Tagged / Research Councils

Funding Development Briefing 21/9/22 Spotlight on: NERC Pushing the Frontiers

Funding Development Briefings kicked off on 14th of September 2022 for this academic year.

What are Funding Development Briefings?

Each session will cover the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Sessions will also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU. Sessions will be on Wednesdays, from 12 pm for half-an-hour. The same link can be used each week to join here.
Next Weds 21 September, we will cover NERC Pushing the Frontiers (previously known as Standard Grants).
Date Spotlight Funding Opportunity Briefing Research Facilitator Lead
14/09/2022 Innovate UK SMART Grants Innovation & Infrastructure
21/09/2022 NERC Pushing the Frontiers Life Sciences
28/09/2022 23/24 Horizon Europe Work Programmes EU & International
05/10/2022 ESRC Humanities & Social Sciences
12/10/2022 EPSRC Innovation & Infrastructure
19/10/2022 Wellcome Trust Life Sciences
26/10/2022 HALF TERM
02/11/2022 MSCA Overview of Actions EU & International
09/11/2022 AHRC Humanities & Social Sciences
16/11/2022 Regional Funding Innovation & Infrastructure
23/11/2022 NIHR Overview Life Sciences
30/11/2022 Horizon Europe Societal Challenges EU & International
07/12/2022 Leverhulme Trust Humanities & Social Sciences
14/12/2022 KTPs (Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange Managers) Innovation & Infrastructure

Sessions will be recorded and made available after the session for those who cannot attend.

Reminder – Spotlight on MRC TODAY

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

This Wednesday 8th June, there will be a spotlight on the Medical Research Council.

We will cover:

  • Overview
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Funding Development Briefing – Spotlight on…MRC

The RDS Funding Development Briefings occur weekly, on a Wednesday at 12 noon.

Each session covers the latest major funding opportunities, followed by a brief Q&A session. Some sessions also include a spotlight on a particular funding opportunity of strategic importance to BU.

Next Wednesday 8th June, there will be a spotlight on the Medical Research Council.

We will cover:

  • Overview
  • How to apply
  • Q & A

For those unable to attend, the session will be recorded and shared on Brightspace here.

Please join the briefing by clicking the link below.

Click here to join the meeting

Embedding Impact in Funding Applications

Writing about impact in a grant application can be challenging, but a strong description of the benefits you hope your project will have can make all the difference between getting funded or not.

This refers to Research Impact. Although some projects will have a theoretical scope with no discernible benefit outside academia, these are unlikely to be eligible for external funding.​

You can find our A brief guide to impact on Brightspace which explains what we mean by Impact.

The Funding Landscape

Funders consider the whole call when reviewing applications, so think about what is currently big in policy/research/the media etc. The panel review all applications which have been shortlisted and will assess the potential impact of funding a group of them, not just individual projects.

PPI/participatory/engaged research has never been more important. Studies show that effective and meaningful co-production/involvement of beneficiaries enhances impact at every stage of the study​ so make sure to thread it throughout where appropriate.

A quick note on UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Recently the Research Councils dropped their required ‘Pathways to Impact’ attachment. This does not mean that impact is no longer important in applications, but that they want to see it woven throughout.

Funder Requirements

Requirements will vary by funder, call, theme, endowment etc., so always read the guidance and speak to your Research Facilitator for advice.

Academic excellence is fundamental. Consider additional collaborators if they would provide a different angle, and include knowledge mobilisers or those who are needed for implementation.

Look out for key words in the guidance that highlight impact: engagement, non-academic partnerships/governance, regional/national significance etc. ‘Value for money’ is also common- potential research is a social return on an investment and cost consequences are scrutinised.

For projects working with developing countries you need to aim for impact on the involved population​. Try to demonstrate that the generation of impact will be led by those it most affects.

Impact in the Application

For a standard UKRI application you should be aiming to include impact in each section:

Objectives and Aims: integrate your research goals and your impact goals​ – funders want to see the need for the research.

Plain English Summary: non specialists need to be able to understand the impact so the panel can assess properly the problems you are solving and the proposed beneficiaries.

Case for Support: most of this needs to contain impact including the background to the project and its potential contribution, methods of research and their relevance/suitability, track record of the team, delivery milestones, monitoring and evaluation, success criteria etc. ​

Justification of Resources: cost impact in, you are encouraged to!​ Consider public engagement resources, evaluation costs, staff members – UKRI say that they want to see 10-15% of costs going to impact.

