Tagged / proposal writing

One last 1-2-1 Appointment available with Martin Pickard – Wednesday 5th March!

 

These appointments are generally offered to Grants Academy members only however we have 1 slot left. If you feel you would benefit from a ‘face to face’ meeting with Martin in relation to any bid/proposal you are currently working on please contact me Dianne Goodman  preferably today!

Martin currently has the following appointment available on the 5th of March at the following time in the EBC on Lansdowne Campus in Room EB603:

Morning

  • 10:00am – 10:45am

The appointments are approx 45 minutes long

Martin Pickard

With a career background in both Academia and Industry Dr. Martin Pickard of Grantcraft is a specialist in writing and supporting research grant applications and tenders as well as providing administrative and management support services for ongoing projects. During the last 20 years Martin has worked extensively across Europe with a large number of universities, and research institutes as well as industrial firms, ranging from small SME’s to major international companies.

Martin is providing individual 1-2-1 surgeries with any BU academic staff member and works individually and confidentiality with each Principal Investigator as the project is structured and prepared in order to optimize the application documentation from every aspect of the Funders perspective; guiding, steering and showing how to optimize the application throughout the bid process.

Academics at BU who have undertaken his guidance have stated:

 ‘his support and direction was invaluable – Martin gave me some pragmatic suggestions which really helped to shape the bid. His eye for detail made the document much easier to read and the message much clearer. I was very grateful for his input’  Assoc. Prof Heather Hartwell School of Tourism.

The process, although labour intensive, works; with a proven historical average success rates of close to 1 in 2 against norms of (1 in 8 to 1 in 10)

Book Now through me Dianne Goodman 

 

Next Grants Academy – apply by 12th of March for March/April session – only a few spaces left!

 

The Grants Academy has been described by members as ‘brilliant’, ‘excellent’, ‘extremely educational and stimulating’ and ‘very beneficial’. It has also increased bids submissions from members acting as a Principal Investigator by 41% and 20% as a co-Investigator. Members have significantly increased their funding successes too and obtained funding from organisations such as the AHRC, European Commission, ESRC, British Academy, English Heritage and Burdett Trust for Nursing.

How does the Academy work?  Members attend an initial two day training course off campus, facilitated by an external expert bid writer with a well-developed draft proposal. The training days will cover the art of proposal craftmanship, the rules of the writing game and other invaluable information to help you perfect your proposal during the days. Feedback on these days from existing members have been very positive,  ‘the workshop was the best I have ever attended’. 

Members can then further develop their proposal over a couple of weeks, gaining unlimited support from the external facilitator in doing so and the cohort re-gathers for a mock peer review panel of each other’s applications. This gives a unique insight into this process in a supportive environment and helps further refine the proposal. One member has described this session as ‘[I now have] profound insights in[to] how the system works…and to realize how that must be for professional reviewers’.

What other support is given? Throughout the 18 month membership of the Grants Academy, members benefit form UNLIMITED support from the external facilitator (and in some cases additional external reviewers) which has been invaluable in helping members secure external funding ‘[His] input enabled me to produce a clearer, more logical and convincing proposal. He also alerted me to issues I had not previously considered and encouraged me to think about ‘impact’ and value for the UK in new ways’.

Members also have bespoke assistance from R&KEO in finding funding and collaborators. They also have access to a library of successful proposals from BU, a travel grant (£250), guaranteed places on Funder visits organised for them and surgeries with external facilitators.

How do I apply? To apply for a place, please contact me Dianne Goodman and I will send you a Membership Agreement Form to be signed by you, your line manager and your DDRE. Applications close on Wednesday March 12th 2014 for the next training sessions due to take place on the: 24th and 25th of Mar and the 22nd Apr 2014

If there is a waiting list for spaces on the Grants Academy due to its success and you will be added to this if no places are available on the next cohort. If you find that you are unable to make these dates you may find it helpful to know that we have 1 further Grants Academy session which will be held on the:

12th and 13th of May and the 9th of Jun 2014

You are welcome to apply and register for the next Grants Academy session (March/April) or the session listed above (May/June) and we are happy to put your name on our list for a future session provided you can confirm at the time of applying that you have blocked out these dates in your calendar and we receive your application signed by your line manager and DDRE.

What’s the small print? When making your application, you must ensure that you are available for the 3 dates in their entirety. Membership is only obtained once all training days have been attended. Obligations of membership are that at least one proposal for external funding must be submitted within the first six months of membership. As the training days are attended with a draft proposal, this should be obtainable. Within 18 months at least three proposals for external funding must have been submitted. Failure to meet these obligations will lead to membership being revoked.

If you have any questions about the Grants Academy please get in contact with Dianne Goodman (scheme administrator) or Rebecca Edwards (scheme manager).

Grants Academy Next Workshops – Deadline for your Application to join for the March/April Sessions – 12th March 2014 – get yourself booked in today – only a few spaces left!!

Grants Academy Diary – Day Two

After completing my homework, I arrived for day two of Grants Academy ready to watch my ‘one page proposal’ get ripped apart. Day one provided a new bag of tricks and background knowledge on funding bodies and their remits. Yet, rather than feeling more confident, I seemed to have developed a sudden outbreak of academic imposture syndrome. Taking a seat around our workshop table, I quickly realised I wasn’t alone. It seemed most of us participating in the Academy went home for a round of self-doubt:  Did our research really have any benefits? Were there enough people in our research networks? Do any of us actually have the skills (or time!) to coordinate a major research project?

Day two’s session was focused on locating benefits and articulating impact. Facilitator Martin Pickard once again dove right into the murky grant-writing world: The days of academic freedom are long gone. The only way to win funding is to wade into the dark waters and train for competition.

