Tagged / RDU

RDU Small Grant Fund Winner- Update

In November 2011 I (Joanne Mayoh) was the recipient of one of the first BU Research Development Fund (RDF) Small Grant Scheme prizes. This award gave me the opportunity to travel to Champaign (Illinois) in May 2012 to present a paper at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The budget covered my travel to Illinois, hotel accommodation, conference fees for the five day event, and sustenance costs during this time. As an early career researcher, who has only started publishing within the last few years, this was an excellent chance for me to receive support to present internationally, and engage in essential networking and profile building.

In addition to the conference paper, this opportunity resulted in targeting networking with a number of influential methodologists, and the submission of two journal articles, and a further (accepted) conference abstract in collaboration with a newly formed contact. This new associate is one of the most experienced mixed methodologists currently publishing within my target journals, and is therefore an invaluable connection for at this stage in my career.

The process of applying for RDF funding was extremely simple and one that I would recommend my colleagues engaging with if they have any need for a small grant. I would definitely apply to this fund in the future to support conference attendance, research support or general networking.  Overall it was a wonderful experience, and I am very grateful for the support from BU and the Research Development Unit.

Handing over the BU REF baton

Well, the day has finally come when I’m to hand over the BU REF baton to Peng Peng Ooi who is to take over as the BU Research Development Officer for the REF while I am on maternity leave. She’s had a crash course in all things REF since she began at the RDU in July and has very much landed in at the deep end because of the mock REF exercise on outputs that’s currently taking place!

This hasn’t put her off though, and she’s poised ready to take things forward in the coming months prior to the REF submission deadline in November 2013.

It just remains to wish you all the very best with your submissions and to thank you for your cooperation with the REF preparations so far. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the blog for all BU REF-related information. See you next year!

Anita Somner

Research Development Officer (REF)

Ethics and Conduct and Governance….OH MY!!

Similar to Lions and Tigers and Bears, these nasty words often send a chill down the spine of researchers across the globe!

“More roadblocks to delay my research?!” 

“Hinder-full, not helpful!” 

“Once you think you’ve ticked all the boxes, read all the policy/procedure and signed your life away, SMACK – the conduct officer hits you with a new hurdle!”

Sound familiar?  These are just a few examples of the misconception towards my full-time job.  Hello, my name is Julia Hastings Taylor and I am the University’s Research Development Officer responsible for ethics and conduct.  Prior to joining BU I received my Masters in International Political Economy from LSE and before moving across the pond, I worked for the US Intelligence Community tracking down drug lords in SW Asia, Europe, and Africa.  Drug traffickers—as opposed to university researchers—tend to not concern themselves with ethics or conduct, so I’m pleased to be part of an organization that takes compliance seriously!

My first mission—as impossible as it may seem—is to change the way researchers view ethics and conduct (and me, for that matter).  I’m not the Big Bad Wolf and I don’t plan to ‘blow your research down’; on the contrary, I am here to support you, and strengthen the University’s research governance structure.  Leave the scary ethics maze to me – I know the way and I will point you in the right direction.  Struggling to understand and/or comply with funder regulations – don’t fret, it’s my job to ensure all regulations are clear and we have an easy-to-follow framework for compliance!  I plan to streamline processes and procedures, outline ‘best practices’ in both ethics and conduct and ensure that the University’s policies are not only robust but also flexible

While we’re on the topic, here are a few of my thoughts: while I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘tree hugger,’ I am sensible…so come on folks…this is 2012…let’s move away from printing off reams and reams of forms to fill in and sign when we can simply create online forms with digital signatures.  I like processes to be efficient, straightforward and simple and that’s what I hope to bring to the University’s ethics and conduct role.  As the next handful of months will bring change—and we all know how much everyone loves change—please give me your feedback and suggestions for improvements, and be honest about your views on research ethics and conduct; I’d like for this process to be as inclusive as possible, but I can only knock on so many doors, invite you to so many meetings/forums and ask so many questions.

So, if you happen to see me lurking around your School in the coming months, please don’t assume I’m the secret police looking for my next victim….I’m probably lost and simply trying to find the loo!

Bid-writing clinic in London – an RDU-funded place available

The Missenden Centre is holding a bid-writing clinic on the 16th March, in London.

The RDU will fund a place (fees and travel costs) for an academic to attend.   This is on a first come/first served basis – so please contact Caroline O’Kane  if you would like to attend.

If you are currently working on a funding proposal then this session will be extremely useful.  Bring a draft or previously unsuccessful application to the session and receive advice on how to turn it into an award-winning bid.