Work Packages (WP): either have an Impact WP, or include some impact in all of your WPs​

Fast Track Impact is full of great resources including How to integrate impact into a UKRI case for support

For all funding applications:

Make impact easy to find: use formatting, cross referencing or signposting. This can also help with wordcounts, as flowcharts and diagrams if allowed often don’t count as text.

Involve beneficiaries/stakeholders/end users in the design of the research and impact plan: BU has brilliant resources for involving the public in research, so do contact PIER or VOICE for advice.

Think about the project’s longevity​: consider what follow-on support you might need to generate/upscale impact, or how you might leverage further investment after the funding. This is difficult but funders like to see project sustainability and an exit plan.

Troubleshooting

If you have trouble identifying your potential impact, consider:

  • Aims – what do you want to change with your research?​
  • Beneficiaries/stakeholders – who will benefit?​
  • Activities – how will you reach your goals?​
  • Evaluating and evidencing – how will you demonstrate change?​

A Theory of Change model (diytoolkit.org) can be helpful in plotting these concepts.

 

Finally, remember that embedding impact at the start will improve both the application and your research, and that you should be aiming for game-changing (but realistic) results.

Some useful resources are listed below, and you can always get in touch with your Impact Advisors at impact@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Stakeholder analysis (ODI)​

Research Impact toolkit (ESRC)​

Impact tracking and evaluation (Matter of Focus)​

Impact planning guide + template (Fast Track Impact)​

Planning for impact – NIHR toolkit for researchers – ARC (many links)​

PiiAF (Public Involvement Impact Assessment Framework)​

Towards co-production in research with communities (AHRC)

Develop programme ideas with the BBC:New Generation Thinkers 22

The 2022 call for the prestigious scheme is now open; It offers early career researchers the opportunity to develop programmes for the BBC.

If selected, you’ll workshop ideas with BBC producers, get media and public engagement training, and a platform for informing and influencing public opinion, policy and practice.

The applicants who will go forward to the next round will demonstrate:

-how one area of their research could make a strong, clearly expressed and engaging programme for Radio 3 of up to 45 minutes
-how this new research could have the potential to either change public opinion, influence policy or make a difference to people’s lives
-creativity, originality and the potential to talk and write about other areas within the arts and humanities, in an accessible and interesting manner, particularly to a wider listening audience
-that you are comfortable talking and writing about ideas from beyond your own research area, in an accessible and interesting way
-a wide range of interests through their review and description of their current research
-high standards of scholarship – clearly explained in interesting, well-written, jargon-free language, that’s editorially and stylistically suitable for a BBC audience.

To get a good idea of what the call is for, we recommend you listen to work by previous New Generation Thinkers on the BBC website before you apply. You can also find more examples and other information about the scheme on AHRC’s New Generation Thinkers webpage.

There is a webinar for applicants on the 21st July at 14:00 – registrations to open soon, keep an eye on the call pages.

At BU we are setting up a webinar after the AHRC webinar, with Sam Goodman, Media, previously successful candidate on this call, who can share with you his experience and respond to any questions you may have.

BU webinar: 28th July 3-4 

If you wish to book a place , please email Organisational Development.

 

Arts & Humanities Research Council logo BBC radio 3 logo

Free interactive training on impact and UKRI/Horizon 2020 funding bids

If you would like to take the opportunity of online impact training as it relates to the UKRI Case for Support or writing the impact sections of Horizon 2020 proposals, Professor Mark Reed of Fast Track Impact is offering free, interactive webinars, giving you access to his most popular training sessions. Due to a high level of interest, there are now a further 100 tickets available for each of the two courses below:

How to integrate impact into your UKRI Case for Support
A highly interactive opportunity to learn about research impact and discuss example proposals integrating impact into their Case for Support
14.00-15.00, UK time (BST), Wednesday 15th April 2020

  • Learn exactly what impact is (and is not) based on evidence from The Research Impact Handbook
  • Discuss two contrasting examples of applied research proposals that have integrated impact into their case for support, identifying which of the two is best and why (using the break-out room function in Zoom), and report back key features of good practice to the wider group
  • Get a masterclass in integrating impact to bids from Professor Reed
  • Get the option to join free follow-up training to learn more about impact via email over the next 5 weeks
  • Get a free PDF copy of Prof Mark Reed’s book, The Research Impact Handbook (second edition), and access to a video recording of the whole session (exclusive to those attending the webinar)
  • Access is on a first-come-first served basis, with up to 100 spaces available. Book now to avoid disappointment.

