Tagged / networking

Joining _connect could really help you build networks

Why you should join _connect

So the name ‘ _connect’ is a little awkward I admit, but this platform( run by the Technology Strategy Board) can provide an opportunity  for you to collaborate online, network and share knowledge with other innovators.  The site is branded as ‘the UK’s online open innovation network of networks’. Over half a million global visitors a year (from business, academia and government) access the site to fund information, keep updated on events and make new contacts to help them in their careers. Some of our academics are already using the site and find it really useful.

When it comes to EU funding, you cannot network enough so why not spend 5 mins creating a free account and test it out?

Sign up

Click on the Register button on the left hand side of the page. The system will guide you through creating your account. Once you have registered, you will be sent an activation email; follow the link in this email to activate your account then you can begin to build up your profile; letting other _connect members know about you, and you can also find members with similar interests and skills.



Create a profile

You can choose as much or as little detail as you like to go in your profile. The more you put in, the more people who you connect with on this platform will be able to understand your knowledge and skills. You can also amend what is visible publically, to members of the site and also have all of your details hidden. Click on the ‘My profile’ option on the left hand side menu when you are logged in.

You can list your employment, education, skills and interests, your websites, blogs and contact details.  You can also upload any documents of interest to you or items you have published.







Join relevant networks and groups

Signing up gives you access to join a range of Special Interest groups, KT Networks and other member communities.

You will get relevant industry events, new sand funding opportunities delivered by emails by signing up for one of the groups and you can  amend your options for notifications of activity to suit you.

Take a look at the list of networks under ‘Find Networks and select ‘join this network’. If you stuill aren’t convinced about setting up a profile, have a look at the list below of the availbel networks and see if any take your fancy. You can also set up your own network – perfect

The type of information and frequency depends on the groups themselves; some are more active than others, some more funding focused than others and some more network focused than others. Why not join all those you could be interested in, and leave at a later date if you feel they aren’t helpful…


Find organisations

It’s really simple to find organisations on the site, there is a tab with an entire list of them and also a search function. You can choose to follow them to see their activity, or get in direct contact with them.






There is a handy function which allows you to receive info when activity in your network has taken place on a daily or weekly basis and also an option to have all notifications disabled. This can be found under ‘Account Settings’.

EU funding available in the hard sciences for research, networking, visits and conference attendance

FP7 Artemis call for proposals: Funding supports industry-driven research projects in the field of embedded computing systems which aim to design, develop and deploy interoperable, cost-effective, powerful safe and secure electronics and software systems. The budget for this call is approximately €138.73 million and the financial contribution of the programme will be 16.7 per cent of eligible costs. Projects are expected to last for up to three years. Closing date 06.09.12

ESF Research conferences scheme: Grants support high-level research conferences lasting for three to four days in ESF member organisation countries. Closing date 15.09.12

 ESF Earthtime – the European contribution short visit and exchange grants: Grants should foster collaboration between European researchers working on topics relevant to geochronology and stratigraphy. Short visit grants provide €85 per day over a maximum of two weeks. Exchange grants provide €400 per week over a maximum of three months. Both awards provide actual travel expenses, worth up to €500. No deadline.

Got Latin American contacts? Then this funding could be for you!

ENLACE Call Funds Networking and Proposal Writing Activities between EU and Latin American Researchers:The third Call for proposals under the ENLACE (Enhancing Scientific Co-operation between the European Union and Central America) travel grant scheme is now open. The Call will close on 10 May 2012. The aim of ENLACE is to promote exchange between Central American and European researchers as well as to encourage contacts between research institutions for joint participation in FP7.  An ENLACE grant enables a group of European and Latin American researchers to organise networking activities or joint proposal writing, which includes proposal preparation for the upcoming FP7 calls. The scheme allows researchers to stay in Central America or the EU for up to 30 days in order to prepare a project proposal together. In addition to networking and proposal writing activities, the grantees are expected to visit, during their stay, additional research institutions of their thematic interest (but within one of the thematic FP7 areas).

