with novel maintenance-scheduling algorithms, this enabled identification of the best time to perform maintenance, in terms of safety and cost.

The impact: The Tank Museum, which attracts 200,000 visitors a year, houses one of the most important collections of its kind in the world. It applied BU’s novel conditioning method – now patented – to significantly increase the lifespan of its vehicles and preserve them for future generations. The Tiger 131 (pictured) is one of only seven Tiger 1 tanks surviving worldwide and, thanks to the BU-Tank Museum collaboration, is currently the only one restored to running order. Following its improved performance, the tank was featured in the 2014 film Fury, which received widespread praise from critics for its realistic depiction of WWII. Increased public interest prompted the museum to hold special ‘Tiger Days’, which have taken place on a biannual basis since 2013. Thousands of spectators come to see the Tiger 131 and other iconic tanks. The increased visitor numbers have brought commercial benefits to the museum, contributing to the annual turnover of more than £20m, while the remote-sensing technology is helping to reduce inspection and maintenance costs. The research data was also critical in securing £2.5m in Heritage Lottery funding to build the museum’s Vehicle Conservation Centre, which established optimal preservation and operating conditions for heritage vehicles, and is defining best practice for museums worldwide.

Next post: restoring consumer trust in the insurance industry & a collaboration between art and science

New select committee inquiries

Responding to a select committee is an easy way to get your feet on the pathway to policy influence and impact.

Below are the most recently opened inquiries. There will be other inquiries accepting evidence too –  all inquiries currently accepting evidence are here  .

COVID 19: PPE Suppliers | Public Accounts Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 17 May 2021

The Myanmar Crisis | Foreign Affairs Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Tuesday 18 May 2021

COVID-19 cost tracker update | Public Accounts Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Thursday 20 May 2021

Technological Innovations and Climate Change: Supply Chain for Battery Electric Vehicles  | Environmental Audit Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Saturday 22 May 2021

Pension stewardship and COP26 | Work and Pensions Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Friday 18 June 2021

An Equal Recovery | Treasury Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 28 June 2021

Overview of costs in the English rail system | Public Accounts Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Thursday 6 May 2021

Liberty Steel and the Future of the UK Steel Industry |Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Friday 14 May 2021

The Navy: purpose and procurement | Defence Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Sunday 30 May 2021

Women in Prison | Justice Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 7 June 2021

Implementing the Integrated Review in Nigeria | Foreign Affairs Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 7 June 2021

UK space strategy and UK satellite infrastructure | Science and Technology Committee | Deadline for evidence submission: Wednesday 23 June 2021

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

More information: all inquiries currently accepting evidence are found here 

Support resources: find guidance on submitting evidence to select committees on the KEU’s ‘how to guides’ page  

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

Research impact at BU: improving wellbeing with multi-sensory art installations & saving an iconic freshwater fish from extinction

A series of posts highlighting BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021. (The full impact case studies will be published on the REF website summer 2022.)

KIMA: Improved wellbeing through participatory visual sound art

KIMA: Noise by Analema Group. Tate Modern 2019. www.analemagroup.com Image by Sophie le Roux. www.sophielerouxdocu.com

Research areas: Media & Arts Practice

Staff conducting research: Dr Oliver Gingrich, Dr Alain Renaud

Background: BU’s Gingrich and Renaud are practice-based researchers and members of the Analema Group, an arts collective which creates participatory experiences that explore the relationships between sound, colour, light, movement and form. They created three multi-sensory experiences which focused on audience participation through KIMA, an art and research project investigating the visual properties of sound. KIMA: Voice represents participants’ vocal harmonies in 3D form. BU worked with researchers from the Centre for Performance Science – a partnership between the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London – to explore how such harmonies can measure social connectedness, happiness and loneliness. KIMA: Noise is an interactive sound art piece, developed with an urban noise and health expert from Queen Mary University London, which examines the negative effect of urban noise on social behaviour, health and wellbeing. KIMA: Colour, created with scientists and curators from the National Gallery and data and algorithm experts from King’s College, allowed audiences to experience a deeper understanding of the art and science of colour in its paintings by transforming the colour data into light and sound installations.