How to write the impact sections of a Horizon 2020 proposal
A highly interactive opportunity to learn about research impact and discuss impact sections of funded and rejected Horizon 2020 proposals
15.00-16.00, Central European Time (CET), Friday 3rd April 2020

  • Learn exactly what impact is (and is not) based on evidence from The Research Impact Handbook
  • Discuss two Horizon 2020 proposals (impact sections only) in small groups (using the break-out room function in Zoom), identifying key features of good practice to work out which one was funded
  • Get a masterclass in writing the impact sections of a Horizon 2020 bid by Professor Reed
  • Get the option to join free follow-up training to help you embed what you’ve learned via email over the next 5 weeks
  • Get a free PDF copy of Prof Mark Reed’s book, The Research Impact Handbook (second edition), and access to a video recording of the whole session (exclusive to those attending the webinar)
  • Access is on a first-come-first served basis, with up to 100 spaces available.  to avoid disappointment.

NERC standard grants (July 2020 deadline) – internal competition launched

NERC introduced demand management measures in 2012. These were revised in 2015 to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme. Full details can be found in the BU policy document for NERC demand management measures available here.

As at January 2020, BU has been capped at one application per standard grant round. The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators). An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the Principal Investigator of the lead or component grant.

BU process

As a result, BU has introduced a process for determining which application will be submitted to each NERC Standard Grant round. This will take the form of an internal competition, which will include peer review. The next available standard grant round is July 2020. The deadline for internal Expressions of Interest (EoI) which will be used to determine which application will be submitted is 27th March 2020.  The EoI form, BU policy for NERC Demand Management Measures and process for selecting an application can be found here: I:\RDS\Public\NERC Demand Management 2020.

NERC have advised that where a research organisation submits more applications to any round than allowed under the cap, NERC will office-reject any excess applications, based purely on the time of submission through the Je-S system (last submitted = first rejected). However, as RDS submit applications through Je-S on behalf of applicants, RDS will not submit any applications that do not have prior agreement from the internal competition.

Following the internal competition, the Principal Investigator will have access to support from RDS, and will work closely with Research Facilitators and Funding Development Officers to develop the application. Access to external bid writers will also be available.

Appeals process

If an EoI is not selected to be submitted as an application, the Principal Investigator can appeal to Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Any appeals must be submitted within ten working days of the original decision. All appeals will be considered within ten working days of receipt.

RDS Contacts

Please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator – andrewsl@bournemouth.ac.uk if you wish to submit an expression of interest.

 

UKRI Future Leadership Fellowships scheme Workshop

If you’re an arts and humanities early career researcher who has applied to Round 4 (or thinking of applying to future rounds) of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) Scheme, then we have an important date for your diary. On 14 January, the AHRC will be holding a workshop in Bristol specifically for the arts and humanities community. The day will provide plenty of useful advice and networking opportunities as well as a chance to meet current award holders and find out more about the scheme.

If you are interested in attending the workshop on the 14th January in Bristol, please complete the smart survey by Monday 18th November 2019. Please note that there are only 50 places available and these will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. More information about the workshop can be found here.

Please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator if you secure a place to attend.

NERC standard grants (January 2020 deadline) – internal competition launched

NERC introduced demand management measures in 2012. These were revised in 2015 to reduce the number and size of applications from research organisations for NERC’s discovery science standard grant scheme. Full details can be found in the BU policy document for NERC demand management measures available here.

As at January 2019, BU has been capped at one application per standard grant round. The measures only apply to NERC standard grants (including new investigators). An application counts towards an organisation, where the organisation is applying as the grant holding organisation (of the lead or component grant). This will be the organisation of the Principal Investigator of the lead or component grant.

BU process

As a result, BU has introduced a process for determining which application will be submitted to each NERC Standard Grant round. This will take the form of an internal competition, which will include peer review. The next available standard grant round is 14th January 2020. The deadline for internal Expressions of Interest (EoI) which will be used to determine which application will be submitted is 27th September 2019.  The EoI form, BU policy for NERC Demand Management Measures and process for selecting an application can be found here: I:\RDS\Public\NERC Demand Management 2020.

