Tagged / training

Sometimes a kick in the teeth can be good for you!

My rationale needed to be contextualised, my aims were too tentative and I had a weak dissemination strategy. Apart from that my bid had potential.

This was the feedback I got on a two-day course run by the Missenden Centre on bidding for research funding. John Wakeford and his small team of experts began by painting a rather dismal picture – an institutional success rate of more than 50% is rare apparently. And this does not necessarily mean that the amount of bidding should be increased, rather it’s better to ensure that every bid is precise, well-crafted and perfectly pitched.

The course was structured around presentations on the national context, the processes of the research councils and, most usefully, dissection of our own bids. My group was small and we quickly learned not to be too precious about surrendering our proposals for scrutiny. The critique we got from each other, from the facilitators and from the research development officers (who joined us on day two) was invaluable and I left with these key lessons:

  • Take time to prepare a robust bid – rushed responses to late calls are rarely successful;
  • Make sure the bid is going to the right place – make sure you know exactly why a particular body should fund your research;
  • Build in plenty of time for peer review – even minor errors can have a disproportionately negative effect;
  • Be bold and convincing about the impact your research will definitely have;
  • Write like a journalist – seduce and engage your reader – minimise the chances they have to say ‘no’.

And now I have some revisions to do…

 

The RDU has funding available to send BU academics on external proposal writing workshops, such as the one Mark went on at the Missenden Centre. If you’re interested in attending then email me (jnortham@bournemouth.ac.uk) to discuss the workshops coming up.

 

Grant Writing Workshops for Staff – Research Councils Focus

Next week the Research Development Unit are organising 2 full day workshops on preparing applications for the research councils.  The workshops will be run by Martin Pickard, who has 25 years experience of writing, supporting and managing literally thousands of research proposals and has worked across Europe with a large number of universities, research institutes, industrial firms and international companies.

  • 23rd November will be focused on social sciences and humanities research council bids. 
  • 24th November will be focused on applied and natural sciences research council bids, including engineering.

There are still one or two places left on the 23rd and several places on 24th.  If you would like to attend please contact Susan Dowdle asap.

Vitae and the Researcher Development Framework

Vitae is an organisation set up to promote career development in both postgraduate researchers and academic staff.  They have recently launched the Researcher Development Framework which is intended to help people monitor their skills and plan their personal development.  At BU we will be using this framework to format the training on offer for the postgraduate research students and academic staff.

The Vitae website is an excellent resource and the organisation regularly runs free training events specifically aimed at PGRs.  Upcoming events include Effective Researcher – The end is in sight aimed at students close to the completion of their PhD.

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF) is the professional development framework to realise the potential of researchers.  The RDF is a tool for planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers in higher education.  It was designed following interviews with many successful researchers across the sector and articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of a successful researcher. 

There is a planner available on the Vitae website to help you assess which stage you are at with your skills and a tutorial providing guidance on how to use the framework.

Top 10 tips from researchers on using the Researcher Development Framework (RDF):

1. You might choose to use the RDF for short term as well as long term development. The RDF can be used in planning for your long term career ambitions but also to make a feasible short term plan. It can be useful to imagine your long term ambitions in order to focus your career path however the reality of progressing through to the higher phases may be more difficult to plan. In the short term, making decisions about how to progress to the next phase or what sub-domains are most important for you will be easier. Try to be realistic when setting these short term goals.

2. Use the RDF to highlight your strengths and areas for development and how these might be used to benefit/influence your personal, professional and career development.

3. Use the RDF to highlight your applicable and transferable skills. This is important for career progression within or outside academia.

4. Prioritise those areas which are most relevant. You don’t have to try to develop in all the areas of the RDF at once. There may be some sub-domains/descriptors where there is less relevance in progressing through the phases for you.

5. Draw on experiences outside of work to evidence your capabilities.

6. Progression to the highest phase in a descriptor will not be applicable to everyone but being aware of the possibilities can aid personal and career development.

7. Talk to others to get their views about your strengths and capabilities. Your supervisor, manager, peers, family and friends are a great source of information to find out more about yourself. Talk to them about how they perceive your capabilities. By understanding how others view you, you will be able to make more informed choices about your future.

8. To move from one phase to the next why not explore attending courses. These courses may be run at a local level (within your University) or may only be run nationally or internationally so awareness of opportunities for training is important. Vitae also run a wide range of courses which address many aspects of personal and career development.

9. Some phases may only be reached through experience and practice however good self-awareness and professional development planning will aid the process.

10. Networking is likely to enable you to reach more experienced phases.

The Collaborative Researcher – Free Places at a Vitae training workshop

Vitae, the organisation which focuses on researcher development is offering up to 40 free places on this 2 day training workshop to help you develop your collaboration skills.  All you need to cover are your travel expenses to Nottingham.  Places will fill up fast so if you’re interested don’t delay!  The dates are 30th Jan – 1st Feb 2012.