The impact: Engagement with the KIMA installations improved wellbeing by increasing feelings of social connectedness, particularly during the first Covid-19 lockdown. The projects raised awareness among clinicians and decision makers of the benefits of participatory art. KIMA: Colour, in particular, provided evidence of the way in which digital platforms can enable art collections and museums to stay relevant in the 21st century. The work also increased the public discourse on the relationship between art and health, including the detrimental effects of urban noise on wellbeing in KIMA: Noise.

Avoiding extinction: conservation initiatives to save a critically
endangered giant freshwater fish in India

Research area: Fish Ecology

Staff conducting research: Dr Adrian Pinder,
Professor Robert Britton

Background: The hump-backed, orange-finned mahseer is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish and unique to the Cauvery River basin in southern India. Of high global angling significance due to its size (>50kg), its spawning migrations have been threatened by dam building since the early 1900s, leading to decreasing fish numbers. This has since been compounded by unsustainable harvesting, which created local food security problems as the fish was an important protein source.  In 2010 Pinder was fishing in the Western Ghats of southern India, where the Cauvery river originates, and realised that the number and types of mahseer fish being captured did not reflect historical angling records for the region. Together with Britton, he initiated a mahseer research programme, which led to the identification and conservation of a fish now known to be at imminent risk from extinction.

The impact: BU’s research clarified the taxonomy of the orange-finned mahseer as Tor remedavii, which was vital in getting it classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. As IUCN noted: “Without… [BU’s] research, there is a very real possibility that this megafauna could have gone extinct without ever formally being recognised as a species.” By spotlighting the orange-finned mahseer as a conservation priority, BU researchers influenced responsible stocking policies across the mahseer genus, throughout India and southern Asia. Indian-based multinational utility company Tata Power amended its Mahseer Conservation Programme and specific guidance on protecting the fish was included in India’s Wildlife Action Plan. The research insights contributed to new conservation, outreach and education awareness programmes for local schoolchildren and anglers. Working with Tata, India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the World Wide Fund for Nature India, the researchers helped develop a robust monitoring programme, which was initially due to be implemented last year, but is currently on hold due to Covid-19.

Next post: preserving heritage military vehicles & support for those with face blindness.

Cohabitating Partners – rights (inquiry)

The Women and Equalities Committee have launched a new inquiry – The Rights of Cohabiting Partners | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 5 July 2021

Information on the scope of the inquiry

Cohabiting couples make up the fastest growing type of family, with over 3.4 million couples cohabiting in England or Wales. Couples who cohabit currently have less legal protection than those who are married or in a civil partnership in the event of death or separation. Despite this, there is a widespread perception that cohabiting couples have similar or identical rights to those who are married or in a civil partnership.

In 2007, the Law Commission published a report on the financial consequences of the breakdown of cohabitant relationships and recommended law reform. Since then, in 2011, the Coalition Government decided not to take forward the recommendations, and there has been little progress in this area since. Certain legal professionals have continued to call for greater protection under the law for cohabiting couples.

The Committee will examine what legal protection for cohabiting couples could look like and how this might be introduced. We welcome written evidence submissions from individuals, legal practitioners and organisations.

The Committee is inviting written evidence but cannot accept evidence that discusses on-going or active court cases.

Key questions for the inquiry are:
  • Should there be a legal definition of cohabitation and, if so, what should it be?
  • What legislative changes, if any, are needed to better protect the rights of cohabiting partners in the event of death or separation?
  • What equalities issues are raised by the lack of legal protection for those in cohabiting relationships?
  • Should legal changes be made to better provide for the children of cohabiting partners?
  • Should cohabiting partners have the same rights as those who are married or in a civil partnership?
  • Are there examples of good practice in relation to the rights of cohabiting partners in the UK or internationally that the Government should seek emulate in England and Wales?