NERC have advised that where a research organisation submits more applications to any round than allowed under the cap, NERC will office-reject any excess applications, based purely on the time of submission through the Je-S system (last submitted = first rejected). However, as RDS submit applications through Je-S on behalf of applicants, RDS will not submit any applications that do not have prior agreement from the internal competition.

Following the internal competition, the Principal Investigator will have access to support from RDS, and will work closely with Research Facilitators and Funding Development Officers to develop the application. Access to external bid writers will also be available.

Appeals process

If an EoI is not selected to be submitted as an application, the Principal Investigator can appeal to Professor Tim McIntyre-Bhatty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Any appeals must be submitted within ten working days of the original decision. All appeals will be considered within ten working days of receipt.

RDS Contacts

Please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator – andrewsl@bournemouth.ac.uk or Jo Garrad, RDS Funding Development Manager – jgarrad@bournemouth.ac.uk if you wish to submit an expression of interest.

Funding opportunity – Climate Environment and Health

NERC/MRC/ESRC in collaboration with the Belmont Forum, have issued a call to fund transdisciplinary, end-user focused approaches to investigate and address the linkages between climate, environment and health. Projects should seek to bridge knowledge gaps, understand health risks, improve predictability, and deliver usable data, information, and innovative solutions to planners and decision makers. The following themes are prioritised for this call; food systems and nutrition; heat and health and; climate-sensitive infectious diseases.

Projects must be eligible to receive funding from at least three partner organisations participating in this call established in three different countries, and should include researchers from the natural sciences, health/medical sciences, social and economical sciences or humanities, as well as societal partners.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 6th May 19, with full proposals due by 23rd July 19. More information is available on the website.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Lisa Andrews, RDS Research Facilitator or your Funding Development Officer, in the first instance.

 

Calls for Global Challenges Research Fund OPEN

The following Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) calls are open and a Town Hall meeting has been arranged to cover the call details.

EDUCATION – Gender and Intersectionality Network Plus

RESILIENCE TO ENVIRONMENTAL SHOCKS AND CHANGE – Ensuring resilience enhances the Sustainable Development Goals

CROSS PORTFOLIO CALLS – Gender and Intersectionality and Education as a driver of sustainable development network plus

A short Expression of Interest (EOI) should be completed by those intending to submit to this call by 16:00 on 11 March 2019.

ESRC will host a town hall meeting to explain the ambitions of this call in more detail. The town hall meeting will be held in central London on 7 February 2019. This event is open to anyone with an interest in the GCRF and development research opportunities, but tickets must be booked in advance.

Alexandra Pekalski is booked to attend. Please contact her on apekalski@bournemouth.ac.uk if you have any queries.

UKRI GCRF regional engagement events – Now Open!

UKRI are developing a programme of UK based GCRF engagement events which will take place January-March 2019.  These events provide a timely opportunity to engage with the GCRF Challenge Leaders, for UKRI to provide an update on live and upcoming ODA calls/activities, and to discuss key topics e.g. interdisciplinary approaches, building equitable partnerships, and maximising impact.

These events are open to anyone with an interest in the GCRF and development research opportunities. Please find below details of the confirmed events, further dates, locations and application links will be added in due course.

Date Location Challenge Portfolios Event registration
28 January Keele
  • Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement
  • Food Systems
Register for event
7 February London
  • Education
  • Resilience to Environmental Shocks and Change
  • Education, Gender and Resilience
Register for event
14 February Birmingham
  • Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement
  • Education
Register for event
22 February Sheffield
  • Food Systems
  • Resilience to Environmental Shocks and Change
25 February London
  • Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement
  • Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure
Register for event
7 March Manchester
  • Global Health
  • Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure
12 March Edinburgh
  • Education
  • Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement
Register for event
15 March Sussex
  • Education
  • Global Health
26 March Cardiff
  • Food Systems
  • Resilience to Environmental Shocks and C

 

If you wish to discuss, please contact myself via email or phone (01202 961204).

GCRF Collective Programme Pre- Call Announcements

WATCH THIS SPACE! The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme calls will be announced shortly.  If you are interested or require support please contact Alexandra Pekalski or call on 01202 961204. You can also find deadlines, town meeting information and expected launch dates here

Applicants from all relevant disciplines are encouraged to apply for each call and proposals should be challenge-led and interdisciplinary in nature notwithstanding which council is leading. The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) GCRF Collective Programme is a series of calls designed to enhance the overall impact across the six strategic GCRF Challenge portfolios:

  • Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Food Systems
  • Global Health
  • Resilience to Environmental Shocks and Change
  • Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement

The programme is an interdisciplinary programme delivered by UK Research and Innovation and steered by the GCRF Challenge Leaders.

