Tagged / students

AHRC – Collaborative Skills Development Funding Opportunity

The AHRC’s new Collaborative Skills Development call is aimed at supporting the development of innovative, collaborative training packages that will meet a range of capacity issues in the arts and humanities. It focuses on developing skills amongst students and Early Career Researchers for future careers in research and other contexts.

The call has two strands:

  • The Organisation-led strand will enable Research Organisations (ROs) to offer training and skills development activities to groups of students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in several institutions, involving a variety of different partners. 
  • The Student-led strand will support doctoral students to establish and run smaller-scale collaborative programmes. 

The call will offer funds of up to £60,000 for Organisation-led skills development packages, or up to £3,000 for student-led programmes. Proposals can be submitted by any Research Organisation, including Independent Research Organisations, and the Student-led strand is not restricted to AHRC-funded students.

Applications should propose the development of skills within one of the following areas:

  • Partnership working including public engagement
  • Entrepreneurship and the Creative Economy
  • Research Skills Enrichment

Proposals will be eligible from any discipline within the AHRC’s subject remit, although AHRC particularly encourage applications addressing specific capacity building needs and skills gaps encompassed by their strategic themes and priority areas (see application guidance for more details).

Proposals must be collaborative, involving at least two separate ROs, or an RO and a non-academic organisation.

Full application guidance is now available on the AHRC website. The application form will be available via the Je-S system by the end of July and the deadline for applications is Thursday 20 September 2012.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss your application, please contact Jessica Bacon on 01793 41 6071 or Myriam Volk on 01793 41 6076.

 The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

RBS EnterprisingU competition open to students and graduates

The RBS EnterprisingU competition has launched, with £40,000 worth of prizes!

The competition, created by Find Invest Grow and sponsored by RBS Group and LinkedIn, offers a unique online platform for students to “road-test” their business ideas, while building the framework for a professional business plan at the same time.

It is open to students and graduates of the past 5 years:  they don’t have to be economics grads with business experience – anyone can enter. The platform enables students to explore the viability of their business idea, by asking the right questions and building the appropriate framework.

Investors will be reviewing and judging entrants to decide on the 20 semi-finalists who will be selected to attend the training workshops.  The 10 finalists will be pitching their business ideas to a room full of investors,  with the chance of winning prizes of £25,000, £10,000, and £5,000.

The competition is now open, at: http://www.rbsenterprisingu.com

Encourage your students / recent graduates to apply!

The deadline for completed entrants is midnight on the 15th June 2012.

Call for academics to unite and stand up against the changes to the student visa regulations

The changes wrought to the student visa regulations are extremely concerning and almost certain to lead to irreversible damage to Higher Education (HE) in the UK especially in respect of its international reputation, as a consequence of an ill-conceived policy to reduce the numbers of incoming migrants to the UK that plays to popular, ill informed ideology and short-term, self-serving politics at the expense of the country. Students are an easy target, but a false one and do not indicate the changes for which the public may in fact be vying.

The ramifications for HE and the UK economy are likely to be very significant judging from the hard evidence brought to bear on the issue. According to the report ‘Estimating the Value to the UK of Education Exports’ produced by Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the profits brought in by the education of international students represents £14.1 billion, with a projected estimated profit of £26.6 billion by 2025.

Dr Jo Beall, director of education and society at the British Council, has disseminated the findings of a major study with the Economist Intelligence Unit, entitled ‘Impact of Visa Changes on Student Mobility and Outlook for the UK’. This demonstrates that the UK is now seen as having the most restrictive immigration regime of all its competitors, leading to international students taking their business away from the UK towards the USA, Australia and Canada. Nor do arguments against the control of extremism among international students carry much weight, since this not related to international students, as shown in the Home Affairs Committee report ‘Roots of Violent Radicalisation’. Furthermore, according to the British Council, international students ensure the viability of certain disciplines, such as postgraduate biotechnology and engineering courses, where they can constitute 90% of the population (see Times Higher Education, 9-15th Feb 2012 for details).