You can submit evidence to this inquiry until Sunday 4 July. Please inform and engage with BU’s policy team before submitting evidence to the inquiry. You can contact Jane and Sarah on policy@bournemouth.ac.uk

Event: Journalism – an effective bridge between research and policy?

Social Science and the media: How can journalism provide an effective bridge between research and policy?
A free online event on 24 May to explore how we can grow a more supportive relationship between journalism, social research and policy. The meeting is part of a series organised by Transforming Evidence, an interdisciplinary collaboration aiming to share learning, connect communities and generate meaningful research about how we make and use evidence. This workshop aims to bring together academics, researchers, journalists and funders to discuss the current and potential role of the media in influencing the relationship between university research and policy


13:00 Welcome and introduction to Transforming Evidence

Professor Annette Boaz, co-lead Transforming Evidence.

13:05 Introductions

Jonathan Breckon(Chair)

13:10 What more can social scientists do to provide relevant and high-quality news content?

David Walker, contributing editor Guardian Public, and ex-ESRC Board Member

13:20 The role of academic expertise in media debates on Europe in post-Brexit Britain

Professor Catherine Barnard FBA, Deputy Director, UK in Changing Europe.

13:30 Educational research for the media; how best to inform policymaking for schools?

Fran Abrams, Chief Executive, Education Media Centre.

13:40 Academic rigour and journalistic flair: what role can intermediary organisations play
between journalist, academics and policy makers?

David Levy, Trustee, The Conversation UK and Senior Research Associate,
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford

13:50 Chair leads discussion with speakers & audience Q&A

14:15 Finish

Research impact at BU: reducing fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis & tackling audiovisual piracy

A series of posts highlighting BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021. (The full impact case studies will be published on the REF website summer 2022.)

Reducing the impact of fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis using a novel fatigue-management programme

Research areas: Health Care, Digital Health, Psychology & Computing

Staff conducting research: Professor Peter Thomas, Dr Sarah Thomas, Dr Andy Pulman, Dr Sarah Collard, Dr Huseyin Dogan, Dr Nan Jiang

Background: Drug treatments for fatigue for people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) are not always effective and, although cognitive behavioural therapy has proved helpful for other conditions, there was a lack of evidence supporting its use for managing MS fatigue. BU researchers conducted a scoping exercise (funded by the MS Society) and a Cochrane review, which confirmed the evidence gap in psychological treatments for MS fatigue. Thomas and her team worked with Poole Hospital to develop FACETS (Fatigue: Applying Cognitive behavioural and Energy effectiveness Techniques to LifeStyle), a group-based fatigue management programme, designed to be easily implemented in clinical practice. The MS Society also commissioned the team to explore the digital delivery of the programme and a protoype Android app was developed and tested.

The impact: An estimated 13,931 PwMS in the UK have participated in FACETS programmes, and the CEO of the MS Society confirms: “Our feedback from people with MS has shown the positive impact that the FACETS programme has on their lives, making a real difference”. The MS Society also supported the national roll-out of FACETS via delivery of a one-day facilitator training course developed by the research team, which has so far trained more than 300 healthcare professionals in the UK.  FACETS was included in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for managing MS, and the MS Society website recommends its use. The impact of FACETS is global – it is being delivered in Ireland, Germany, Denmark, France and Australia, and the programme also been used or adapted for use in Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Tasmania and New Jersey, USA.

Defeating the pirates: creating a technical guide to support EU law enforcement agencies in combatting audiovisual piracy

Research area: Computing & Informatics

Staff conducting research: Professor Vasilis Katos

Background: Cyber attribution involves processes in the tracking and identification of perpetrators using computer networks for hacking or conducting other crimes. In 2018, audiovisual (AV) piracy generated more than €940m in unlawful revenue in Europe alone. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) commissioned a technical guide to combat illegal Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) – television content formatted for internet delivery. Three areas of research undertaken by BU and academic collaborators – malware forensics, open-source intelligence and digital forensics – provided the basis for the 217-page guide, which underwent a three-month review by industry experts such as Sky and BT, law enforcement agencies and the European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation.