Twitter has a lot to offer academics!

We’ve previously added posts about the benefits of using Twitter in academia (you can read theme here: Twitter posts). A recent post by Mark Carrigan on the LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences Blog outlines what academics can get out of using Twitter and why the academic twittersphere is no different from presenting to an audience.

Mark asked his Twitter followers “why do you find Twitter useful as an academic?”, and responses included:

  • Quick answers to questions on things like … where do I find this tool or that tool ..  (@rjhogue)
  • We discuss concepts (@Annlytical)
  • There are people who are practicing what I’m researching academically and give me a reality check (@Annlytical)
  • Twitter is brilliant for keeping up with things, networking, finding new ideas, people’s blogs and publications (@BenGuilbaud)
  • meeting new people (in all disciplines), academic support, public engagement, increased visibility, filtered news (@Martin_Eve)
  • What Martin said. I think you already saw this but it’s the Prezi I made for grad students http://bit.ly/uK05VM (@qui_oui)
  • Also, I’ve found Twitter useful for augmenting F2F academic conferences, extending the conversations (@JessieNYC)
  • Twitter is incredibly useful 2 me as an academic 4 many reasons, perhaps chiefly curating the ideal academic dept  (@JessieNYC)
  • Twitter’s unique advantage is that very quickly allows me to spread word of my work to non-academic audiences (@elebelfiore)
  • Keeps me up-to-the-minute with news in my field ie; policy issues, and connects me to conferences/other academics (@DonnaBramwell)
  • connects me to other delegates at conferences, allows me to interact with students in lectures, keeps me uptodate (@timpaa)
  • We trade references for research (@annlytical)
  • great source of information & resources wouldn’t have found otherwise (@nicklebygirl)
  • Twitter makes it possible for me to engage with global community even though I now live in Australia & am #altac (@katrinafee)
  • a PhD can be very isolated so I think twitter is a great way to meet people who can help and give advice (@CET47)

Academics all over the world are turning to Twitter to support their research and are finding the service extremely useful. Read Mark’s full story and our previous Twitter posts to find out how to start using Twitter, meeting new people, estblishing / joining networks, promoting your research and increasing its visibility, and keeping ahead of the game.

You can read Mark’s full story here – Support, engagement, visibility and personalised news: Twitter has a lot to offer academics if we look past its image problem

If any of you are already using Twitter to enhance your research and knowledge exchange activities, we’d love you to share your experiences with your colleagues via the Blog!

Find collaborators online with citeulike

citeulike is a free service which you can use to store, organize and share papers you are reading. When you see an interesting paper, you can click one button and have it added to your personal library (the citation details are automatically extracted and it works from your web browser so you don’t need to install anything).You can then access your library from any internet related device, as it is stored in an online server.

A real selling point with citeulike I think is the ability to share your library with others and groups, and find out who is reading the same papers as you. Identifying people with similar research interests is a great way to start to network.Another advantage to library sharing is the possibility to discover literature which is relevant to your field but you may not have known about.

citeulike is really intuitive but also has loads of online guides, so why not start having a look now…?

Reflections on a conference – challenging your own assumptions

In January I presented at the Eighth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability which took place in Vancouver. The conference focuses on the idea that sustainability is best understood in a holistic way. 

When you go to a conference it is too easy to get caught up in anxiety about delivering your own paper, at this conference I was determined to maximise my learning opportunities (and be relaxed about my paper) so crammed in as many sessions as I could.  I made a lot of contacts; I also learned so much which challenged my own thinking, even more so because the conference is multi –disciplinary and very inclusive. I attended sessions ranging from economic models for sustainability, campus initiatives, social and cultural implications, and perspectives from art, sociology, engineering and literature. 

It was great to have my assumptions challenged about US perspectives in relation to carbon and the environment (it is too easy to see the USA as a carbon guzzler). It was also interesting to see the ‘political’ arise in academic debate (Republican views v Democratic) with subsequent falling out!