Please contact Alexandra Pekalski or call on 01202 961204 for further information and support.

Dr Gavin or: how I stopped worrying and learned to love research

A lesson on patience

It apparently took J.D. Salinger 10 years to write his first novel, The Catcher in the Rye. J.K. Rowling spent about 6 years writing and re-writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I suspect publisher pressure accelerated things thereafter). As an early career researcher, I feel that since graduating from my doctorate and becoming independent, I can be less patient and eager for instant results – a feeling encouraged by social media and continuous metricisation.

My own current project, inspiratory muscle training for care home residents at risk of falling, can’t be compared to great achievements like those novels. But it is my ambition to undertake my own research project as principal investigator – and so I intend to savour the experience (i.e. be task oriented), rather than just chasing the outputs (i.e. being outcome oriented). I have learned to value iterative research designs, in that, the initial study’s outcomes inform the subsequent study’s methodology, and so on. However, this method presents its own uncertainties, as the researcher has to relinquish their control over the study.

Several lessons on managing myself

That said, I am beginning to see the need to set regular targets to keep the momentum on a project like this going. Taking my research beyond the controlled ‘safety’ of the physiology laboratory (satisfying internal validity), into a brave new world of the care home setting (satisfying external validity), requires working with research ‘end users’, be it: service managers, staff or residents. I’m finding the process: i) slow, care providers have additional administrative requirements, ii) essential, in laying trusted foundations for a long-term project, and iii) rewarding, by implementing research into the real world and establishing impact from the outset.

Since being awarded ACORN funding, my summer has been spent: writing for ethical approval, satisfying HR admin, recruiting care home partners, revising protocols, creating Plan B, writing Plan B ethical approval, piloting testing, revising participant selection criteria, and being trained by my PhD student (a lesson in humility, if nothing else). Even supported by an industrious research assistant this has felt a slow journey, with weekly peaks and troughs. I have even begun an 8 week period of inspiratory muscle training myself, to understand how care home residents can improve, feel challenged, and require further support. This has been equally useful to highlight practicalities – my challenges have been fitting 30 breaths, morning and night, into my daily routine; in contrast care residents’ challenges are likely to relate to effort, guidance, and motivation for training.

 

 

 

 

 

Research is an intellectual and logistical marathon

My initial participant selection criteria excluded all people with: dementia, COPD and respiratory difficulties, and cardiovascular diseases. My journey has presented three worries thus far: i) the funding expenditure deadline, ii) recruiting care homes and, iii) the selection criteria. In academia, the deadlines, targets and metrics are omnipresent, arguably more so since the increase in tuition fees.

Following the joy of being awarded research funding, comes the deadlines of expenditure (simple, if it were not for standard processes – ethical clearance, securing HR contracts, recruitment, and piloting) and the deliverables. I’m highly grateful of the ongoing support I receive, however I strongly believe that HE institutions must be realistic when financing projects and staff. Research is a slow process; outcomes cannot always be constrained to exact dates, as much as quality research cannot be established in rushed expenditure.

Mostly recently my challenge has been in recruiting care homes, particularly due to my selection criteria. This presents the methodological conflict between internal validity (i.e. the controlled laboratory) and external validity (i.e. the unpredictable care environment). Should I maintain my exclusion criteria, even though the majority of care home residents have dementia and/or COPD? Or relax the criteria to reflect the real environment and achieve recruitment? The former would make for more publishable data; the latter would support a Research Council funding bid (ah, I nearly forgot…must submit one of those by April 2019). Again, tempus fugit.

Self-experimentation

In this this social media age, time can appear condensed; two days can seem like an age, an afternoon of no replies, an epoch. A study in the 2017 Altmetric Top 100 provides compelling evidence that regular Smartphone use impairs cognitive performance by re-orienting attention. I’ve ‘disconnected’ from using a Smartphone and Facebook; this works for me. Regardless, I still have to exercise discipline in unnecessary email checking and now time-block my diary for: education, research or practice. I seriously recommend, as an academic, experiment on yourself. J.B.S. Haldane was a notable and prolific example of a self-experimenting physiologist. Yet whether it’s inspiratory muscle training or reducing Smartphone use, experiment on yourself – assess how you respond, identify influential variables and intervene if you wish.