The impact: The final version of the guide was distributed to all EU law enforcement organisations, who now use it in IPTV investigations; it is also included in training material by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training. In 2019, the guide supported operations by six EU member states to dismantle an international criminal network responsible for IPTV crime, with estimated damages of €6.5m. Last year it helped in the closure of an illegal international service, with more than 2m subscribers, representing an estimated €15m in profits for the criminal network. The guide also demonstrates how to identify pirate services and, for the first time, maps the illegal online video streaming ecosystem. The UK Intellectual Property Office said: ‘research conducted by BU has been critically important in providing a credible and collective analysis of how the environment of online streaming is both used and abused’ and has already identified the potential for transferring the research to other areas of IP crime.

Next post: saving an iconic freshwater fish from extinction and improving wellbeing with multi-sensory art installations.

Research impact at BU: representation of para-athletes in the media & protecting the right to use parody

A series of posts highlighting BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021. (The full impact case studies will be published on the REF website summer 2022.)

Implementing a parody exception in the UK: shaping policy and innovating the creative sector

Research areas: Intellectual Property & Innovation Law, Media Regulation

Staff conducting research: Professor Dinusha Mendis, Dr Kris Erickson, Professor Martin Kretschmer

Background: The Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property in 2011 focused on a number of issues, including copyright and parody. Against this background, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) commissioned BU researchers to conduct a study supporting the UK government’s consultation on the Review. This resulted in BU researchers producing three reports for the government, reflecting a legal and empirical analysis to assess the economic effects of parody, and recommending the introduction of a parody exception.

The impact: In 2014, the UK government adopted a parody exception, with the UKIPO acknowledging that the research by the BU team was “instrumental in paving the way towards [its] implementation…”. Seven years on, the exception has benefited a range of stakeholders including artists, film and documentary makers, legal practitioners and wider society. Parody artists’ careers have been enhanced by the legalisation of their work, leading to increased income through greater exposure; the number of parody legal disputes has drastically reduced; the creative sector has been able to commission  parodies, increasing innovation and freedom of expression; and charities have generated income for worthwhile causes by using parody in fundraising campaigns.

Shaping para-sport policy and broadcast coverage

Research areas: Sport & Politics, Media & Education

Staff conducting research: Dr Emma Pullen, Professor Michael Silk, Dr Daniel Jackson, Dr Richard Scullion

Background: With the entry of Channel 4 as rights holder in the UK, the Paralympic Games has become an increasingly important site of disability representation. BU researchers undertook the largest ever academic project to examine the implications of the rapid commercialisation of the Games and the increasing visibility of (selected types of) disability in the media. The project aimed to capture the intentions and practices of Channel 4’s broadcasting of the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the influence of this on the content of Paralympic coverage and mediated forms of disability representation, and the wider impact on public attitudes toward disability.

The impact: Findings from the AHRC-funded project ‘Re-presenting para-sport bodies: Disability and the cultural legacy of the Paralympics’ have been utilised by Channel 4, Paralympics GB and UK Sport to shape future broadcasting, policy, practice and the promotion of para-sport.  Channel 4, which will broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games later this year, stated that BU’s research will “underpin… future coverage of the Paralympics”. The insights from the research data will also frame the decision-making of Paralympics GB, the governing body for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team at the Paralympics. BU also collaborated with UK Sport to develop the UK Sport Public Attitudes Survey, focusing on public attitudes towards para-sport, the Paralympics, and media coverage of such events. The research team’s analysis of the initial results has helped shape UK Sport’s approach to parasport events, enabling them to “explore territory that we had never specifically entered into before and enhanced our knowledge accordingly”.

