Tagged / ref

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)

Latest BU REF Highlight Report now available

The latest BU REF Highlight Report (#12) is now available for BU staff to download. It covers the period from January to July 2012.

Features in this report include information about:

You can access your copy of the report from the following location on the I-drive (just copy and paste the following into Windows Explorer): I:\R&KEO\Public\RDU\REF\REF preparations\REF highlight reports

REF2014 – Dissemination of REF documents

The University is currently preparing to take part in the first Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, which is a national exercise to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. To ensure that the University abides by its principles of transparency, consistency, accountability and inclusivity in preparing and finalising the BU submission to the REF, the BU REF 2014 Code of Practice (v2), BU REF Frequently Asked Questions and BU REF Individual Staff Circumstances Disclosure Form have been developed and are now being formally disseminated to all BU academic staff to ensure all eligible staff are fully informed. When you have received this email, it is important that you read the information contained in these documents and you are therefore required to acknowledge receipt of this communication by sending the automatic ‘read receipt’ to the email as soon as possible.

These documents are also available on the BU Research Blog under the ‘REF’ tab.

In conjunction with the dissemination of these key documents, two open sessions have been scheduled for the autumn to give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have prior to the collection of the first round of BU REF Individual Staff Circumstances Disclosure Forms (due to be returned by 31 October 2012):

Talbot Campus:

Date: 27 September 2012

Time : 11.30am to 1.00pm

Venue: The Wallace Lecture Theatre, Weymouth House

Lansdowne Campus:

Date: 11 October 2012

Time: 3.00pm to 4.30pm

Venue: EB306, Executive Business Centre

You are invited to attend either event – more details will be circulated in due course. If you are unable to attend but have any queries, please contact Peng Peng Ooi (Research Development Officer – REF: pengpeng.ooi@bournemouth.ac.uk).

Many thanks for your cooperation in this and hopefully this information is useful for you.

Beyond REF2014

Attending a recent course on ‘Researcher development, the environment and future impact’, there seems to be a recurring theme across all sessions – the importance of adopting a long term view into research.

You reap the seeds you sow. This rings true in many aspects of life. It certainly is the common mantra sung by many of the speakers on the course. ‘Investment in the future’, ‘future impact’, ‘vitality and sustainability’ are just some of the buzz words thrown into the mix in that context.

And all that, has a direct and indirect link to the ‘impact’ element in the context of the Research Excellence Framework. Naturally, if you’re at the stage of planning your research and thinking about the impact, you’re too late for REF2014.

Yes, the speakers were referring to REF2020,  even though there isn’t an official REF2020 yet.

Isn’t it a bit too early to start thinking about that, I heard you say. When should you start thinking about ‘impact’? Colleagues from other HEIs talked about ‘impact’ at the PhD stages; others even mentioned ‘impact’ during undergrad. So, is there a ‘right’ time to start thinking about impact? Yes. The answer is, as early as possible.

How far wide will your research reach?

How many people will benefit from it?

What significance will it have on the society at large?

How many lives will it change?

Your research is like the stone that creates ripple in the water – how many ripples will it create? How long will the ripples last for? Will it create a beautiful wave? How many people will see those ripples and appreciate their beauty? It’s all to do with the way you cast that stone. You aim, you calculate and you plan.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With proper planning of your research career path comes the evaluation and identification of the relevant ‘impact’. Along the way, other elements like obtaining funding and support, peer review processes and publications will slot into place, piece by piece.

 

Updates from the BU REF Academic Leadership Team (RALT) meetings

The BU REF Academic Leadership Team (RALT) meets every month to discuss matters relating to BU’s preparations for its submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2013. The group is chaired by Matthew Bennett (Pro Vice-Chancellor) and consists of the 12 Unit of Assessment (UOA) Leaders, who are academics from across the different Schools in the University, the REF Communications Manager (Sally Gates), the Head of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (Julie Northam) and representatives from the BU REF Academic Steering Group (RASG). The meetings are administered and minuted by the Research Development Officer for the REF (Anita Somner/Peng Peng Ooi).

A summary of the most recent meetings is below for your information. The next meeting is scheduled for September due to staff taking their summer holidays (hopefully there will be some sunshine soon!).