Our first job of the day was to learn how to uncover and articulate the outward-facing values of our research. While many of us in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities fear that impact must be financial, Martin showed us RCUK’s list of possible beneficiaries and impacts to diversify our thinking. These include the environment, health, society and citizenship among others. While all bids must clearly identify impacts to beneficiaries, our job is to ‘potentially impact,’ not to promise world change. Most of our research is making a minor contribution to a bigger problem. The task then is to make a strong case for the minor contributions we make.

To examine how an impact agenda reshapes the ways we present our projects, we workshopped Dr. Hywel Dix’s research proposal. Hywel and his collaborators are bidding for a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant for a pilot study. Their research plan proposes to re-evaluate the tacit assumptions that work produced by contemporary authors late in their career is of inferior quality to their earlier work.

Martin put Hywel on the hot seat, asking him to identify impacts and beneficiaries.  At first it seemed difficult to think about this English literature project through the business-oriented language of impact agendas. But through collaborative brainstorming we came up with concrete ways groups of people would potentially benefit from Hywel and his team’s research:

Beneficiaries – Re-evaluating Literary Production in Later Life

  • Academic: scholars in literary studies
  • Cultural sector: contributes a new evaluative framework for making aesthetic judgement around authors work (i.e. impact prize competitions, Arts Council grants)
  • Students/Teachers: inform ways canonical literature is selected for curriculum and testing
  • People in later life:  placing value on these literary productions has the potential to impact people in later life with dementia and Alzheimer’s as writing and reading improves health and wellbeing

After lunch it was time for the dreaded peer reviews of our ‘one page proposal’ homework. Working in the silos of our own departments, on a day-to-day basis we rarely exchange ideas with colleagues across schools. As Communication Scholars read a Computer Science bid and a Business researchers evaluated a Social Work proposal, we realised what it takes to write clearly and convincingly outside our comfort zones. Having seven pairs of interdisciplinary eyes on each of our proposals was terrifying but invaluable. The peer review highlighted the importance of Martin’s advice to give reviewers exactly what they want to see. Use the remit and criteria to structure your arguments so a reviewer does not need to search through the document with a fine tooth comb to find key elements.

The peer review also pushed us to explain the basic tenants of our research. We easily come to take the big picture of our research for granted, when this is often what actually needs the most justification in our proposals.  We are accustomed to disciplinary conferences and peer review journals where we argue the fine points of theory, method and approach. While this does belong in the application to show rigour and expertise, without a clear case for why our research matters, we can’t win.

Anna Feigenbaum is a Lecturer in the Media School. As part of her CEMP Fellowship she is creating a diary of her time at the Grants Academy.  You can read here Day One Diary post here

Grants Academy Diary – Day One

For most of us the world of grant-making elicits more fear than inspiration. Like many colleagues, I struggle to keep up with the ever-changing cycles of remits, impact guidelines and highlight notices. Carving out the time to write a journal article already feels like a feat. So it is difficult to imagine spending months writing a document that will never be published, to enter into a competition with 1 in 12 success rate. But, whether we like it or not, the reality of budget cuts, promotion tracks and ever-growing data sets has made grant-writing an essential component of research activity.

While I’d like to claim enthusiasm brought me to the Grants Academy, it was more this ambivalent combination of frustration, fear and facing reality. Grants Academy is a staff development programme on bid writing offered to us by R&KE OPs.  After acceptance, an 18-month long membership kicks off with a two day intensive training workshop providing background knowledge and strategies for bid development. The workshop is currently run by Dr. Martin Pickard, a highly experienced and trained consultant.

Arriving at our first session, Martin began by exploiting our fears and delivering some harsh truths: Grant writing is a competition. Funding bodies are businesses. We have to sell our research. For those of us academics who still carry a critique of the marketisation of Higher Education, these words are difficult to swallow. If there ever were good old days of scholarship for scholarship’s sake—they’re certainly over.

But, Martin reassured us after dramatic pause, this doesn’t mean we can’t do the research we want. It just means that if we want funding, we have to learn how to play the grant writing game. Like all competitions, to win we need to train.

Throughout the first day of the workshop we learnt a number of different skills, including how to: use grant language, structure our research projects into measurable tasks, and move from sounding interesting to sounding necessary. For one of our hands-on activities we were asked to write a 10 point summary of why we should get grant funding. Below I offer a glimpse into how much changed in just a few hours:

Here’s an excerpt from 10:30am:

This project is on less lethal weapons which are used on a daily basis around the world to quell protest and dissent.  There is a lack of information on the human and environmental impacts of less lethal weapons in real-world situations. Through a collaborative research network, the project bridges quantitative and qualitative methods, bringing together researchers with medical practitioners, lawyers, investigative journalists and humanitarian field workers.

By the end of the day, this was shaped into my Unique Selling Point (still a work in progress):

To respond to the need for more cross-sector knowledge exchange and publicly accessible information regarding the effects of less lethal technologies, this AHRC Research Network project brings together, for the first time, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers from Communications, Geography, Law, International Relations and Medical Sciences. Employing a stakeholder-oriented approach to research networking, the project is designed to connect academic researchers with those who regularly face the real-world impacts of less lethals on civilian populations: medical practitioners, security professionals, journalists and humanitarian field workers.

While it was a long day of attempting to move from interesting to necessary, there was plenty of caffeine and amusing anecdotes to get us through. Plus, in place of triangle sandwiches, we were treated to a hot lunch in lovely Green House Hotel dining room.