The weight of hard evidence from these various, highly reputable sources point to a dramatic and deleterious effect on the economy if we restrict international students in this way. We must not, either, forget the importance that a global mix of students brings to the pursuit, creation and sharing of knowledge. Our higher education is an elite export that brings billions to the UK economy and it seems absolutely incredible that the Government is blatantly ignoring this alarming evidence, especially during a time of grave financial hardship and austerity for the country. This evidence cannot be ignored and makes a mockery of misguided arguments that international students represent an abuse of the UK. Instead it is clear that the UK economy and reputation is reliant on international students who have until now sought in great numbers the UK’s elite export: our world-leading higher education, which is rapidly slipping from its hard-earned first position in the international tables, and is a fall that is likely to prove irreversible.

It is most concerning that academics are seemingly accepting these changes, rolling over and aping the actions of a pusillanimous UUK in the face of the Government’s HE reforms. The evidence is there and we need to stand up for important if difficult truths in the face of short term political goals. Our conversation with Phil Baty at the Times Higher indicates that the new editor, John Gill, features editor, Rebecca Atwood, are seeking interest to develop a campaign around this area. Something we feel strongly should be engaged in by all concerned academics.

 

Prof Jonathan Parker and Dr Sara Crabtree

School of Health and Social Care

The British host: just how welcoming are we? New research by the School of Tourism

Despite the rise in international education, there is a lack of literature on the domestic student perspective of the international class room. A study by School of Tourism lecturers Lorraine Brown and Steven Richards redresses the balance somewhat. Their paper, The British host: just how welcoming are we?, has just been published in the Journal of Further and Higher Education.

This paper reports findings from a qualitative study of British student attitudes to the presence in large numbers of international students on their tourism management programme. Analysis revealed home students to be empathetic, flexible and eager to learn about new cultures. This mindset was attributed by participants to their desire to work in the international tourism industry and their understanding that tourist satisfaction increases in line with host receptivity. This is shown in the quotes below:

“Studying alongside international students meant that we would get a completely diverse cultural input. The more the merrier!” Bianca 

“It was going to be really interesting learning about people’s backgrounds and cultures.” Natalie

“It does change you just in little ways, just in how you are with people, you don’t even realise it at first I don’t think. I guess it taught me that you sort of judge people a bit quick, and that you shouldn’t really.” Laura

“Any prejudices are challenged, and its no bad thing for me and my fellow students to all have to develop some cultural awareness if not sensitivity.” Bianca

The nature of the subject, tourism, has a massive international element to it; if you are doing tourism, you are quite likely to be interested in other cultures.

That employability was increased by exposure to different cultures was commonly stated, as shown in the following typical comments:

“I feel confident that I can go to some of these countries now because I am aware of what to expect, behaviour patterns, culture patterns, I can try some of the skills I have learnt from being here.” Diana

“The main benefit for me is that never before could I imagine working abroad. I would definitely feel more confident now.” John

“I definitely think I could get used to working with different cultures, even if it’s in London! London is going to be multinational and international. You get used to dealing with different cultures, just trying to understand people talking different languages. Now I know that even if at first it might be a bit difficult, you can always communicate and work it out.” Laura

Lorraine and Steve’s study has just received coverage in the Times Higher Education Supplement – http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=419037&c=1

Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement explained

You may hear the terms Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement banded about quite a lot but what do they actually mean? Jo Stark, BU’s Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship Manager, provides some further clarification.

Enterprise Education

The term “Enterprise Education” at BU draws together existing pockets of best practice into a coherent whole that will provide a focus for further development across the institution and beyond institutional boundaries.

For an example of this see the Dynamo Enterprise Boot Camp Video which provides a bite size overview of the 2010 enterprise boot camp for students that BU facilitated with four other regional universities in collaboration with local businesses.