17 May 2012

  • Feedback from external reviewers was presented by two UOA Leaders following the previous mock exercise on impact and environment over the winter 2011/2012.
  • The process for the current outputs mock exercise was outlined and deadlines given for returning all information prior to it being sent to the external reviewers.
  • An update was given on the BU REF Code of Practice and on the first phase of equality and diversity training for those involved in coordinating the REF at BU, which had recently taken place.
  • The REF Communication Manager gave an update on progress with developing the BU impact case studies and on the provision of social media training for academics.

18 June 2012

  • Progress with the collation of data for the outputs mock was discussed. Most of the paperwork had been received on time, which was great news!
  • Preparations for the full mock in spring 2013 were discussed along with the kind of support UOA Leaders might need.
  • Forthcoming REF deadlines for the provision of certain information ahead of the 2013 submission deadline were highlighted.
  • The REF Communications Manager gave a report on the outcomes of a series of meetings held recently with UOA Leaders discussing the BU impact case studies.

 

Filling a pair of big REF shoes

Second week into my secondment at the Research Development Unit, gearing myself ready to cover for Anita Somner during her maternity leave, it is beginning to dawn on me, the enormity of the task I have in hand. Not least because of the experience and expertise as demonstrated by Anita in all things REF-related has left me with the horror feeling that I may not be able to fill those Size 13 (!!) shoes, but also the new roles and responsibilities as well as steep learning that come with the job.

I have made it sound like a bad thing.

Believe me, it’s not.

Next year in the REF calendar, is a pivotal one with various important and exciting challenges at different points of the year and I welcome them with open arms.

So if you have any REF-related query, please feel free to contact me. I cannot promise you that at this point I will know all the answers to your question, but I can promise you that I will definitely do my best, to find out those answers to your question.

BU REF Code of Practice gets the green light!

Since submitting the BU Research Excellence Framework (REF) Code of Practice to the REF Team at HEFCE in April (see previous blog post for details), we have been waiting for their feedback as to whether our Code meets the requirements and guidance on equality and diversity considerations for our REF preparations and submission. We finally had confimation from HEFCE on Monday that the REF Equality and Diversity Panel had reviewed all the Codes that had been submitted in April and that our Code did indeed meet the REF Team’s criteria and is now officially approved! This is great news and means that we can now make it available here on the BU Research Blog.

A PDF copy of the Code and the recently published BU REF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be circulated to academic staff in due course but you can access your copy here in the meantime. For the BU REF FAQs, which accompany the Code, a new tab has been added to the Blog (see REF tab above). Here you’ll find a series of questions and answers on a range of topics that should hopefully help with any initial burning issues you may have about the REF and our preparations here at BU. If you have a question that is not answered in the FAQs, please do leave a response to the relevant FAQ page on the Blog and we will follow this up for you. Alternatively you can contact me or Julie Northam in the Research Development Unit via email.

For more information about the REF at BU, see the previous REF posts on the Blog by clicking on the ‘ref’ tag. You can also access additional information from the REF website.

BU summer mock REF exercise gets underway

The fourth in a series of mock Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercises is currently underway at BU, with the paperwork now on its way to the external reviewers who have been specially recruited for their expertise in their subject area. The reviewers will spend the next month or so going through all the forms and submitted outputs and will provide feedback on each submission.

After reviewing the forms, the reviewers will also be involved in a meeting involving the BU Unit of Assessment (UOA) Leader and three or four nominated BU academics from each UOA to discuss the submissions and the feedback given. These meetings are due to take place during the early autumn. Once all the review meetings have taken place, the reviewers’ comments and the outcomes from the meetings will be compiled – this information will then be fed back to academics by the relevant UOA Leaders to help in the further development of the REF submissions.

The next (and final) REF mock exercise is due to take place during February to April 2013; it will be a full dry run and will be the last chance for you to receive external feedback on your outputs before the final REF submission deadline on 29th November 2013.

In the meantime, I’d like to thank all the BU academics who have been involved in the current mock exercise for taking part and for responding promptly to any queries. Thanks also to the UOA Leaders for collating the information and submitting it on time, particularly as the deadlines were quite tight. Your joint cooperation is much appreciated!