  • Date: 16th March
  • Location: Woburn House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ


To book your place contact Caroline O’Kane 

Leverhulme session – slides available

Jean Cater, assistant director at the the Leverhulme Trust was at BU yesterday. 

At a well-attended event,  Jean talked about the range of funding opportunities available for academics, and outlined the Trust’s ethos and criteria.  She also fielded an hour’s worth of  questions.

Jean’s slides are now available – just click here to access them.

Please contact Caroline O’Kane if would like to find out more about the Leverhulme and their schemes, and to find out how we can support the development of your funding proposal.

RDU meet and greet event a great success!

I can’t believe it has taken me nearly three months to blog about the RDU meet and greet event held in early September in the Atrium, but it has.

The event was a great success and gave us the opportunity to talk to a lot of academic colleagues about the services offered by the RDU (such as the RPRS, the Open Access Publication Fund, the Research Development Fund, EU funding opportunities, the REF, BU’s new research management system BRIAN, etc).

It also gave you the opportunity to tell us what else you’d like us to do and what we could do better.

And we all ate research blog cakes 🙂

We’re aiming to hold more of these type of informal events so would love to hear your feedback and suggestions as to how they could work in future.



Launch of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office

Following the announcement by the Vice Chancellor in August 2011 that CRE would move from Finance & Commercial Services I am delighted today to formally launch the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (R&KEO) with the remit of supporting all research and knowledge exchange (formally enterprise) activity at BU.

Under the new arrangements our existing research and knowledge exchange units will report directly to me forming a collection of discrete, but cognate elements.  Administrative support for the new R&KEO will be based in the Research Development Unit working in support of all the different teams. An overview of the status of each team is provided below.

Research Development Unit – This will continue to be led by Julie Northam and has been expanded to also include knowledge exchange development. Two new posts will be advertised later this month: a research development officer to focus specifically on research ethics, governance and conduct, and a commercialisation and KTP officer.

RKE Operations – Previously CRE Operations, this will continue to be led by Julia Taylor.  We are currently reviewing the R&KE processes and systems, with a view to improving the already excellent service delivered by this team over the next 3-6 months.

Business Engagement Unit – This is a new unit to be established as part of the HEIF-5 strategy.  We will soon advertise for a Business Engagement Leader, followed by four Business Engagement Consultants each related to the investment themes set out in the HEIF-5 Strategy.  It is hoped this team will be established from January 2012 and will work closely with the BU Foundation in developing BU as Knowledge Broker.

Graduate School – Professor Tiantian Zhang joins BU as the Head of the Graduate School in January 2012 when we will formally re-launch the Graduate School.  Until then Fiona Knight, and the School PGR administrators are keeping everything running smoothly.

DM Centre for Entrepreneurship – The CfE is led by Professor Dean Patton and has recently moved into the Business Engagement Centreof the 6th floor of the EBC and currently in the process of seeking potential tenants initially around the two specific themes as set out in the HEIF-5 Strategy, namely: (1) digital and creative; and (2) tourism & leisure.

You can access a structure diagram of the new R&KEO here: R&KEO structure diagram

I will ensure future developments with the R&KEO are announced regularly via the BU Research Blog.

Matthew Bennett

ARMS conference 2011

Corrina and I are finally back from the land down under after attending the excellent Australasian Research Management Society conference in Sydney in September. The conference theme this year was Transformation and we presented a session on the work we have done with business partnering techniques to transform research culture at BU. We also presented a poster about the fabulous BU Research Blog!

Both of our presentations went well and we received good feedback from other delegates. On the back of our sessions we have made some good contacts with peers at Australasian universities, some of whom have also subscribed to the blog.

In addition we also attended a number of other sessions which were extremely useful and informative. We will be adding posts to the blog about these sessions in due course.

We used the amazing Prezi for our presentation and you can access our slides by clicking on the blue image:

To watch the slide show simply click on ‘more’, then ‘full screen’, then use the arrow to pan through the slides.

If you are not familiar with Prezi, it is a cloud-based presentation software application that is free to use and which creates much more exciting presentations than simply using PowerPoint. You can access Prezi at: www.prezi.com.

In addition to the workshop presentation we also presented a poster about the blog for which we won 2nd prize in the poster competition. You can access a copy of our poster here:


Come and meet the Research Development Unit! THIS WEEK!

This Thursday between 11am-1pm we will be commandeering a space in the Atrium and available to talk to all of you lovely people about Research!

