Being asked to examine a PhD thesis is a honour for most academics. As an examiner you always learn something new. If not about the topic itself, you may learn different ways of applying a research method or new theoretical explanations or even new ideas for supervising your own PhD students. It is a joy to have an in-depth scientific discussion with a dedicated and motivated candidate. Usually the candidate is a little nervous, especially at the start of the viva, and I see it as one of my tasks as an examiner to help the candidate to relax a little.
Today I had the pleasure of being one of the examiners for a PhD at the University of Maastricht (the Netherlands). The PhD candidate (now Dr.) Franka Cadée was a little nervous according to her supervisors, although it did not show during the viva.
Interestingly, enough I also felt nervous! Before today I had examined 50th PhD thesis in seven different countries. However, I probably had not felt this nervous since my own viva nearly three decades ago. Why was I nervous? First, although I am Dutch and I have studied in the Netherlands and the UK, I had never attended a PhD examination in the Netherlands. And PhD examinations really do differ between the UK and most northern European countries, especially the public defence of the thesis by the candidate in front of examiners, colleagues, friends and family. Secondly, the candidate today is the president of the ICM (the International Confederation of Midwives). Of course, this does not make any difference in the examination process, this candidate was treated the same as any other student would have been. Thirdly, and most importantly, the ICM had globally advertised the public defence of Dr. Cadée’s thesis to midwives, maternity policy-makers, member of International Non-Governmental Organisations and maternity care providers and invited ‘everybody’ to watch on ZOOM.
I really think it was the latter that made me more nervous than the much more private UK PhD viva with perhaps five or six people in a small class room, or, these days, on ZOOM.
Finally, my congratulations to Dr. Franka Cadée on the successful defence of her thesis Twinning, a promising dynamic process to strengthen the agency of midwives.
Professor Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)
Academia has become more demanding than twenty years ago, particularly, the job outwith university. Just this morning I received three requests to review a paper. Each from a very reputable journal and a each a legitimate requests, i.e. I asking me to assess a paper in a my academic field.
Reviewing papers and grant applications is, of course, part of my academic responsibilities, and hence part of my scholarly practice. But I am already reviewing five NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) grant applications this weekend, as well as an other paper for BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, and there are two PhD theses next my bed which I need to exam. On top of this I have been ignoring several reminder invitations to review a research proposal for the Croatian Science Foundation, as I simply do not have time to do so, however, much I would like to do so.
The forthcoming REF 2021 is not helping. UK academics are frantically submitting their manuscripts to academic journals to have them in print before the end of 2020, to beat the REF 2021 deadline. The flip-side of this reviewing coin is that my collaborators and I have had three papers turned down in the past year by a reputable journal as it could not find appropriate reviewers. Three articles on three very different aspects of our work, one a UK-based study, one a European study and one a study based in Nepal. For two of these manuscripts the journal took nearly a year to come back to us, wasting the chance to submit the paper elsewhere.
Perhaps it is due the rose-tinted spectacles of looking at the past, perhaps is it simply my level of seniority (compared to twenty years ago) but I don’t think so. The underlying trend is that the volume of papers submitted to journals is growing faster than the number of academics volunteering to review. This blog is, therefor, also a call for my academic colleagues to step up and agree to review on (extra) paper. Interestingly, I made a not dissimilar call in a BU Research Blog eight years ago! Unfortunately, the overall situation has not improved.
I haven’t even mentioned the exponential growth in email requests to academics submit papers to so-called predatory journals! I counted 15 requests in the past two days alone and it is only 10 AM on Saturday morning so more to follow later today.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
The Chevening Scholarship Programmes are both prestigious and fully-funded.
They offer a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders since 1983. Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations, Chevening offers two types of awards – Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships – the recipients of which are personally selected by British Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world through a rigorous selection process.
The application dates for Chevening Scholarships is 7 August 2017 to 7 November 2017.
The academic year is September 2018 to August 2019.
Bournemouth University is a Chevening partner.
The most recent edition of the international journal Women & Birth includes a discussion paper highlighting the role of the academic journal editor, an often misunderstood ‘job’ in academic scholarship . The Bournemouth University authors of this paper are all three active as journal editors and sit on several editorial boards of scientific journals. The role of the journal editor may not be well known by budding authors. The purpose of this article is to explain the editor’s role in order to encourage future participation in reviewing and publication.
This latest paper is part of a series of articles written by staff in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on academic writing [2-4]. These ‘how-to-do’ papers offer advice to junior researchers and postgraduate students. Several of the papers in this series are co-authored with Bournemouth University’s Visiting Faculty, including Dr. Brijesh Sathian (based in Nepal), Prof. Padam Simkhada (Liverpool John Moores University), Ms. Jillian Ireland (Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust), Prof. Debra Bick ( King’s College, London), Dr. Bibha Simkhada (Inter, Nepal) and Dr. Emma Pitchforth (RAND Europe, Cambridge). The range of publications includes papers on advice for article titles , tricky issues such as authorship and author order [6-7], selecting the most appropriate journal for your paper  and writing up qualitative research . Whilst a further paper offers advice on writing an abstract for a scientific conference .
Edwin van Teijlingen, Vanora Hundley & Jenny Hall
Twitter: @EvTeijlingen @VanoraHundley @hallmum5
- Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth 28(2): e26-e29.
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11(1): 1-5.