This 2 day residential course looks at the building blocks of the collaborative style of research: ­ inclusive communication, cultural awareness, robust planning, negotiation and the ability to work effectively with others.  Whether your collaboration is with another academic in your department, or partners from different subjects, sectors and countries, it helps you to develop winning strategies for connecting and working with others.

What does it involve?

The course is attended by up to 40 researchers from across the country, from different disciplines and career stages.  It is led by a team of experienced facilitators who work with participants throughout the 2 days to support their learning.  They will be from a variety of backgrounds with experience in collaboration, academia and other sectors.

This course takes a ‘learning by doing’ approach. There will be presentations on collaboration theory, but for the most part, you will be actively participating in the sessions and activities. 

This is an intensive 2 day residential course which runs from dinner on the evening of Monday 30th January to 5pm on 1st February 2011

What’s in it for you?

This course offers you the opportunity to: 

  • explore collaboration both in theory and in practice
  • work with a team of experienced facilitators from a range of career backgrounds, who will ensure you get the most out of the 2 days
  • meet researchers from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds and career stages
  • develop your understanding of collaboration theory and how to apply it in practice
  • take a few days out from your research both physically and mentally, and have some space in which to consider yourself and your next steps

Eligibility/Entry

This event is open to all UK researchers – subject to availability. Book your place now.

Places on the event are free but participants will need to cover their own travel expenses.  Accommodation and meals are provided.

Methodology Training – Building Momentum in the School of Tourism

With many of the leading journals in the field of Tourism and related studies now recording rejection rates in excess of 90%, the pressure is on all of us with an interest in publishing in such journals to enhance our level of engagement with the variety of alternative research methodologies available to us and to deepen our level of knowledge of those deemed most appropriate; as well as to improve the level of rigour with which we apply them in our work! In addition to constructive criticism from panel members of the level of conceptual and theoretical engagement in many papers reviewed for RAE2008, feedback from reviewers points to methodological weaknesses in papers submitted and a sense of frustration over the a lack of rigour and an apparent unwillingness to try contemporary approaches. 

In response, the School of Tourism has invested much time in developing the methodological expertise of its staff and for 2011-12 is launching a new programme of Research Methods on Wednesday mornings throughout the year. Available to all School staff and PhD students, the new programme, being led by Professor Roger Vaughan and Dr Lorraine Brown, explores both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research, a number of emerging methods of contemporary interest, with the programme concluding with sessions on the use of “voice” and “trustworthiness” on the writing up of qualitative research and the presentations of quantitative findings.

For further information please contact Dr Lorraine Brown at lbrown@bournemouth.ac.uk

Bag that Bid

Richard Brooks and Katherine Timms, Officers from CRE Operations, recently attended a training session called Total Proposal run by Aron Cronin, director of GIC limited. GIC limited is an international management and business consultancy specialising in business development and training services. 

The course gave an insight into the key areas of consideration when writing a proposal. The course attendees were a mix of university academics, managers and administrators. 

The key learning point for the day that Aron wanted people to take away was that proposals need to be tailored. Too often he has seen proposals recycled with no thought for the current funding body’s requirements, and proposals have even been submitted with other funder’s name – an easy way to ruin any chance of securing funding. 

Key points from the training:

 Proposals need…

  • To be responsive in terms of the approach, timescales, and deliverables.
  • To be compliant in terms of: administration, legal, and technical requirements.
  • To provide a workable offer – the apportionment of work must be flexible and phased appropriately.
  • To stress benefits over features:
  • Be a selling document – ‘why us?’
  • Be structured
  • Contain clear expressions
  • Hit the ‘hot buttons’ on the evaluation grid/table
  • Give an indication of the two-way traffic we would expect – there needs to be a tangible benefit to both parties
  • Indicate our expectations

Project stages…

  • Pre-planning stages, it is important to realise that this stage is a project in its own right and requires:
    • a plan;
    • an action list; and
    • a timetable.
  • Proposal process requires:
    • a key issues meeting;
    • ownership at a senior level (authorised signatories) – investment in risk is essential;
    • CVs
      • should be tailored
      • should contain a ‘golden paragraph
      • should be written in the context of the team the strengths you bring
    • Proposal
      • should be tailored
      • should link directly to the ‘job’
      • should be linked to the CVs
    • Finance
      • should capture all elements
      • should allow for secure risks
    • Quality assurance – use the following tools to help ensure this:
      • checklists
      • call over (read out loud/ to other people)

Aron left us with some helpful techniques; these can be found in the uploaded course material (see link below): 

  • helpful hints and winning tricks
  • story boarding
  • word consistency grids
  • blue checklists

(\\Lytchett\IntraStore\CRKT\Public\Research & Enterprise\Conference & Workshops handouts\15-06-11 Training Gateway Total Proposal)

If you would like any further information, email me or Richard

Hot off the press this week – 4 new EU calls for proposals and tenders!