If you want to know about the new BU internal research funds (the Open Access Publication Fund and the Research Development Fund), the internal peer review service (RPRS), UK, EU and international funding opportunities, the REF, BU’s new research management system, the changes we’re making to RED, Research Professional, the emerging BU Research Themes, publishing and research outputs, in fact anything at all to do with research then now is your chance!

Drop by and have an informal chat with us. There might even be  a cake in it for you 🙂

Research is cool – come and find out how to get involved!

Come and meet the RDU!

On Thursday 8 September between 11am-1pm we will be commandeering a space in the Atrium and available to talk to all of you lovely people about Research!

If you want to know about the new BU internal research funds (the Open Access Publication Fund and the Research Development Fund), the internal peer review service (RPRS), UK, EU and international funding opportunities, the REF, BU’s new research management system, the changes we’re making to RED, Research Professional, the emerging BU Research Themes, publishing and research outputs, in fact anything at all to do with research then now is your chance! Drop by and have an informal chat with us. There might even be  a cake in it for you 🙂

Research is cool – come and find out how to get involved!

BU shortlisted for THE Leadership and Management Awards for ‘Outstanding Research Management Team’

BU has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards in the category of  ‘Outstanding Research Management Team’.

The submission focused on the set up and implementation of the CRE Operations team by FCS during 2009-10 and the benefits that a centralised service has provided.

BU has also been shortlisted in the category ‘Outstanding Finance Team’ (for the second year running).

The awards will take place on 16 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

This is a fabulous achievement for Financial and Commercial Services! 😀 Whoop!

For the list of finalists see the THELMAs website.

Research Development Unit (RDU) changes

I’m pleased to confirm four significant changes to the Research Development Unit (RDU) that will take place over the coming months.

First, our name has changed from the Research Unit to the Research Development Unit (RDU) to more accurately reflect what it is we do and the services we offer.

The second group of changes are to the existing RDU team:

My job description has been tweaked slightly and my job title remains the same – University Research Development Manager. I will continue to lead the RDU and work closely with the PVC (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation), and be responsible for the operationalisation of BU research strategy, research policy, external research assessment returns, research management information, and R&E systems (such as RED).

Corrina Dickson’s job description has been updated and her job title changed to Senior Research Development Officer (EU). Once all of the changes have been made, Corrina will no longer be undertaking the management of the internal peer review scheme (RPRS) and all of her time will be dedicated to supporting EU funding, i.e. identifying and promoting EU funding opportunities, working with academic staff to strengthen proposals, and brokering relationships with EU bodies. This is the first time BU has had a dedicated EU support post so is an exciting time for both BU and Corrina.

Anita Somner’s job description has also been updated and her job title has been changed to Research Development Officer (REF). These changes reflect Anita’s continuing and valued role in supporting the University’s preparations for the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF).

I’m sure you’ll all join me in congratulating Corrina and Anita, and wishing them well in their roles!

The third change to the RDU is that in addition to the job description and job title changes for the existing team members, there will also be two further posts which we will seek to recruit to over the next few months:

Research Development Officer (Funding & Processes) – having been vacant since November 2009 due to a staff secondment this post will be advertised internally later this week. The post-holder will be responsible for ensuring our internal R&E systems (such as RED & iCOST) and pre- and post-award processes are efficient and streamlined. Other duties will include administering external R&E systems (such as Je-S, Research Professional, etc), collating R&E management information, sourcing funding opportunities and serving as Secretary for the University Research Ethics Committee.

Senior R&E Officer (Peer Review) – This is a new part-time post that will be dedicated to managing the internal peer review scheme (RPRS). The post-holder will initially be based in the Research Development Unit, mentored by Corrina, with the aim of transferring to the CRE Operations team later in calendar year. Having this post based in CRE Operations will ensure that internal peer review is embedded in the pre-award research process resulting in a much more streamlined process for academics submitting bids. This post will be advertised in May.

These are both excellent opportunities – if you would like to discuss either of them, please contact me (ext: 61208) and I will happily provide further details.

The fourth and final change is our line management and direction which will now come from two senior posts at BU – the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research, Enterprise & Internationalisation) (Prof Matthew Bennett) and the Head of Financial and Commercial Services (Susanne Clarke). This will ensure that there is an academic voice shaping research support and development, whilst also ensuring that research remains integrated with FCS for elements such as audit, external reporting, and R&E systems and processes.

These are really exciting changes for the Research Development Unit and we look forward to continuing to provide excellent service, support and advice for all research matters across BU.

😀 We always welcome feedback and suggestions as to how to improve our service, particulary at times such as this when there are lots of opportunities for change. If you do have any feedback or suggestions, please leave a comment to this post or email us.

Julie Northam

University Research Development Manager