 

 

 

 

How my ACORN grows

The simple truth is I don’t have a study finish date. The logic is if I am flexible on time, and put lots of my own effort in, then I will ultimately be able to generate both output and impact. There’s the psychological advantage too: by not having a finish date, I also stop the project becoming ‘work’. Pressures, missed opportunities, worrying others are publishing – these would stop research being fun. Academic success is not proportional to effort alone, however developing partnerships beyond academia is.

Being an academic is great – relative freedom, interesting colleagues, working with students, and contributing to societal value. Personally I’m not sure I’ll ever stop worrying, nevertheless, I have learnt to expect challenge on a near daily basis. This is notably relevant for the early career researcher looking to develop into an independent researcher, capable of sustaining their own work. Academia will always have a mountain to climb. I learnt to relax, stop worrying and love research by:

  1. Indulging in ‘quiet time’ – think, talk and share ideas
  2. Accepting failure
  3. Avoiding perfectionism
  4. Prioritising – day by day, week by week, time-block based on what tasks arise
  5. Avoiding distraction – e.g. social media detox / only read emails after late morning

Dr James Gavin

Dept. Sport & Physical Activity

Faculty of Management

Email jgavin@bournemouth.ac.uk

Phone 012029 66303

Research methods in practice: Learning from the ESRC Research Methods Festival 2018

Ten Bournemouth University academics attended the ESRC Research Methods Festival held at the University of Bath, 3-5 July 2018. The 8th biennial meeting attracted around 800 social science researchers at various stages of their careers, from across the range of disciplines and sectors. The festival content spanned seven parallel sessions for the morning, mid-day and afternoon workshops. This brief account is an attendee’s experience of ‘employing learning’ in Research Methods during the festival.

Day 1

The session ‘Meeting the challenges in teaching Research Methods’ (Professor Nind, NCRM, University of Southampton) was an interactive workshop informed by current pedagogical research. In teams we discussed our experiences of the three challenges in Research Methods education, namely: 1. diversity, 2. developing learning and teaching resources, and 3. online teaching.

This was followed by ‘Recent advances in rural health survey methodology’ (Dr Haenssgen, University of Oxford), which allowed me to appreciate current use of accelerometry (e.g. Fitbit) in assessing energy expenditure in communities for my current research study.

The day concluded with a rapid (downhill) run to Bath town centre, a laborious (uphill) run back, and then a nervous gala dinner served with the England vs. Columbia World Cup nail-biter.

Day 2

Blog like you mean it’ included tips on research communication and impact. The key-points being: make it topical (e.g. informed by current debates, issues or conversations), guide with sub-headings and look out for new policies for ‘research relevance’ (good examples include the Conversation, LSE Impact and Dementia day-to-day blogs).

Bournemouth University’s own Dr Tula Brannelly had strong attendance for her workshop: ‘Ethics of care in the research process’, which focussed on building solidarity with end-users in research, and how we can plan/create change in our own research.

Regardless of whether you are writing a research proposal, journal paper, teaching handbook or thesis, the session ‘Writing creatively for academia’ made me think of the reader: 1. maintain their interest, 2. engage their emotions, 3. activate memories and, 4. scientifically, keep it evidence-based. These aren’t exclusively applicable to all formats, but can help improve our general written communication and help eradicate bias from our writing. Elsewhere, ‘Innovations in teaching statistics and quantitative methods’ was useful for my own Research Methods teaching in the Department of Sport and Physical Activity.

Wednesday evening was more relaxed than the previous, with a guided walk through Bath town centre. Not only did we learn about Bath as a gambling den, yellow front doors, John Wood the elder, but also ex-resident, Nicolas Cage.

Day 3

The final morning involved: ‘Advances in sociogenomics’ (for general interest) and ‘New developments in qualitative evaluation research’ for healthcare research incorporating quantitative and qualitative data evidence. Both were inspiring and relevant, and importantly, led by postgraduates, to practitioners, to professors. Not all conferences/meetings are so inclusive and accessible.

Finally, I would like to thank Emily Cieciura and RKEO staff for supporting the strong attendance of BU academics at the Research Methods Festival. Similarly to myself, of those BU colleagues that I met, they felt equally as enthused and intellectually-overwhelmed…alas, in an academic, inspired way.