For all previous REF postings on the BU Research Blog, click here.

BU REF Code of Practice available now!

As I mentioned in my previous post about the forthcoming outputs mock REF exercise, we have recently submitted our final draft REF Code of Practice document to the REF Team for their approval. We produced this document to help inform staff about the policies and processes around submitting to the REF in November 2013, as well as to meet the four UK higher education funding bodies’ request that each institution making a submission to the REF must develop and apply such a code when selecting staff to include in their submission.

The BU REF Code of Practice is the culmination of months of drafting and approval, and sets out the approach that will be, and has already been, taken by BU in preparing its REF2014 submission. It therefore includes important information about the schedule of mock REF exercises that you are able to take part in (Chapter 3), and about declaring any circumstances that may have affected your ability to produce the four outputs required (Chapter 5), along with other equality and diversity aspects. Staff eligibility and selection are also covered.

Throughout the document there are references to the relevant paragraphs within the key publications published by the REF Team, which are: Assessment Framework and Guidance on Submissions and Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Because this document is still subject to the approval of the REF Team’s Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP), the Code is currently available to BU staff via the new Staff Intranet under ‘Policies, Forms and Procedures/Research’. We will make it fully available here on the Blog once we’ve received the EDAP feedback, so watch this space!

Limber up for the next BU mock REF exercise

Just as the Olympic athletes are getting set for the 2012 games, so are we gearing up to launch the summer 2012 mock REF exercise for BU academic staff, this time looking at research outputs. This follows on from our previous light-touch review exercise, which was open to all academic staff and took place over the winter of 2010/2011.

This latest exercise will be the fourth in a series of different preparation exercises that have been held or are due to take place at BU ahead of the REF2014 submission deadline on 29 November 2013. Just as the athletes will have taken part in warm-up events and qualifiers to test their fitness and shine before selectors, so the mock REF exercises are a useful ‘dry run’ to give you a feel for what’s going to be required for the real thing. Equally, you’ll get valuable feedback on your outputs from external reviewers and your UOA Leader, and it will enable us to test out our data collection processes.

As in the light touch review, the outputs mock will be open to all academic staff. The relevant form will be distributed via your UOA leader in due course so it would be a good time to start thinking about which outputs you’re likely to put forward. Although REF2014 requires a maximum of four outputs, we’re giving you the opportunity to get feedback from the reviewers on up to six outputs, so make the most of this chance to really shape your outputs submission.

Also under starter’s orders – the BU REF Code of Practice will shortly be circulated to all staff, which outlines the timetable of REF preparation exercises and includes a host of other useful information related to how BU is preparing for REF2014. The final draft of this document has just been submitted to the REF Team for formal approval so watch this space for more information about this.

If you need any more information about the REF, have a look at all the previous blog posts that we’ve included here, or visit the new-look REF website. Alternatively, you can contact myself or Julie Northam in the Research Development Unit, or leave a comment below.

REF Panel Criteria summaries by UOA

The final REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods documentation was released by the REF Team (based at HEFCE) at the end of January.

As a handy guide to the information the RDU has summarised the headline information for the UOA in the documents listed below:

Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy – UOA 3 panel criteria summary

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience – UOA 4 panel criteria summary

Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences – UOA 7 panel criteria summary

Computer Science and Informatics – UOA 11 panel criteria summary

General Engineering – UOA 15 panel criteria summary

Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology – UOA 17 panel criteria summary

Business and Management Studies – UOA 19 panel criteria summary

Law – UOA 20 panel criteria summary

Social Work and Social Policy – UOA 22 panel criteria summary

Sports and Exerise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism – UOA 26 panel criteria summary

Art and Design – UOA 34 panel criteria summary

Communication, Cultural and Media Studies – UOA 36 panel criteria summary

Happy reading! If you have any questions about the REF then please do let me know.

The second brilliant external REF event at BU!

On Wednesday this week BU hosted a REF Team-supported event for universities in the south of England explaining the content of the recently released REF Panel Working Methods and Criteria documentation. This was the second REF event that has been hosted at BU in the past 12 months. The first event was held in May 2011 and you can read about it here: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2011/05/25/the-excellent-hefce-ref-event-at-bu/

The event, attended by over 150 delegates from 32 institutions, outlined the similarities between how the four Main Panels will review submissions, as well as focusing on the differences between the panels particularly in how they will define and assess impact in the context of the REF.