Charity Impact Funding Panel

This week, our series of blog posts focus on the internal funding panels. Today’s post shares some insights from the Charity Impact Funding Panel.


About the Charity Impact Funding Panel


The Charity Impact Funding Panel was established in Spring 2019 to support the development of collaborations with charities and associated impact development as documented in the BU2025 Research Principles.


Over 30 projects have been awarded funding during this time where the purpose of the funding is to:

  • Increase engagement with charities in order to further the impact of BU’s research
  • To increase the amount of research undertaken collaboratively with charities
  • Encourage future funding bids with charitable partners.


The Panel is Chaired by Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, with Dr Fiona Cownie as Deputy Chair.


Funded Projects

The Charity Impact Funding Panel have funded a wide variety of projects including small scale travel budgets to visit charity partners.


Here are excellent examples of research in action with charity partners from funded projects:


  • Catherine Gutmann Roberts (FST) and her team created a report titled “Fish movements in the River Severn basin, a multi species approach in an era of restoration”. This report was sent to the charity partner, Severn Rivers Trust. The report brings together movement analysis of 5 fish species that has been carried out by 3 PhD students over the last 5 years. The funding enabled Catherine and her team to hire one of the post-PhD students to create code to analyse all 5 species and to format the large datasets into a comparable format. This was the first collaborative grant that Catherine had managed with both internal and external partners and she learnt about leadership during the process. Due to Covid-19 and the shutdown of campus at a critical time in the project, the team were not able to deliver the digital animations that they had hoped BU students would create. However, they have since secured external funding to carry this out.


  • Dr Anna Feigenbaum (FST) adapted her original project plan due to Covid19 and with complementary Research Impact funding, Anna and her team delivered a number of projects including; Care in the time of COVID-19. This project produced a series of graphics with design partners, community partners and academic partners.


  • Professor Amanda Korstjens (FST) and her team completed a project titled Monitoring Tropical Forest Wildlife Recovery. The project changed a lot due to the pandemic, however despite this, the team still delivered excellent outcomes, including working in partnership with a charity partner to develop acoustic recording systems suitable for high quality bioacoustics recordings under the demanding conditions of the Indonesian Forest. Hardware & software details have been published open access.


Future of the Charity Impact Fund

The Panel are expecting to launch an open call in the 2021/22 academic year subject to funding. The planned open call for this year was unfortunately postponed due to Covid19 delays, however if you do have an idea of working with a charity and want to develop this further before the summer, please do contact us to discuss your idea as it may fit in with the HEIF small fund.


Research Impact Funding Panel

This week, our series of blog posts focus on the internal funding panels. Today’s post shares some insights from the Research Impact Funding Panel.

About the Research Impact Funding Panel

The Research Impact Funding Panel was established in Spring 2019 to support the development of impact and to gather evidence of the impact of BU’s research, in line with the BU2025 Research Principles.

Over 50 projects have been funded across three strands:

  1. To support the development of new research partnerships and networks, to lay the groundwork for future research projects.
  2. To provide support for emerging impact from existing underpinning research.
  3. For the development of impact case studies for REF2021.

The Panel is chaired by Professor Dinusha Mendis, with Dr John Oliver as Deputy Chair.

Funded projects

The Research Impact Funding Panel have funded a wide variety of projects, ranging from £10,000 for larger scale activities to just a hundred pounds for travel and networking.

Team based approaches

Successful projects have embodied BU’s research principle of developing teams, with 94% of funded projects including internal and/or external partners. For example, Amanda Korstjens (FST) worked with colleagues from BU’s Department of Life and Environmental Sciences and Department for Creative Technology, BU MRes and PhD students, as well as charities and community groups in Indonesia to create science-based artworks to assist local communities to curtail forest degradation and wildlife killing, and develop tourism engagement activities. You can read more about the project here.