Anna Feigenbaum is a Lecturer in the Media School. As part of her CEMP Fellowship she is creating a diary of her time at the Grants Academy. 

Grants Academy book yourself into the Feb Sessions – Apply by Friday 24th of Jan !!

The Grants Academy has been described by members as ‘brilliant’, ‘excellent’, ‘extremely educational and stimulating’ and ‘very beneficial’. It has also increased bids submissions from members acting as a Principal Investigator by 41% and 20% as a co-Investigator. Members have significantly increased their funding successes too and obtained funding from organisations such as the AHRC, European Commission, ESRC, British Academy, English Heritage and Burdett Trust for Nursing.

How does the Academy work?  Members attend an initial two day training course off campus, facilitated by an external expert bid writer with a well-developed draft proposal. The training days will cover the art of proposal craftmanship, the rules of the writing game and other invaluable information to help you perfect your proposal during the days. Feedback on these days from existing members have been very positive  ‘the workshop was the best I have ever attended’. 

Members can then further develop their proposal over a couple of weeks, gaining unlimited support from the external facilitator in doing so and the cohort re-gathers for a mock peer review panel of each other’s applications. This gives a unique insight into this process in a supportive environment and helps further refine the proposal. One member has described this session as ‘[I now have] profound insights in[to] how the system works…and to realize how that must be for professional reviewers’.

What other support is given? Throughout the 18 month membership of the Grants Academy, members benefit form UNLIMITED support from the external facilitator (and in some cases additional external reviewers) which has been invaluable in helping members secure external funding ‘[His] input enabled me to produce a clearer, more logical and convincing proposal. He also alerted me to issues I had not previously considered and encouraged me to think about ‘impact’ and value for the UK in new ways’.

Members also have bespoke assistance from R&KEO in finding funding and collaborators. They also have access to a library of successful proposals from BU, a travel grant (£250), guaranteed places on Funder visits organised for them and surgeries with external facilitators.

How do I apply? To apply for a place, please contact me Dianne Goodman and I will send you a Membership Agreement Form to be signed by you, your line manager and your DDRE. Applications close on January 24th 2014 for the next training sessions due to take place on the: 3rd February, 4th February, 24 February 2014.

There is a waiting list for spaces on the Grants Academy due to its success and you will be added to this if no places are available on the next cohort. If you find that you are unable to make these dates you may find it helpful to know that we have 2 further Grants Academy sessions which will be held on the:

24th and 25th of Mar and the 22nd Apr 2014

12th and 13th of May and the 9th of Jun 2014

You are welcome to apply and register for one of the future Grants Academy sessions (either February or the sessions listed above) and we are happy to put your name on our list for a future session provided you can confirm at the time of applying that you have blocked out these dates in your calendar and we receive your application signed by your line manager and DDRE.

What’s the small print? When making your application, you must ensure that you are available for the 3 dates in their entirety. Membership is only obtained once all training days have been attended. Obligations of membership are that at least one proposal for external funding must be submitted within the first six months of membership. As the training days are attended with a draft proposal, this should be obtainable. Within 18 months at least three proposals for external funding must have been submitted. Failure to meet these obligations will lead to membership being revoked.

If you have any questions about the Grants Academy please get in contact with Dianne Goodman (scheme administrator) or Rebecca Edwards (scheme manager).

Grants Academy Next Workshops – Deadline for your Application to join for the Feb Sessions – 24th January 2014 – get yourself booked in today – a few spaces left!!

International, Interdisciplinary, Innovative: the AHRC brings grant bidding advice to BU

On January 20, 2014 Bournemouth University played host to a lunchtime visit from the AHRC. The funding advice seminar covered general information about the Arts & Humanities Research Council, as well as tips and advice on AHRC bid writing here at from BU. In the lead up to the AHRC visit, the BU Research Blog offered a great round up of key facts and figures. Reiterated at the event were the AHRC’s commitments to:

  • Influence public policy
  • Engage with the creative economy
  • Impact internationally
  • Increase their profile with public

The AHRC offers research grants, fellowship grants, network grants and a special international stream. Across all funding lines, international collaboration was stressed, as were innovation, interdisciplinary work and making a clear case that your planned output matches the target audience for your research agenda.

Our AHRC visitors also highlighted their focus on developing management and leadership skills for Early Career Researchers. If you are out of your PhD for less than 8 years or in an academic post for less than 6 years, you are eligible to apply for their ECR streams. While ECRs go through the same grant process, the success rate is higher, as the ‘bar’ for a fundable project rests below their standard streams.

The Pivotal Peer Review

The AHRC reps also gave valuable insight on the evaluation process. Every proposal is ranked on a 1-6 scale by a group of up to four peer reviewers, selected from their list of 1,000 senior academics. If your proposal includes technical components, such as developing a digital archive, it will additionally be reviewed by someone who knows the technologies you’re engaging.

If your proposal scores a 4 our higher by the majority of reviewers, you’ll make the second round. Here you’ll have a chance to respond to reviewer feedback and clarification questions. “Don’t underestimate the importance of this response,” we were told. The clarity and directness of your PI response can make your application a success.

Also illuminating the evaluation process, the reps from AHRC attempted to demystify the term “impact.” In recent years the notion of ‘impact’ has caused much controversy – especially in the arts and humanities. “Impact is not just economic,” they assured us. Influencing quality of life, public service, policy and creative output also count as impact. To figure out how to articulate the impact of your research, they advised us to “simply ask yourself who, what and how” people benefit from your research.

The AHRC reps also said to keep an eye out for highlight notices that feature key strategic research themes. These themes–currently, Care for the Future, Digital Transformations, Science in Culture, and Translating Cultures—are intentionally broad and intended to offer space for a wide range of research subjects and activities.