 

Many thanks,

Dr James Gavin – Academic, exercise physiology

Accompanied by…Aaron Yankholmes, Miguel Moital, Jae Yeon Choe, Michael O’Reagan (FM), Agata Wezyk (SciTech), and presenter Tula Brannelly (FHSS).

ESRC Research Methods Festival 2018

 

Experiences of an early career researcher: developing international collaborations

Saturday 9th June, 17.00. Standing at Platform 1 in Southampton Central station waiting for the 16.30 to Heathrow Airport. 17.10. Begin to panic and call the UK co-ordinator. 17.28. Begin to panic and call my wife. Taxi number on stand-by. 17.29. My train arrives.

So began my week-long sojourn to Sao Paulo for a British Council international Researcher Links workshop.Two hours later and safely through security, I begin to relax and meet a group of the UK delegates. Sunday arrived at 05.00 with a sense of excitement and exhaustion, as our mini-bus took us to the hotel. 11.10. Arrived at the hotel. It felt like 15.10. The OPAL workshop (a.k.a. ‘Identifying and addressing shared challenges in conducting health and social care research for older people’)  was an international collaborative ECR ‘sandpit’ between the UK and Brazil, with the aim of developing international research projects in ageing healthcare between the countries. OPAL was so much more than this; here is some of what I learnt:

1. Coming to an understanding

Otherwise known as ‘breaking down international barriers’. It is important that as you group-work, particularly with new partners, you listen to what they have to say, their perspectives, and adopt an open-mind. Consider their priorities, current research commitments and their personality. It is a skill in itself to recognise and motivate different individual personalities towards a common goal. But also respect that your colleagues will have other work (and life) commitments outside the project.

2. Identifying the problem

My group comprised a: physiologist, geriatrician, physiotherapist and clinician. Our topic: healthcare in frailty. On larger multidisciplinary projects, put aside your specific research interests and focus on identifying a worthy research question. This will allow you to build the project on current knowledge and challenge a ‘real world’ problem worth answering. ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. Keep in mind, there will always be ample opportunity for you to flex your specific technical abilities in a project; there may be a sub-study, a related side-study or an opening up of subsequent opportunities.

3. Benefits of teamwork

As always some of the most impactful and lasting partnerships are built after hours. Class-based activities lay foundations in knowledge; group work builds relationships; socialising (or networking) develops understanding and empathy. I’m no socialite, but be present, listen and give your potential partners your undivided attention. Not only is this crucial when building partnerships, but also professionally good etiquette. This may seem difficult with other deadlines/priorities looming, but DO NOT get out your phone/laptop/mobile device in social situations. This shows disinterest and poor manners.

4. Be realistic

…and be patient. ‘He who knows only his side of the case, knows little’ (John Stuart Mill). Appreciate the workload demands of others; by the time Monday comes you will all have a fresh list of priorities. For collaborations beyond your institution think what platforms you can use to keep momentum. For example: Dropbox, webinars, educational partnerships and/or Skype meetings. Also use collaboration-working as an excuse to write travel grant proposals.

5. How to create momentum and impact

Keeping things moving is a must, I think. Commit and schedule time into your diary, as you would for your teaching. Similar to research writing, if you do not prioritise the time, it will quickly be filled with other duties. Our group created a Dropbox folder (containing a new systematic review on our project idea), circulated a Doodle poll, and then arranged for a follow-up Skype call to share our independent reviews and discuss funding opportunities. Relationships are always more important than the project; there will be many opportunities for projects, not always for trusted and like minded research partners. Oh, and understand that each member has the right to withdraw from the group at any point. Our group began the week with seven, and by Friday’s Dragon Den presentation we had four (looking glamorous below). Oh well.

What next?

It’s now one week since I returned, and keeping momentum with the FIBULA project (a.k.a. ‘Frailty in the Brazil and the UK: Learning across Borders’) I have arranged to visit my UK partner and senior researchers at the University of Nottingham in July-August to begin a scoping review. Later in Autumn, through RKEO Acorn funding I will host our other group partner(s) from the University of Sao Paulo at BU to conduct a systematic review and develop our partnership, and proposal further.

These suggestions are based merely on a research neophyte’s experiences in exercise physiology, partnering with the healthcare sciences. Although I impart advice, for everything I have discussed, I am still striving to master these skills. After all, the research process is learning from knowledge of what came before and evaluation of what we find out.

Dr James Gavin

Department of Sport & Physical Activity

Email jgavin@bournemouth.ac.uk

Twitter @JGavin85

LinkedIhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jgavin1