Impact development

Almost half of the funded projects have contributed to impact case studies for BU’s REF 2021 submission, and the funding received has helped to increase the quality of the case studies. Here are just a few examples of how research impact funding has supported our REF impact case studies:

  • Ann Luce from FMC used funding to create the Suicide Reporting Toolkit for Journalists and Journalism Educators which is now used by journalists worldwide.
  • Jane Murphy from FHSS used funding to incorporate her research findings into a new resource developed by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), and to disseminate at the NACC Training and Development Forum.  As a result, the recommendations from Jane’s research are now being used by the catering sector in the provision of food and nutritional care.
  • Vasilis Katos from FST and Maurizio Borghi from FMC used funding in to work with colleagues from the EU Intellectual Property Office to produce software tools to complement and accompany the Law Enforcement Guide for Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) investigations, resulting in increased visibility and use of the guide.

The Research Impact Fund has also supported many fantastic examples of emerging impact. Anita Diaz (FST) and her interdisciplinary team, have used funding to work collaboratively with the National Trust to create a Habitat Management Spatial Database for the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve (NNR). Relationships were built with Purbeck Heaths NNR Management Steering Group and the Wild Purbeck Partnership to facilitate use of the database among the wider community of conservation organisations and land managers. Over the coming years, this will benefit the conservation management and monitoring of the nationally important Purbeck Heath’s NNR.

External funding

Several of the funded projects have been successfully awarded external funding, following initial internal funding from the Research Impact Fund. For example, Anna Feigenbaum (FMC) was awarded UKRI/AHRC funding for a project entitled “Comics in the time of COVID-19” which built on the initial projects enabled by the Research Impact fund.

 Future of the Research Impact Fund

The Research Impact Fund has now reached the end of its agreed three-year funding. This continuation of the Fund will be considered as part of the development of the next three-year plan for research development (2021-2024).

Research impact at BU: a citizen science dementia project & action against financial scamming

First in a series of posts looking at BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021. (The full impact case studies will be published on the REF website summer 2022.)

The impact of the Sea Hero Quest app on public awareness of, and engagement with, ageing and dementia research

Research areas: Psychology, Health & Social Care

Staff conducting research: Professor Jan Wiener, Professor Anthea Innes, Dr Sarah Muir, Dr Shanti Shanker, Dr Ramona Grzeschik

Background: BU’s Wayfinding Lab has developed a deep understanding of how ageing, both typical and atypical, affects the cognitive processes involved in spatial recognition. Professor Wiener’s expertise in the design of navigation tasks, environments and experimental levels was used in the design of a mobile gaming app, ensuring it could track age-related changes in navigational abilities.

The impact:  The Sea Hero Quest app encouraged users to navigate complex virtual seascapes. In the process, they provided data on their own wayfinding ability and learned how it is affected by typical/atypical ageing. It reached more than 4.3 million users in 194 countries, making it one of the most successful citizen science projects ever conducted. The app established the value of BU laboratory research in the real world; raised awareness of spatial disorientation in atypical ageing and the importance of research in overcoming it; triggered diagnostic innovation; and provided new commercial domains for gaming developers.

Safeguarding vulnerable adults from financial scams

Research area: Social Care

Staff conducting research: Professor Lee-Ann Fenge, Professor Keith Brown, Dr Sally Lee, Emily Rosenorn-Lanng, Davide Melacca

Background: BU’s National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work is widely regarded as the leader of research into financial scamming and fraud. Beginning with a grant from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) in 2015 to explore the extent of financial scams that target vulnerable individuals, Professors Brown and Fenge and their team then worked with Age UK, the London Borough of Croydon, CTSI’s National Scams team, the Royal Mail, and the Burdett Trust for Nursing, as well as the victims of scamming and their families.

The impact: Based on its research, BU developed key learning resources, which have been distributed nationally, raised awareness of scamming, and increased the protection of vulnerable groups. Nationwide charities, local authorities, the NHS, financial institutions and government all use BU’s research and materials to protect vulnerable people from being defrauded, helping to save consumers from scams worth more than £22 million.