Many USA and Canadian universities are aiming for zero carbon by 2050. Some are aiming for zero waste by 2020. They all want to grow by up to 30% so new buildings are being conceptualised which are carbon neutral from the outset. Canada may have pulled back from Kyoto but their universities are forging ahead with SD. There were some exciting presentations and lots of new things to think about. 

What struck me particularly, apart from ‘we need to up our game here’  was learning what sustainable development means from a Southern perspective and the impossible task confronted by developing countries who are trying to secure economic sustainability but struggling with climate change, and struggling with the pollution  left as a result of western activities and needs. In the Niger Delta it will take 25-30 years to clean up the pollution left by oil companies and cost 1bn (UNEP, 2011). Oil accounts for 80% of Nigeria’s revenue but the benefits are not being felt – the region is characterised by conflict. I did not know that they flare off their gas for starters. I had not realised the extent to which the wetland and coastal marine eco-system was being contaminated. I also had not realised that so many water projects have been abandoned in Nigeria, that individuals are often forced to drill their own bore holes (and fight for water). In Sub Saharan Africa 4000-6000 children die each day as a result of water born diseases. 

I came away from the conference fired up to take action but wanting to share a couple of points:

  • Don’t be so focused on your own perspective that you forget to really listen to others.
  • Don’t be so focused on getting your own paper over, to the extent that you reduce the opportunity to learn and develop networks
  • A multi-disciplinary focus really stimulates new thinking – while we are each working in our respective disciplines and research themes, it is important to seek opportunities to share with those who may seem different/more difficult to work with than those who have a similar world view- you might learn more from the challenge and develop new ideas.

Please contact me if you would like to hear more about the conference.

Chris Shiel, Associate Professor, Centre for Global Perspectives

PGR students – interested in some funding to travel?

Santander provides BU with funding for research students or staff to travel to universities in the Santander overseas network to work on a specific piece of work and develop links.  There are 4 x £5000 scholarships available with a deadline of 9th December.

This is an excellent opportunity to travel to other countries such as the USA or South America and enhance your PhD by working with international researchers in your field and potentially enhancing your future career by developing international networks.  Priority is given to research students and early career researchers.

Details on how to apply are available in this earlier blog post.

It takes two to tango…

Having only recently completed a grant application for the ESRC’s Knowledge Exchange programme, the challenges of finding and then keeping suitable partners with whom to “tango” is fresh in my mind. One of the primary challenges is the ability to explain in plain English to prospective business partners what Funder terminology actually means. There then follows the need to explain what lies behind the potential award of funding, before then having to clarify full economic costing (never an easy task at the best of times) and associated acronyms that mystify all those outside (and some inside) academia. Thereafter comes the rigour and intimate detail of the application form which baffles most businesses (especially those seeking KTPs) followed by an explanation of the demands of the post-award reporting requirements.

All in all, much of this is straightforward …. to us!! For business partners, however, it often represents a whole new and somewhat mysterious world that if not careful in your articulation of what it all means, may result in the loss of your partner at any time throughout the completion of the application. In addition to a very clear explanation of what the process of bidding entails, those businesses most likely to dance with you are those that you know very well. Very few businesses (probably understandably) enter into such bids from a cold call so building long-term, sustainable two-way partnerships early in your career is pivotal to bidding in later years when you are less nervous about asking for that dance…

Get your own business cards!

Last month I attended the GrantCraft: Research Workshop Day that Corrina arranged and which many of you attended. The session, facilitated by Dr Martin Pickard, was a huge success and we will definitely be inviting Martin back to run a similar workshop at BU again.

During the ‘Impact and Benefits’ session the importance of business cards in establishing academic networks was discussed, and I was surprised to note that less than 10% of the audience already have cards.