Chris Taylor, Deputy REF Manager, spoke about the technical aspects of the REF, e.g. the timetable, element weightings, and institutional REF codes of practice, and then looked at each of the three elements of the REF in depth – impact, outputs and environment.

Prof Stephen Holgate, Chair of Main Panel A, then delivered a very interesting presentation on the similarities between the four Main Panels which have been vastly improved since the sector-wide consultation on the Panel Working Methods documentation last autumn. The Panels have put in a significant amount of work to ensuring their working methods will be as simple, transparent and similar as possible which is excellent news.

After break there were four concurrent sessions, each focusing on one of the Main Panels. Event attendees could choose to attend one session. The session were led by:

  • Main Panel A – Prof Stephen Holgate (Chair of Main Panel A)
  • Main Panel B – Prof Philip Nelson (Chair of the General Engineering sub-panel)
  • Main Panel C – Prof John Scott (Chair of the Sociology sub-panel)
  • Main Panel D – Prof Bruce Brown (Chair of Main Panel D)

After the concurrent sessions, all presenters took part in a Q&A session back in Kimmeridge House.

One of the key messages of the day was that the sub-panels will not make use of journal impact factors, journal ranking lists, or other journal scoring information to inform the review of outputs. Citation data will be provided by the REF Team to sub-panels:

  • Main Panel A: Sub-panels 1-6
  • Main Panel B: Sub-panels 7-11
  • Main Panel C: Sub-panel 18

Research collaboration (e.g. links with other institutions, business and industry, international collaboration, etc) was also highlighted at numerous points throughout the event as being of particular importance in the environment element of the assessment.

Regarding impact, Prof Holgate stressed that the assessment of impact was not necessarily linked to the size of the population affected but to the reach and significance of the impact – for example, a 4* impact case study could be for a drug that cured three people or 3 billion people.

Also interesting was the focus on 4* research being that which is transformative research and that this could be the synthesis of knowledge and the identification of a new way of doing things. A review paper could therefore be assessed as 4* if it meets this definition. Prof Holgate remarked: “we are in an era of transformation. We want game changing outputs to be submitted to the REF”.

The event was closed by Prof Matthew Bennett at 1pm after which point event attendees networked over lunch. Feedback from attendees so far has been very positive!

If you attended the session then we’d love to know what you thought! Let us know by adding a comment to this post.

The slides will be available shortly via the Blog.

REF draft code of practice – BU academic staff comments invited

Over the past 18-24 months we have been working on a code of practice to set out the approach that is being taken at BU in preparing our REF submission. The document has largely been authored by Anita Somner, Judith Wilson, Dr James Palfreman-Kay and myself with input from Prof Kate Galvin, and has been approved by the REF Academic Steering Group and REF Academic Leadership Team. It is a requirement for all institutions submitting to the REF to have a code of practice in place which has been approved by the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP), and the initial deadline for submitting draft codes to the EDAP is midday on 27 April 2012.

We are now inviting all academic staff to comment on this version of the BU REF code of practice. Comments received will help to refine the document in advance of the final version being sent by the VC to the EDAP at the end of April. A feedback form is available for completion by academic staff wishing to comment on the draft document.

The draft code of practice and the feedback form are available from the I-drive: I:\CRKT\Public\RDU\REF\COP feedback

Responses should be emailed to Anita Somner by 5pm on Friday 16 March 2012.

I am happy to discuss the document with colleagues and/or to meet as appropriate. If you have any queries, please do let me know.

Thanks

Julie

BU Professor of Law presents in Geneva

WIPO logoBournemouth University’s Director for the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM), Professor Martin Kretschmer, has been invited to speak at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

Professor Kretschmer will open the ‘Economics of Intellectual Property’ seminar series on 15 February 2012, with a presentation entitled ‘Private copying and fair compensation: An empirical study of copyright levies in Europe’.

His work is the first independent empirical assessment of the European levy system as a whole. It consolidates the evidence on levy setting, collection and distribution and reviews the scope of consumer permissions associated with levy payments.