Improving our Bids at BU

Bringing their advice home, to end the seminar, the AHRC reps offered some excellent tips for improving our bid writing here at BU.

  • BU has 9 AHRC reviewers, let’s take advantage of their expertise and experience.
  • The BU research blog is full of grant writing advice and info on the grants academy
  • Our BU research office offers an internal review process, use it!
  • Check out the peer review college section of the AHRC website.
  • Give yourself 3 months to develop your bid from research to writing to final edits.
  • Don’t be too repetitive in the bid and watch your spelling!
  • Make sure your methods of dissemination are appropriate for your stakeholders.
  • The reviewers love to see clear timescales and ‘value for money
  • Always ask yourself: Is this the best way to do this research?
  • If you get to the PI response round, it is crucial and can move up your overall ranking.
  • Remember, it’s not just about having a great proposal, you’re in a big pool competing against other really good research.

 Added to this are a couple reflections I had from my perspective as an Early Career lecturer in the Media School, a CEMP fellow and Fusion Fund committee member:

  •  ‘Rise-Up Collaborations’ – Early Career Researchers can pair with senior academics as CIs for the AHRC’s various ECR strands. As emergent researchers, we are often scared of the ‘big bids’ and tempted to stay small or follow professors onto their large-scale research projects. The in-built collaborative nature of the AHRC ECR routes are a great opportunity to push forward with our own initiatives and lead a team, supported by more experienced CIs.
  •  ‘The Three I’s’ – International, Interdisciplinary and Innovative research tops the agenda of the AHRC. This means great opportunities to be thinking about projects both across Schools at BU and with international university’s we have MoUs and Erasmus partnerships with. These ‘three Is’ are also embedded in Fusion. Pump-priming SMN Fusion Grants could be a great place to initiate the early stages of an AHRC bid for those of us in the arts and humanities seeking to expand our research horizons.

Next Grants Academy Workshops – Deadline for your Application for Feb Sessions 24th January 2014 – Don’t miss out!!

 

The Grants Academy has been described by members as ‘brilliant’, ‘excellent’, ‘extremely educational and stimulating’ and ‘very beneficial’. It has also increased bids submissions from members acting as a Principal Investigator by 41% and 20% as a co-Investigator. Members have significantly increased their funding successes too and obtained funding from organisations such as the AHRC, European Commission, ESRC, British Academy, English Heritage and Burdett Trust for Nursing.

How does the Academy work?  Members attend an initial two day training course off campus, facilitated by an external expert bid writer with a well-developed draft proposal. The training days will cover the art of proposal craftmanship, the rules of the writing game and other invaluable information to help you perfect your proposal during the days. Feedback on these days from existing members have been very positive  ‘the workshop was the best I have ever attended’. 

Members can then further develop their proposal over a couple of weeks, gaining unlimited support from the external facilitator in doing so and the cohort re-gathers for a mock peer review panel of each other’s applications. This gives a unique insight into this process in a supportive environment and helps further refine the proposal. One member has described this session as ‘[I now have] profound insights in[to] how the system works…and to realize how that must be for professional reviewers’.

What other support is given? Throughout the 18 month membership of the Grants Academy, members benefit form UNLIMITED support from the external facilitator (and in some cases additional external reviewers) which has been invaluable in helping members secure external funding ‘[His] input enabled me to produce a clearer, more logical and convincing proposal. He also alerted me to issues I had not previously considered and encouraged me to think about ‘impact’ and value for the UK in new ways’.

Members also have bespoke assistance from R&KEO in finding funding and collaborators. They also have access to a library of successful proposals from BU, a travel grant (£250), guaranteed places on Funder visits organised for them and surgeries with external facilitators.

How do I apply? To apply for a place, please contact me Dianne Goodman and I will send you a Membership Agreement Form to be signed by you, your line manager and your DDRE. Applications close on January 24th 2014 for the next training sessions due to take place on the: 3rd February, 4th February, 24 February 2014.

There is a waiting list for spaces on the Grants Academy due to its success and you will be added to this if no places are available on the next cohort. If you find that you are unable to make these dates you may find it helpful to know that we have 2 further Grants Academy sessions which will be held on the:

24th and 25th of Mar and the 22nd Apr 2014

12th and 13th of May and the 9th of Jun 2014

You are welcome to apply and register for one of the future Grants Academy sessions (either February or the sessions listed above) and we are happy to put your name on our list for a future session provided you can confirm at the time of applying that you have blocked out these dates in your calendar and we receive your application signed by your line manager and DDRE.

What’s the small print? When making your application, you must ensure that you are available for the 3 dates in their entirety. Membership is only obtained once all training days have been attended. Obligations of membership are that at least one proposal for external funding must be submitted within the first six months of membership. As the training days are attended with a draft proposal, this should be obtainable. Within 18 months at least three proposals for external funding must have been submitted. Failure to meet these obligations will lead to membership being revoked.

If you have any questions about the Grants Academy please get in contact with Dianne Goodman (scheme administrator) or Rebecca Edwards (scheme manager).

Grants Academy Next Workshops – Deadline for your Application for Feb Sessions – 24th January 2014 – get yourself booked in today!!