The Vitae website notes that business cards are essential in establishing academic networks, and that networks enable researchers to:

  • create a professional image
  • exchange information and keep up-to-date with new developments
  • identify potential areas for collaboration
  • establish disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional and cross-sector groups
  • get published

With this is mind the Research Development Unit has funding available to purchase some business cards for academics who need them. If you’d like some business cards then let us know and we’ll see what we can do! Email us at researchunit@bournemouth.ac.uk

Out and About…

Prof Alan Fyall, Deputy Dean (Research and Enterprise) in the School of Tourism, reflects on how unstructured networking can benefit academic careers…

Continuing the theme of “talking to strangers”, first raised in the post by Dr Julie Robson on 10 May (Talk to Strangers), I remain a strong advocate of simply getting out and about so you are in a position to actually meet strangers in the first place. Julie is right in referring to networking as deliberate and planned and is right to suggest that clear objectives need to be set at the outset and then followed up. At an early stage of your career, however, I am a strong advocate of simply getting out, be it in the real or virtual world (http://www.academia.edu/ is a good place to start),  as unless “out there” you will never meet strangers and never migrate to networking.

To this day, I remain the very best of friends with colleagues from Edinburgh Napier and Aberystwyth universities having first met them at a late-night encounter at a conference dinner in Newcastle in the mid 1990s. Since then, we have written numerous papers and published four books together while we are currently in the process of writing some new material for the forthcoming REF. One of the books authored is on the theme of Collaboration which quite simply relates to autonomous organisations working together to meet a common goal. All the processes, structures of governance and detailed plans developed to achieve these common goals are virtually guaranteed to fail unless those collaborating get on personally ….. a little like the current coalition government but the less said about them the better!

It is too easy to remain in our offices and too complacent of us to accept that opportunities will simply appear be it to write a paper or be part of an application for a research grant. My advice is to escape the office on a regular basis, mingle with staff either in your own School or beyond, enjoy a chat over coffee or even register for that workshop, conference or event that you keep telling yourself you are too busy to attend. Getting out and about and communicating with your colleagues either at BU or further afield can lead to new friendships and hopefully a co-authored paper or two, a  joint research seminar or if you are really lucky a grant application. One of my best “chance encounters” occurred on a work trip to Malaysia back in 2007 when I shared a taxi from the airport in Kuala Lumpur to the centre of the city with the former Director of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda. In the space of 40 minutes we discussed the state of tourism in the Caribbean and sketched out a PhD proposal while at the same time agonising over which schools to send our respective children. To this day my “KL Taxi” acquaintance remains a good friend and in her new position in the Caribbean is no longer a “stranger” but someone who is a strong advocate of BU, an employer of our students, a conduit to professional international networks and …… a potential co-author and PhD candidate when the pressure of work subsides!

Professor Alan Fyall

Deputy Dean Research & Enterprise

School of Tourism

Talk to strangers…

Dr Julie Robson, Director of Enterprise in the Business School, reflects on the benefits of talking to strangers…

The ‘top ten tips to ..’ lists seem to be everywhere these days.  Tops ten tips to live longer, be happier, healthier and to find your ideal partner. One list that I came across recently in the business section of one of the Sunday newspapers promised to provide the reader with ten ways to be successful at work. Most of us have seen these lists before and to be honest the advice, although perhaps sound, was somewhat predictable:  i.e., deliver solutions rather than problems, be positive at work, be prepared to go the extra mile, etc.  The one tip that did stand out from the rest invited the reader to talk to strangers. This one probably stood out most as from a young age it’s the very thing we are advised against. Strangers are after all dangerous aren’t they? The rationale for talking to strangers was simply the more people you talk to the more you widen your list of contacts and knowledge of others and how they see the world.  Whilst I’m not necessarily advocating that we all go out and talk to strangers, in many ways talking to strangers is really just networking, albeit networking is more structured in terms of planning ahead, having a clear objective and following up afterwards.

networkingCould good networking then be the secret to being a successful academic? On reflection it’s a good way to identify new ideas, new ways to transfer knowledge to a wider audience and new partners for bids  Maybe talking to strangers, or at least new people, is good advice after all.

Dr Julie Robson

Director of Enterprise and Acting Head of Marketing

The Business School

For further information on successful networking see these two articles:
How to develop successful networking skills in academia
How to create an academic network