By embedding opportunities for our students to engage in external activity within the curriculum, academics can not only enhance our students’ employability, but also develop their profile with employers. This can be embedded through live consultancy projects, business simulation challenges and involvement in the entrepreneurship society – Business Mania.Business Mania logo

Although activity such as student placement and graduate recruitment does not create direct enterprise income, it offers BU and its academics a significant platform for employer engagement. As an example, by helping our graduates to gain employment not only develops relationships with employers, but enables the academic to maintain the relationship with the graduate, who, in a few years could become a client for BU.

By demonstrating “enterprising” attributes through their approach to teaching and research, academics will not only encourage their students to think this way, but will also develop opportunities for income-generating activity.

The team in the Centre for Research and Enterprise (CRE) have recently supported academics in DEC to develop a dedicated enterprise module in the Software Systems degree framework. The team not only helped with the development of curriculum, but also provide external speakers for guest lectures to help enhance the learning experience for the students and develop wider opportunities.

Employer Engagement

At BU ‘Employer Engagement’ is defined as any form of contact between BU and an employer that attempts to effect a change in the intellectual capital, understanding or behaviour of an employer, for specific purpose of commercial gain on BU’s part or to benefit the economy of region and wider public.

BU takes its interpretation of Employer Engagement therefore as Enterprise in its widest sense. BU includes activity focussed at both business and community:

1.    Demand led learning and teaching provision (Short courses)

2.    Workforce Development (CPD)

3.    An active stakeholder in the economic prosperity of the conurbation and wider region

4.    Employer focussed curriculum development

5.    Employability (student and graduate placements)

In order to do this, it is vital that, as part of this activity an in-depth understanding of HE and economic policy is maintained, not only enabling BU to remain reactive to external drivers, but also remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic market place.

Through this activity CRE is able to generate opportunities for the institution, academic staff and students. In recent months CRE has established a strategic relationship with a blue chip multi-national and brokered the opportunity across to a leading Prof. Numerous placement and graduate recruitment opportunities are captured and disseminated to the appropriate schools. This activity also enables CRE to identify employer demand for specific short course development.

For further information contact Jo Stark who will be happy to help. Otherwise check out the BU Enterprise Intranet pages on Enterprise Education and Employer Engagement.

Thoughts on writing recommendations for a research thesis

Prof Edwin van Teijlingen (HSC) examined a PhD candidate last year whose recommendations were only Prof Edwin van Teijlingenvaguely related to the work presented in the thesis. Since then he has examined several PhD theses which had an interesting range of recommendations not directly related to the student’s study findings. Listed below are his ideas about ‘appropriate’ recommendations:

Many postgraduate students make recommendations that are too broad, too generic, or not directly related to the exact topic of their research. These recommendations are not wrong; they are simply not specific / relevant enough. Examiners like to see some more mundane recommendations that come specifically from the thesis / research work.

First, you should not really recommend anything that you have not previously discussed in the Discussion. The rule ‘no new material’ in your Conclusion is also applicable to your ‘Recommendations’.University of Olomouc thesis from 1713 with motif of Ottoman Wars

Secondly, recommendations are not the same as conclusions. Consider recommendations go one step further than conculsions as (a) ‘something’; (b) ‘someone’; and (c) ‘needs to do’.

Furthermore, there may be different levels within your set of Recommendations, with recommendations for (a) academic (i.e. more research is needed into…), (b) for policy-makers (e.g. data protection act needs to change to accommodate…); for (c) practitioners (e.e. managers in local government need to consider the mental well-bing of their staff); or recommendation for (d) training / education (e.g. health promotion officers employed in inner-city Birmingham need to be trained in being culturally sensitive to several large ethnic minority communities to help them fulfil their role better in the community).

We’re interested to know your thoughts on this and to hear your experiences of advising postgraduate students when writing their recommendations. Let us know what you think by adding a comment.