- van Teijlingen, E., P.P., Simkhada, B., Ireland, J. (2012) The long & winding road to publication, Nepal Journal Epidemiology 2(4): 213-215.
- van Teijlingen, E., P.P., Rizyal, A. (2012) Submitting a paper to an academic peer-reviewed journal, where to start? Health Renaissance 10 (1): 1-4.
- van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2014) Finding the right title for your article: Advice for academic authors, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 4(1): 344-347.
- van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Bick, D. (2014) Who should be an author on your academic paper? Midwifery 30: 385-386.
- Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2013) Academic authorship: who, why and in what order? Health Renaissance 11(2): 98-101.
- van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2002) Getting your paper to the right journal: a case study of an academic paper, Journal of Advanced Nursing 37(6): 506-511.
- Pitchforth, E., Porter, M., van Teijlingen, E.R., Forrest Keenan, K. (2005) Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care, Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care 31 (2): 132-135.
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Simkhada, B.D. (2013) Writing an Abstract for a Scientific Conference, Kathmandu University Medical Journal 11(3): 262-265.
The Daiwa Scholarship is a unique 19-month programme of language study, work placement and homestay in Japan.
Daiwa Scholarships offer young and talented UK citizens with strong leadership potential, the opportunity to acquire Japanese language skills, and to access expertise and knowledge relevant to their career goals. No previous experience of Japan or Japanese is necessary.
As of April 2012, 135 Daiwa Scholars – including scientists, artists, academics, lawyers and architects – will have benefited from the Daiwa Scholarships. Daiwa Scholarships are provided by the Foundation to encourage better understanding between both countries. Successful applicants will be based in Tokyo form September 2013 until the end of March 2015. They will receive intensive language training; have opportunities to network with decision-makers in their field; and undertake work-placements at organisations relevant to their career goals.
The closing date for Daiwa Scholarship 2013 applications is Thursday 6 December 2012. The online application will be available from September 2012. For more information about what is involved in the programme, please visit the web site here.
The Foundation is also happy to provide advice about possible applications – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the north east of Japan the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, in partnership with the British Council in Japan, launched a £250,000 scholarship fund to support Japaneses students in the Tohoky region. They are now accepting applications for the 2012 round of scholarships.
The aim of this initiative is to support post-secondary level students affected by the March 2011 disasters, in particular those areas most affected (Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures), seeking to study for a period at an educational institution in the United Kingdom. Applications will also be considered from students from the Tohoku region who are currently studying in the UK but who require financial support to continue their studies.
Scholarship applications may be submitted for the following types of courses, beginning in 2012 or 2013:
Undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses (including foundation programmes) in all subject areas
PhD and post-doctoral research programmes
Vocational courses at universities and colleges of further education
English language courses (e.g. pre-sessional courses, English language summer schools)
The amount of funding available will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Sufficient funding will be awarded to cover fees, living expenses and travel expenses for an applicant’s intended course, in line with its level and duration. Therefore, applicants are required to explain their vision for the future and financial plans as part of the application process. Priority will be given to students who can demonstrate seriousness of purpose and financial need. Successful applicants must secure a place on a course of study at a UK institution in order to take up funding.
Application forms can be downloaded from the British Council’s Japan website (www.britishcouncil.or.jp), and should include a personal statement outlining the purpose of study and long-term goals. Completed application forms should be sent to: Daiwa Foundation Tohoku Scholarships section, British Council, 1-2 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0825
The application deadline is 15 June 2012 (applications postmarked up to this date will be accepted). Applicants who intend to study in the UK on courses of up to three months will be assessed on the basis of the application form alone; applicants who intend to study on courses of over three months will be asked to come to either London or Tokyo for an interview. The selection panel will assess applications and inform applicants who are selected for interview by early July. Interviews will take place on 10 and 11 July 2012 in London, and on 18 and 19 July 2012 in Tokyo. All successful applicants (for courses of both up to and over three months) will be informed of the results in mid-August.
For further information visit the call website: http://www.dajf.org.uk/ and read the scheme notes: http://www.educationuk.org/userfiles/file/Daiwa%20Foundation%20Tohoku%20Scholarships%20publicity.pdf
The closing date is 15 June 2012.
Science without Borders is a Brazilian scholarship programme which aims to provide mobility opportunities between Brazil and Europe, for undergraduates, postgraduates, postdoctoral and senior research fellows in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The programme aims to:
- Increase the presence of Brazilian students, scientists and industry personnel in international institutions of excellence;
- Attract young investigators and internationally recognised research leaders to Brazil to work with local researchers in joint projects; and
- Encourage the internationalisation of universities and research centres in Brazil through international partnerships.
There are a number of ways of getting involved:
- Host Brazilian undergraduates and postgraduates – with a view to start hosting for the 2012/13 academic year. A bilateral agreement between the UK and Brazil has been signed, Universities UK (UUK) is the UK partner organisation.
- Apply for a research grant to work in Brazil:
- Young post-doctoral researchers can apply under the ‘Attraction of Talented Youth’ programme for a two to three year long research project in Brazil;
- Science leaders can apply under the ‘Special Visiting Researcher’ grants that will fund joint projects with research groups in Brazil and fund work in Brazil for up to three months every year.
2012 call deadlines for the ‘Attraction of Talented Youth’ programme and ‘Special Visiting Researcher’ grants are 15 February, 4 June and 1 October.