Next post: the media representation of para-athletes & protecting the right to use parody.




Celebrating BU’s impact case studies for REF 2021!

Behind the headline figure of 47 impact case studies BU submitted to REF 2021 is several years’ preparation: a ‘light touch’ exercise in 2015, a stocktake in 2017-18, an impact review in 2018, two full Mock Exercises in 2019 and 2020, and a further adhoc review last November. The number of case studies submitted to the 2020 Mock was actually 73 – illustrating the fact that an even larger pool of researchers was involved in the process of honing BU’s impact submission.

Impact is for life, not just REF

Inevitably,  impact case study teams heaved a huge sigh of relief once the button was pushed on REF 2021, but impact exists beyond REF, and, of course, existed before it. As Fast Track Impact’s Mark Reed puts it, ‘impact is the good that researchers can do in the world’. With that in mind, we will be showcasing BU’s impact case studies on the Research blog over the coming weeks. As well as acknowledging the hard work that went into producing them, and highlighting the breadth of BU’s research, we hope this series of posts will also provide insight and inspiration for researchers at all stages of their careers.

What exactly is an impact case study?

A 5-page document, comprising:

  1. A 100-word pithy summary of the impact achieved.
  2. A 500-word section describing the research underpinning the impact.
  3. 6 research outputs, referenced in the section above, which directly link to the impact.
  4. A 750-word narrative that details the impact/s achieved.
  5. 10 pieces of evidence to corroborate the impact claims, in the form of independent factual sources, testimonial letters etc.

… and all conveyed in a style as accessible to the lay reader, as to the expert in the field.

Next post: 1) how BU research informed one of the largest citizen science projects ever conducted; and 2) helped save consumers from more than £22m in scams.

HEIF Small Fund – Round 2 Open For Applications

Bournemouth University has a small amount of funding available to facilitate and enhance research and development collaboration with external partners.

The purpose of the funding is to:

  • Enhance external collaborative engagements with industry partners to further the development of innovative projects
  • Increase the amount of available funds for research undertaken collaboratively with external partners to patent innovations, enhance technology readiness levels and/or commercialisation
  • Encourage future funding bids (such as from Innovate UK) with external partners

There is flexibility in the way that the fund can be used, provided that a strong case can be made, and the assessment criteria are met. Funding could be used in various ways, for example for consumables, staff, and for travel/events/meetings, where restrictions allow.

All funding will need to be spent by 31 July 2021.

Eligibility/What we can fund

The HEIF Small Fund is open to all researchers across Bournemouth University, including those who are already working with industry partners and those who would like to build up new networks. In particular, the panel would welcome the following types of applications:

  • Projects of up to £5,000 which will either facilitate new relationships with external partners or build on existing research collaborations with external partners, support initial prototyping, project/product feasibility and/or market research.
  • Subject to the lifting of current restrictions, small travel grants of up to £500 to help facilitate relationship development with organisations. This could be travelling to potential partner sites or networking/funding briefing events Please note, the HEIF Funding Panel will not fund applications relating to conferences.

Due to the nature of this fund, we particularly welcome applications;

  • from Early Career Researchers (ECRs)
  • that incorporate social sciences and humanities
  • that demonstrate research interdisciplinarity

In line with BU2025, we will positively encourage applications from under-represented groups.

Application process

To apply, please read the guidance and complete the application form

Applications must be submitted to heif@bournemouth.ac.uk

Applications will be reviewed by the HEIF Funding Panel (see Panel Information below), with recommendations submitted to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC) monthly. Once a decision has been made, this will be communicated to applicants. We aim to confirm the outcomes within two to three weeks of the closing date for that month.