Fifteen top tips for getting research funding

How can you increase your chances of being successful when applying for research funding? Here are a few ideas from an AHRC panel member (with thanks to AHRC and the panel member):

  1. Ensure the scheme and applicant are a good match. Funders won’t give millions of pounds to new researchers.
  2. Does the team include an appropriate mix of people? Someone should be able to cover all of the disciplines represented in the proposal, and individuals at a range of career stages should be included.
  3. Remember that the assessors will be both subject specialists (the reviewers) and generalists (panel members). The panel can be targeted through the lay summary.
  4. Use the subject area to define the research expertise of your reviewers. Stating that your research is in the field of philosophy when this is peripheral to the study may mean your reviewers are unfamiliar with your subject.
  5. Imagine your nightmare critic and pre-empt their criticisms; respond to these without being defensive, but without glossing over any problems.
  6. Make the link to the funder’s remit clear. If the panel need to discuss whether or not the project is within the funder’s remit, the project is unlikely to be funded.
  7. Allow time to prepare and write the application. Two months to prepare, and a full week to write the application is to be expected, and then costing, gaining internal approvals etc still need to follow. Successful applications may be useful as a model, but slavishly following them may not succeed as the funder’s objectives may have changed.
  8. The application should cohere as a whole, but not be too repetitive. Stick to the first or third person, ensure it is clear who is meant when you say ‘I’ and make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. If the funder offers guidance on headings for specific sections, use them.
  9. If the funder requires an impact statement, be modest and realistic, set specific goals and milestones and don’t over-inflate your claims.
  10. If your research involves human participants, there will be ethical considerations. If the project involves a collaboration, make it clear who will take the lead for ethical approvals and ongoing ethical considerations.
  11. It’s all in the detail: name which conferences at which you hope to present your work and the journals in which you plan to publish. Explain how the publications differ, and detail which team members will work on each.
  12. When working out the costs, don’t skimp on hours. If you have fractional research assistants, explain why. If you are planning to publish a manuscript, allow time for revision. Don’t make the project cheap just for the sake of it, but make sure it is well considered and achievable within the resources. The reach and significance of the project are more important than the overall budget.
  13. Detail monitoring arrangements for the project: who will monitor progress, within what institutional structures, will there be management or advisory boards and what is the reporting structure? For early career researchers, what monitoring, career development and mentoring will be in place?
  14. Use internal peer review services (at BU, RPRS is available for all research applications) and talk to panellists or peer reviewers for your funder. Some people at BU may have relevant expertise you can tap into – get in touch with RKEO and we may be able to offer some names.
  15. Use your right to reply where funders allow. A critical review is not the end of your funding hopes, and a PI response can be used to elaborate on thoughts you didn’t have space for in the original application. Don’t be aggressive or defensive; it may be worth asking a colleague to read through your response to remove any emotional involvement. Also don’t repeat the positive comments; the panel will see these when they consider the application, and you can better use the space responding to misunderstandings or requests for further detail.

Grants Academy – Deadline for your Application – 1st of November 2013

The Grants Academy has been described by members as ‘brilliant’, ‘excellent’, ‘extremely educational and stimulating’ and ‘very beneficial’. It has also increased bids submissions from members acting as a Principal Investigator by 41% and 20% as a co-Investigator. Members have significantly increased their funding successes too and obtained funding from organisations such as the AHRC, European Commission, ESRC, British Academy, English Heritage and Burdett Trust for Nursing.

How does the Academy work?  Members attend an initial two day training course off campus, facilitated by an external expert bid writer with a well-developed draft proposal. The training days will cover the art of proposal craftmanship, the rules of the writing game and other invaluable information to help you perfect your proposal during the days. Feedback on these days from existing members have been very positive  ‘the workshop was the best I have ever attended’. 

Members can then further develop their proposal over a couple of weeks, gaining unlimited support from the external facilitator in doing so and the cohort re-gathers for a mock peer review panel of each other’s applications. This gives a unique insight into this process in a supportive environment and helps further refine the proposal. One member has described this session as ‘[I now have] profound insights in[to] how the system works…and to realize how that must be for professional reviewers’.

What other support is given? Throughout the 18 month membership of the Grants Academy, members benefit form UNLIMITED support from the external facilitator (and in some cases additional external reviewers) which has been invaluable in helping members secure external funding ‘[His] input enabled me to produce a clearer, more logical and convincing proposal. He also alerted me to issues I had not previously considered and encouraged me to think about ‘impact’ and value for the UK in new ways’. Members also have bespoke assistance from R&KEO in finding funding and collaborators. They also have access to a library of successful proposals from BU, a travel grant, guaranteed places on Funder visits organised for them and surgeries with external facilitators.

How do I apply? To apply for a place, please notify Dianne Goodman who will send you a Membership Agreement Form to be signed by you, your line manager and your DDRE. Applications close on November 1st 2013 for the next sessions due to take place on the: 18 November, 19 November, 10 December 2013.

There is a waiting list for spaces on the Grants Academy due to its success and you will be added to this if no places are available on the next cohort. If you find that you are unable to make these dates you may find it helpful to know that the further Grants Academy sessions will be held on the:

3rd and 4th of Feb and the 24th of Feb 2014

24th and 25th of Mar and the 22nd Apr 2014

12th and 13th of May and the 9th of Jun 2014

You are welcome to apply and register for one of the future Grants Academy sessions (either November or the sessions listed above) and we are happy to put your name on our list for a future session provided you can confirm at the time of applying that you have blocked out these dates in your calendar and we receive your application signed by your line manager and DDRE.

What’s the small print? When making your application, you must ensure that you are available for the 3 dates in their entirety. Membership is only obtained once all training days have been attended. Obligations of membership are that at least one proposal for external funding must be submitted within the first six months of membership. As the training days are attended with a draft proposal, this should be obtainable. Within 18 months at least three proposals for external funding must have been submitted. Failure to meet these obligations will lead to membership being revoked.

If you have any questions about the Grants Academy please get in contact with Dianne Goodman (scheme administrator) or Dr Corrina Lailla Osborne (scheme manager).

BUCRU Events and Services

Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) incorporates the Dorset office of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service South West (RDS SW). This means that in addition to the support outlined in previous blogs, we can also provide access to the following:

RDS SW Grant Applications Workshop

The grant applications workshop is directed at researchers who are considering applying to peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research, and is intended to allow them to turn good applications into excellent ones.

The workshop does not provide detailed training in research methodology but rather covers the full range of issues inherent in developing a successful grant application. It will be of relevance to researchers applying to any of the major health research funders, but particularly the NIHR funding schemes.

Researchers should have a plan for a project but, ideally, a worked up proposal, even one that has been previously rejected. All proposals will receive detailed written feedback from the RDS team.

The next workshop will be held at Taunton Racecourse, Somerset on the 7th November 2013. Unfortunately, the deadline for applying has now passed. The next workshop is scheduled for the spring. For more information please see http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/gaw.htm.

RDS SW Residential Research Retreat

The Residential Research Retreat provides an opportunity for research teams to develop high quality health related research proposals suitable for submission to national peer-reviewed funding schemes. The aim of the Retreat is to provide the environment and support to promote rapid progress in developing proposals over a relatively short time period.

At the retreat participants are supported by a range of experts while developing their research proposal. They work intensively on their proposal, while learning how to maximise its chances for successfully securing a grant.

The next Retreat will be held at the Ammerdown Conference Centre, near Bath in Somerset from 1 June to 6 June 2014 inclusive. To win a place on the Retreat, applications should be submitted by 1pm on Friday 17th January 2014. For more information see http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/rrr.htm or our recent blog post http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2013/09/24/desperate-for-uninterrupted-quality-time-on-your-grant-application-come-to-the-residential-research-retreat/.

 RDS SW Project Review Committee

The RDS SW Project Review Committee provides an excellent opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before it is sent to a funding body. The Committee brings the benefit of seeing the proposal with “fresh eyes”, replicating as far as possible the way the real funding committee will consider the application. Committee members include senior research consultants who have considerable experience of obtaining research funding, resulting in comprehensive comments and advice.

Committee meetings take place approximately nine times per year. To submit a study for review at the meeting, paperwork must be provided to the Committee via BUCRU two weeks prior to the meeting date, and at least a couple of months before the intended funding deadline. For more information and a list of meeting dates see http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/project_review_committee.htm.

 Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education (CoPMRE) Annual Symposium

In addition to events aimed at supporting the development of grant applications we also host an event geared towards dissemination. The CoPMRE Tenth Annual Symposium was held on 16th October 2013 at the Executive Business Centre (please see our recent blog post http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2013/10/22/copmre-tenth-annual-symposium-2/). These successful annual conferences have been running for the past ten years and have featured themes such as ‘Professionalism and Collaboration’, ’Research Innovation’, ‘Interprofessional Learning’, and ‘Social Media’. This year’s Symposium focused on medical devices and medical education.  The conference is open to all healthcare professionals and academics.  Information about the next Symposium will be posted on our website in due course and you will be able to register online nearer the time.

Contact us: For further information about the Grant Applications Workshop, the Residential Research Retreat and the Project Review Committee you can contact us by:

Or pop and see us on the 5th floor of Royal London House!

Last Minute 1-2-1 Appointments Available Today with Martin Pickard – 24th October!

If you feel you would benefit from a ‘face to face’ meeting with Martin  in relation to any bid/proposal you are currently working on please contact me Dianne Goodman Today!

Martin currently has the following appointments available on the 24th of October at the following times at Lansdowne Campus:

Morning

  • 10:45am – 11:30am

Afternoon

  • 14:45pm – 15:30pm

Appointments are approx 45 minutes long

.

Martin Pickard

With a career background in both Academia and Industry Dr. Martin Pickard of Grantcraft is a specialist in writing and supporting research grant applications and tenders as well as providing administrative and management support services for ongoing projects. During the last 20 years Martin has worked extensively across Europe with a large number of universities, and research institutes as well as industrial firms, ranging from small SME’s to major international companies.

Martin is providing individual 1-2-1 surgeries with any BU academic staff member and works individually and confidentiality with each Principal Investigator as the project is structured and prepared in order to optimize the application documentation from every aspect of the Funders perspective; guiding, steering and showing how to optimize the application throughout the bid process.

Academics at BU who have undertaken his guidance have stated:

 ‘his support and direction was invaluable – Martin gave me some pragmatic suggestions which really helped to shape the bid. His eye for detail made the document much easier to read and the message much clearer. I was very grateful for his input’  Assoc. Prof Heather Hartwell School of Tourism.

The process, although labour intensive, works; with a proven historical average success rates of close to 1 in 2 against norms of (1 in 8 to 1 in 10)

Book Now through me Dianne Goodman – Martin’s appointments are always popular.

 

Book Now! A Few Spaces left on the 24th of OCT for your 1-2-1 appointment with Martin Pickard – a great opportunity to improve your bid proposals

If you feel you would benefit from a ‘face to face’ meeting with Martin  in relation to any bid/proposal you are currently working on please contact me Dianne Goodman ASAP with your time preferences.

Martin currently has some availablity on these dates between the following times:

  • 24th September 2013, 9:15am- 5pm (Lansdowne Campus )

Appointments are approx 45 minutes long. You will also have unlimited telephone and email support to progress your application after meeting with Martin.

Martin Pickard

With a career background in both Academia and Industry Dr. Martin Pickard of Grantcraft is a specialist in writing and supporting research grant applications and tenders as well as providing administrative and management support services for ongoing projects. During the last 20 years Martin has worked extensively across Europe with a large number of universities, and research institutes as well as industrial firms, ranging from small SME’s to major international companies.

Martin is providing individual 1-2-1 surgeries with any BU academic staff member and works individually and confidentiality with each Principal Investigator as the project is structured and prepared in order to optimize the application documentation from every aspect of the Funders perspective; guiding, steering and showing how to optimize the application throughout the bid process.

Academics at BU who have undertaken his guidance have stated:

 ‘his support and direction was invaluable – Martin gave me some pragmatic suggestions which really helped to shape the bid. His eye for detail made the document much easier to read and the message much clearer. I was very grateful for his input’  Assoc. Prof Heather Hartwell School of Tourism.

The process, although labour intensive, works; with a proven historical average success rates of close to 1 in 2 against norms of (1 in 8 to 1 in 10)

Book Now through me Dianne Goodman – Martin’s appointments are always popular.

 

Desperate for uninterrupted quality time on your grant application? Come to the Residential Research Retreat!

The Research Design Service South West (RDS SW) is offering a unique opportunity to researchers in health and social care across the South West of England.

The Residential Research Retreat provides an opportunity for research teams to develop high quality research proposals suitable for submission to national peer-reviewed funding schemes. The aim of the Retreat is to provide the environment and support to promote rapid progress in developing proposals over a relatively short time period. The Retreat is open to health professionals and academic partners working within the South West. 

At the Retreat you will be supported by a range of academic experts while developing your research proposal. Away from the workplace, you will work intensively on your proposal, while learning how to maximise its chances for successfully securing a grant. You will learn how to develop your idea into a viable and first class research proposal and experience research project planning at a professional level.

A delegate from this year’s Retreat said, “This has been an extremely valuable exercise and has really helped build an understanding of what is expected from NIHR funded projects. In order to ensure that new researchers are able to make feasible, rigorous, well-designed bids for funding, this week is essential.”

The Retreat will be held at the Ammerdown Conference Centre, near Bath in Somerset from 1 June to 6 June 2014 inclusive. To win a place on the Retreat, applications should be submitted by 1pm on Friday 17th January 2014.  Applications will be reviewed competitively and places awarded to the most promising team proposals. The application and further information is available at http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/rrr.htm.

Don’t forget, your local branch of the Research Design Service is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) on the 5th floor of Royal London House. Feel free to pop in and see us or send us an email.

NIHR Research Design Service Grant Applications Workshop

The Research Design Service South West (RDS SW) is running a one-day grant applications workshop on 7th November 2013 at Taunton Racecourse, Somerset.

The grant applications workshop is directed at researchers who are considering applying to peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research, and is intended to allow them to turn good applications into excellent ones.

If you are interested in attending the workshop you will need to submit an application form and the latest draft of your research proposal by 1pm on Monday 14th October 2013.

For more information and to download an application form please go to http://www.rds-sw.nihr.ac.uk/gaw.htm.

1-2-1s with Martin Pickard now available 10th July 2013 – Book Now!

 

A few spaces are still available for 1-2-1 appointments with Martin Pickard on Wednesday the 10th of July 2013 *Please note: these are being held at the Talbot Campus in DL104 (opposite the Octagon in the Library).

If you feel you would benefit from a ‘face to face’ meeting with Martin either in relation to any bid/proposal or Marie Curie application you are currently working on please contact me Dianne Goodman ASAP with your time preferences.

Appointments are approx 45 minutes long. You will also have unlimited telephone and email support to progress your application after meeting with Martin.

With a career background in both Academia and Industry Dr. Martin Pickard of Grantcraft is a specialist in writing and supporting research grant applications and tenders as well as providing administrative and management support services for ongoing projects. During the last 20 years Martin has worked extensively across Europe with a large number of universities, and research institutes as well as industrial firms, ranging from small SME’s to major international companies.

Martin is providing individual 1-2-1 surgeries with any BU academic staff member and works individually and confidentiality with each Principal Investigator as the project is structured and prepared in order to optimize the application documentation from every aspect of the Funders perspective; guiding, steering and showing how to optimize the application throughout the bid process.

Academics at BU who have undertaken his guidance have stated his support and direction was invaluable – Martin gave me some pragmatic suggestions which really helped to shape the bid. His eye for detail made the document much easier to read and the message much clearer. I was very grateful for his input’  Assoc. Prof Heather Hartwell, School of Tourism.

The process, although labour intensive, works; with a proven historical average success rates of close to 1 in 2 against norms of 1 in 8 to 1 in 10.

Martin is at BU on the following dates and times:

  • 10th July 2013, 9:15am- 5pm (Talbot Campus) – some afternoon appointments available
  • 4th September 2013, 9:15- 5 (Lansdowne Campus)

 

Research Ethics: Insights from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health and the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy

Ethics contributions

Collage of research ethics contributions

Academics based in HSC have experience in a wide-range of research.  In the process of reflecting on all aspects of the research process several members of HSC have published about ethical issues that they have had to address in their own research.    This BU Blog highlights some of these key HCS papers which may help fellow academics and students across the globe address similar ethical questions.  HSC has a history of publishing on research ethics, Professor Emerita Immy Holloway wrote about the researcher who may have a dual role, or even conflicting role, as researcher and health care professional (1).  More recently, several midwifery researchers in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health wrote about the issues facing practitioners doing research in the field where they work, especially concerning the similarities and differences between professional ethics and research ethics (2-3).  Negotiating ethical paths cleaved by competing concerns between protecting research participants and over-managing the ethical process is tricky.