Professor Kretschmer will present the results of three studies into printer/scanners, portable music/video/game devices, and tablet computers, including his analysis of the relationship between VAT, levy tariffs and retail prices in 20 levy and non-levy countries.

The full seminar series sees six presentations in Geneva between now and November, each by one of the world’s top Intellectual Property researchers. The full programme, including presentations by Professors of Stanford University and the University of Tokyo can be accessed online.

A video version of Professor Kretschmer’s and other ‘Economics of Intellectual Property’ presentations will be available after the event through the WIPO website.

View Keynote Speeches from the FSBI 2011 conference

The Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) 2011 Annual International Conference took place at BU in July last year.

The week-long event organised by the FSBI and BU focused on the damage being done to aquatic ecosystems and fish communities, and discussed how scientific evidence could be used to benefit the world’s fisheries.

The conference attracted many esteemed Scientists from a total of 22 countries who presented their research over five days.

Four of the keynote speeches, as well as an overview of the conference, can be seen below.

An overview of the Fish Diversity and Conservation: Current State of Knowledge

Julian Olden (University of Washington) Invasive Species and Alternative Global Futures for Freshwater Ecosystems

Ya-hui Zhaoyh (Chinese Academy of Science) – Out of Sight Out of Mind: Current Knowledge on Chinese Cave Fish

David Dudgeon – Asian River Fishes in the Anthropecene – Conservation Challenges in an era of Rapid Environmental Change

Steve Railsback – Behaviour in Fish Conservation Models: Getting From “why” to “how”

Paul Skelton – Walking the Tightrope: Trends in African Freshwater Systematic Ichthyology

REF Team releases final panel criteria and working methods

The REF Team, working on behalf of the UK’s four main funding bodies, have now published the final version of the REF Panel criteria and working methods document. This document spells out the detail of how each of the four Main Panels and their relevant sub-panels have interpreted the assessment criteria for the first Research Execellence Framework exercise due to be held in 2014. There are some differences between the panels and we hope to be able to summarise these and disseminate them shortly via the blog, so watch this space.

In the meantime, for more information about the REF, see our previous blog posts by clicking on the ‘ref’ tag on the right-hand side of the blog. Alternatively, you can visit the HEFCE REF webpages.

Assessing societal impact of social work research

Edwin Van TeijingenREF logoJonathan Parker
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the new assessment method for publically funded research in universities. Its controversial new ‘impact’ element rates work based on evidence of social, economic or cultural benefits generated from it. But how easily can such things be quantified, particularly in applied academic subjects like social work?

Professors Jonathan Parker and Edwin van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University have addressed these questions in their paper ‘The Research Excellence Framework (REF): Assessing the Impact of Social Work Research on Society’, published in Practice: Social Work in Action.

They argue that ‘the framework raises doubts about whether it is possible to capture fully the impact of social work research at all, and social work itself for that matter’, and stress that some pathways need to be identified to do this.

In suggesting ways to evidence impact, such as primary evaluative research, Parker and Van Teijlingen also outline the stumbling blocks. There are data protection laws and the expense and time of tying up research evaluation with another research project.

The solution, they say, is for social work research to be built and undertaken in partnership with social care agencies; that impact is everybody’s concern and practitioners and those who use social work services and their carers have a role to play in its creation and identification.

Parker and Van Teijlingen acknowledge that the REF will promote critical-thinking, engage practitioners and address the challenges of public spending restraint, but express a deep-seated concern that this new method of assessment will mark a loss of ‘conceptual, theoretical and critical’ research.

Although assessing research through improved social, economic, health, and environmental aspects of life is unlikely to be questioned, Parker and Van Teijlingen strongly argue that it should not be the only set of research outcomes recognised.  They argue that if the REF approach becomes common currency, ‘society is likely to lose the deeper understandings and meanings that have permeated thinking and, no doubt practice and behaviour.’

Both firmly believe BU’s research programme designed to enhance social work practice through continuing professional education has changed practice and influenced policy, as well as numerous other benefits to culture, public services, health, environment and quality of life.

Read Parker and Van Teijlingen’s full paper.