The closing dates for each monthly assessment are as follows:

  • Wednesday 14 April
  • Wednesday 12 May
  • Wednesday 16 June

BU’s Funding Panels and Research Principles

The following funding panels operate to prioritise applications for funding and make recommendations to the Research Performance and Management Committee (RPMC).

There are eight funding panels:

  1. HEIF Funding Panel
  2. GCRF Funding Panel
  3. Research Impact Funding Panel
  4. Doctoral Studentship Funding Panel
  5. ACORN Funding Panel
  6. Research Fellowships Funding Panel
  7. Charity Impact Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles

The following BU2025 Principles are most relevant to the HEIF Panel:

  • Principle 1 – which recognises the need to develop teams
  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels

If you have any questions please email heif@bournemouth.ac.uk

Call for Topic Specialists

Wanted: topic specialists for a new social impact observatory

The International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) is a new collaboration of UK academic institutions and other global networks, established to help policymakers throughout the UK address the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IPPO is now seeking to develop a network of topic specialists who can advise on, review and author IPPO’s various content streams – ranging from blogs and ‘rapid answers’ to in-depth evidence briefs and systematic reviews.

If you wish to join the IPPO topic specialist network, or sign up for its newsletter and other communications, colleagues should fill in this short survey  by 30 April.

HEIF – the final instalment

HEIF – the final instalment

(This is literally just the title to highlight the end of this blog series, not the end of HEIF)

When writing these blog posts, I wasn’t expecting them to turn into a trilogy from the planned double feature, but here we are.


In this third instalment of knowledge exchange and HEIF related stories, I’m going to share with you some potential project ideas and examples of HEIF projects from other institutions.


The small fund is for getting a KE project started or concluding a KE project.

  • Do you have an idea but need a business to collaborate with and are unsure how to do this?
  • Do you think you have a great project idea but don’t know what market opportunities there are (if any!)?
  • Do you have a business contact who is keen to work with you, but they do not have the available funding for consultancy?
  • Are you working with a charity and need a big of funding to get your project to the next stage?
  • Are you seeking public engagement ideas or projects?

If ANY of these apply to you directly or are similar situations that you have been in, get in touch.


To give some examples as to how different institutions use their HEIF funding, here are some ideas and links to searchable projects:

At the University of Southampton, their HEIF allocation as funded projects such as; Video Game Photography: An Examination of Reflective Gameplay, Participation and Responsible Innovation for Co-Design for Exchange and Digital Police Officer: Linguistic Analysis to Identify Cybercriminals.


The University of Winchester have funded projects such as; Stormbreak: inspiring movement for positive mental health in primary school and HELP (Health Enhancing Lifestyle Programme) Hampshire Stroke Clinic. Further information on these projects can be found here.


The University of Surrey have invested some of their HEIF funds into a Living Lab. This approach to user-centred research and open innovation already has a string of achievements since it’s conception in November 2019 and has funded a series of small collaborative projects in areas such as environmental behaviour and community regeneration.


The University of Sussex refocused some of their HEIF funding on Covid-19 relief to their local area where possible, as did the University of Liverpool.


Do get in touch to discuss your KE project and how HEIF might be able to help you.


As a further note, a specific Proof of Concept strand will be available shortly, please do look out for information on this.


Call for researchers with disabilities to engage with Parliament

Parliament aims to diversify the voices heard from the research community. Researchers with disabilities are under-represented in engagement with Parliament and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is aiming to change this. (Note – they cover all disciplines not just science and technology.)  In February 2021 POST are running online discussion groups to learn about the experiences and ideas of researchers with experience of disability. They aim to explore and understand barriers for researchers with disabilities in engaging with Parliament, and work towards overcoming these. POST are calling for researchers and knowledge exchange professionals with disabilities to join with the UK Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit and to share their experience. The groups will take place on 18th, 23rd and 24th February 2021.  Find out more and apply to join a session.

This activity is part of ongoing work to support more diverse and inclusive engagement between UK Parliament and researchers, from Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit.