Tagged / qr

ACORN Fund 2019 – update

In response to queries, the ACORN Fund application form and policy have both been updated to provide greater clarity, especially regarding eligibility. See the launch blog post for details. Please replace any previous downloads with the revised versions (Research>Pre-award)

Thank you to those who raised these queries for your help in making the scheme clearer for all.

The ACORN Fund is now open for applications!

The ACORN Fund (Acceleration OResearch & Networking) for Early Career Researchers is now open for applications.

This year’s closing date is Thursday, 18th April 2019 and all applications must be submitted to the email account: acorn@bournemouth.ac.uk.

This scheme will provide c. five awards, of up to £5,000 each, to support BU’s ECRs, with the most promising talent, to gain experience of managing and leading their own pilot research projects. These award support BU’s commitment to the Concordat to Support to Career Development of Researchers and is made possible by BU’s QR (Quality Research) allocation.

There is a strong link to BU’s ECR Network and the forthcoming 2019 ECR Showcase event. In this way, those who do not benefit directly from the ACORN Fund scheme by receiving funding, will benefit indirectly though interaction with those ECRs who receive support via the scheme.

For eligibility, an ECR in this case is defined as someone who started their research career on or after 1 August 2014. This is the point at which they held a contract of employment of 0.2 FTE or greater, which included a primary employment function of undertaking ‘research’ or ‘teaching and research’, with any HE or other organisation, whether in the UK or overseas. 

Within the Research > Pre-award area on the staff intranet, you can find out more by reading the ACORN Fund Policy (2019) and apply using the Application Form for this round (2019). In addition, to assist with the budget section, please refer to the RKE Sample Costs . As this does not require Full Economic Costing, you should not contact your faculty’s Funding Development Officer to complete the costing for you. Please address any queries as below.

The closing date for applications is 18th April 2018. As these require faculty support, please start your application and obtain faculty approval as soon as possible. Applicants are responsible for obtaining faculty sign-off and for submitting the application to the email below.

Please address any queries to Emily Cieciura, Research Development & Support lead for this scheme, via acorn@bournemouth.ac.uk

Putting the ACORN Fund into strategic context, under BU2025, 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 Support Funding Panel
  8. SIA Funding panel

Please see further announcements regarding each initiative over the coming weeks.

These panels align with the BU2025 focus on research, including BU’s Research Principles. Specifically, but not exclusively, regarding the ACORN Fund, please refer to:

  • Principle 5 – which sets of the context for such funding panels
  • Principle 6 and Outcome 9 – which recognises the need for interdisciplinarity and the importance of social science and humanities (SSH)
  • Outcomes 4 and 5 – where ECRs are provided with the mechanisms for support such as mentors and, through schemes including the ACORN fund, gain budgetary responsibility experience

The HE Green Paper and research – what does it tell us?

green paperNot much. The primary focus is on teaching excellence and social mobility, however, it does reiterate and propose the following about research:

  • Government is committed to the Haldane Principle, and therefore peer review and decisions on funding made by researchers.


Dual support system:

  • Government is committed to the retention of the dual support system (allocation of research funding via block grants (currently via the REF) and competitive calls (currently via Research Councils)
  • It is proposed to abolish HEFCE. HEFCE’s current remit in terms of research includes policy development and management of the REF and the allocation of research block grant funding.
  • The Paper provides some options for replacing HEFCE and delivering the dual support system in future:
    • Via separate bodies (as per now, i.e. a replacement for HEFCE’s research function and the Research Councils)
    • Via one overarching body (i.e. one super research body that controls both parts of the dual support system)
  • Neither of these are perfect. With option 1, one could argue that this would cause significant disruption in the sector and achieve no benefits to the current arrangement. With option 2, having one super research body calls into question how the integrity, transparency and fairness of dual support could be maintained?


Research Councils:

  • Sir Paul Nurse led a review of the Research Councils in 2015 and this is due to report soon. The Green Paper states that this will be critical in informing the final decisions made about research funding in future.
  • The Triennial Review of the Research Councils 2014 noted a number of efficiencies that could be made to the work process of the councils and the Green Paper proposes that these are addressed.
  • Government wants to ensure that discipline specific leaders remain a key part of the landscape.


Research Excellence Framework (REF):

  • The next REF will be held by 2021.
  • The review process itself will be reviewed with the aim of retaining the strengths of the current system (such as peer review), build on the successes (such as impact), and challenge the cost and bureaucracy associated with running such an exercise.
  • There is likely to be a greater emphasis on metrics.
  • There is the suggestion of running two types of REF exercise – a full peer review exercise periodically (e.g. every 6-8 years) with a mini REF held between full exercises (every 3-4 years) for which the focus would very much be on metrics.


You can read the full document here: Fulfilling our potential: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice

The Green paper is open for consultation with the sector until 15 January 2016.

Using QR Codes in Higher Education workshop – Tuesday 31 January

David Hopkins and Milena Bobeva in The Business School will be running a workshop on experiences and good practice in the use of QR codes within higher education on Tuesday 31 January.

QR Codes, the 2D bar codes, are becoming the new norm for businesses to reach their customers and provide a fast user-friendly way to access relevant content online through the use of mobile technology.

The workshop is suitable for both people who are new to the QR-concept and those who have substantial experience and would like to build a network to extend the use of QR Codes in education through collaboration in joint projects.

David and Milena will be joined by other QR experts such as Andy Ramsden, of the University Campus Suffolk, to discuss the challenges and good practice in using the codes effectively. 

Find out more online on the workshop webpage and reserve your free ticket here.