In her book Rainforest Asylum: The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree in the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, addresses the problematic issue of gate-keepers in research together with the ethics of critical observation of abuse (potential or actual), as well as the ethics of advocating on behalf of research participants (4).

The fear that the ethical application process in the UK is becoming more and more cumbersome and bureaucratic has been widely recognised as highlighted by Prof. van Teijlingen and colleagues (5-6).

Research ethics review processes are also considered in terms of access to participants regarded as ‘vulnerable’ in a recently published paper by Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree (7) of ethnographers working in health settings who are seeking to understand the context of care and patient/service user experiences.  She concludes that paternalistic control of participation on the grounds of ethical protection of vulnerable people seriously disenfranchises potential participants in preventing them from being able to share their relevant, lived experiences as recipients of service provision.

Prof. van Teijlingen and BU Visiting Fellow Dr. Padam Simkhada highlighted that the social, cultural and economic contexts in which research is conducted often differ between developing and developed countries.  However they stress that researchers need to apply for research ethics approval to the relevant local authority, if national legislation requires one to do so (8).

A new and challenging area of research is the use of discussion boards as a source of research data.  In their paper Dr. Bond and BU colleagues discuss both practical and ethical dilemmas that arise in using such data (9). In earlier research, Prof. Parker of the Centre for Social Work, Sociology & Social Policy, highlighted some of the benefits and dangers of using email and the Internet for research as the potential for electronic media continues its rapid growth (10).

Obtaining informed consent is something that all researchers need to consider. However, in some research situations obtaining consent can be particularly challenging.  Prof. Hundley and colleagues discuss the ethical challenges involved in conducting a cluster randomised controlled trial, where consent needs to be considered at a number of levels (11).  In a second paper issues of consent during pregnancy, where there is the potential for harm to two participants, are considered (12).

In research into the implications of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for social research, Prof. Parker explored the contested meanings and difficulties associated with informed consent in social research, highlighting some of the challenges raised by an almost unquestioned acceptance of biomedical research ethics in social research and questioning whether potential ‘harm’ is different in this context (13, 14). This research has led to further explorations of the potential for ethical covert research by Prof. Parker and Dr. Ashencaen Crabtree.

 

The way forward

There a plenty of challenges to research ethics in both the health and social care sectors.  Ethical considerations relate to technological developments such conducting research over the Internet or the analysis of tweets.  HSC staff will continue to publish on a range of moral dilemma as well as practical issues related to research ethics.  Moreover, academic from the two centres are planning a Masterclass on research ethics to be held in early 2014.

 

 

References

  1. Holloway, I., Wheeler, S. (1995) Ethical Issues in Qualitative Nursing Research, Nursing Ethics 2: 223-232.   Web address:  http://nej.sagepub.com/content/2/3/223.full.pdf+html
  2. Ryan, K., Brown, B., Wilkins, C., Taylor, A., Arnold, R., Angell, C., van Teijlingen, E. (2011) Which hat am I wearing today? Practicing midwives doing research, Evidence-Based Midwifery 9(1): 4-8.
  3. van Teijlingen, E.R., Cheyne, H.L. (2004) Ethics in midwifery research, RCM Midwives Journal 7 (5): 208-10.
  4. Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2012) Rainforest Asylum: The enduring legacy of colonial psychiatric care in Malaysia, London: Whiting & Birch.
  5. van Teijlingen, E., Douglas, F., Torrance, N. (2008) Clinical governance and research ethics as barriers to UK low-risk population-based health research? BMC Public Health 8(396)                            Web address: www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-8-396.pdf
  6. van Teijlingen, E. (2006) Reply to Robert Dingwall’s Plenary ‘Confronting the Anti-Democrats: The unethical Nature of Ethical Regulation in Social Science, MSo (Medical Sociology online) 1: 59-60  Web address:  www.medicalsociologyonline.org/archives/issue1/pdf/reply_rob.pdf
  7. Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2013) Research ethics approval processes and the moral enterprise of ethnography. Ethics & Social Welfare. Advance Access: DOI:10.1080/17496535.2012.703683
  8. van Teijlingen E.R., Simkhada, P.P. (2012) Ethical approval in developing countries is not optional, Journal of Medical Ethics 38 :428-430.
  9. Bond, C.S,  Ahmed, O.H., Hind, M, Thomas, B., Hewitt-Taylor, J. (2013) The Conceptual and Practical Ethical Dilemmas of Using Health Discussion Board Posts as Research Data, Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(6):e112)  Web address: http://www.jmir.org/2013/6/e112/
  10. Parker, J.  (2008) Email, ethics and data collection in social work research: some reflections from a research project, Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate & Practice, 4 (1): 75-83.
  11. Hundley, V, Cheyne, HC, Bland, JM, Styles, M, Barnett, CA.. (2010) So you want to conduct a cluster randomised controlled trial? Lessons from a national cluster trial of early labour, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16: 632-638
  12. Helmreich, R.J., Hundley, V., Norman, A., Ighedosa, J., Chow, E. (2007) Research in pregnant women: the challenges of informed consent, Nursing for Women’s Health 11(6):  576-585.
  13. Parker, J., Penhale, B., Stanley, D., 2010. Problem or safeguard? Research ethics review in social care research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Social Care & Neurodisability, 1 (2): 22-32.
  14. Parker, J., Penhale, B., Stanley, D. (2011) Research ethics review: social care and social science research and the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Ethics & Social Welfare, 5(4): 380-400.

 

Vanora Hundley, Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Jonathan Parker & Edwin van Teijlingen