Calls for Proposals
Information, Training & Assistance Centres in Latin America: Proposals should ensure the visibility of European satellite navigation activities, monitor local satellite navigation initiatives and support the EU satellite navigation industry through support of information, training and assistance centres and activities, in Latin America. Deadline 15.09.11

Youth Support Systems: This call for proposals aims at supporting partnerships with regions, municipalities, civil society actors and bodies active in corporate social responsibility in order to develop over the long-term projects which combine various measures of the ‘Youth in Action’ programme. This mechanism aims at encouraging synergies and cooperation between the European Commission — via the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency — and the different actors working in the field of youth by pooling resources and practices with a view to maximising the impact of the programme and to reaching out to a higher number of beneficiaries. Deadline 03.11.11

Calls for Tenders
Stimulating Innovation for EU Enterprises through ICT: The objective of this action is to assess the policy context, concept, implementation, results and economic impact of the EU policy initiative eBSN (eBusiness support network for SMEs), focusing in particular on the initiative on ‘Stimulating innovation for European enterprises through smart use of ICT’, encompassing a series of industry-specific demonstration actions to stimulate innovation among European SMEs through smart use of ICTs. Deadline 06.10.11

Guidance for Active Age Management – Supporting Longer Working Lives of Older Workers: The aim of this Europe-wide study is to investigate how lifelong guidance is embedded in the European Union and national policies and strategies on active ageing as well as in employer’s age management strategies supporting older workers’ (55+) lifelong learning and skills development, and within this context to what extent various guidance services available to this target group in real terms address the issue of staying longer in employment (instead of making an early exit from working life). Deadline 26.09.11

Upcoming Missenden Centre workshops – book your place now!

The Missenden Centre still has places available on a number excellent workshops this autumn/winter.

The Research Development Unit has some funds available to support academics and research support staff to attend. If you are interested please contact Julie Northam in the first instance.

Ensuring PhD completions for REF 2014
15/16 September
With: John Wakeford, Head of Missenden Centre and Fiona Denney, Head of Postgraduate Development at King’s College London
Special session for academic, registry and graduate school staff
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s1

Successful bidding: third of our day clinics
18 November
With: John Wakeford
Bring a draft or previously unsuccessful application for advice on how to turn it into an award-winning form.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s4

Bidding for research funding: pathways to success
9/10 November for academics
10/11 November for research support staff
With Sarah Andrew, Dean of Applied and Health Sciences, University of Chester
Robert Crawshaw, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Lancaster University
‘The course was excellent. I think it will probably change my entire approach to writing grant proposals and will most wholeheartedly recommend it to my colleagues. So, once again, many thanks.’  Dr. Miriam V. Dwek, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Westminster.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s2

Effective supervision
12/13 January
Our unique preparation for supervisors and those with responsibilities for training them.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s6

Speak to the Research Development Unit and book your place now!

Upcoming Missenden Centre workshops – book your place now!

The Missenden Centre still has places available on two excellent workshops in June. The Research Development Unit has some funds available to support academics and research support staff to attend. If you are interested please contact Julie Northam in the first instance.

Successful bidding: second of our day clinics
2nd June
Woburn House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ
Tutor: John Wakeford
Bring a draft or previously unsuccessful application for advice on how to turn it into an award-winning form.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s8.htm

Bidding for research funding: pathways to success
15/16 June for academics and
16/17 June for research support staff
With Sarah Andrew, Dean of Applied and Health Sciences, University of Chester
Robert Crawshaw, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Lancaster University
‘The course was excellent. I think it will probably change my entire approach to writing grant proposals and will most wholeheartedly recommend it to my colleagues. So, once again, many thanks.’  Dr. Miriam V. Dwek, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Westminster.
http://www.missendencentre.co.uk/s7.htm

Book your place now!

Media School launch a world first!

The Media School recently launched the world’s first Professional Doctorate programme for professionals working in the Creative Industries. 
 
The Creative Industries in the UK has shown itself to be a diverse, vibrant, and expanding sector that contributed nearly £60bn to the UK economy in 2008. With this dynamic picture in mind, this practice-led programme is multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional in nature and aims to build new knowledge in the field of practice.
The Professional Doctorate: Creative Industries (DProf) programme is aligned with the Bournemouth University’s strategic plan in so far as it offers;

•         high quality education
•         aims to develop high quality professional practice
•         is likely to raise our public media profile
•         will potentially offer opportunities for Media School staff to engage in enterprise activities with businesses within the Creative Industries.
 
Dr John Oliver, the Programme Director and Acting Head of Research for the Media School, says that this is an exciting addition to the Media School’s portfolio of doctoral research provision and has already attracted high calibre professionals in the form of an Executive Director at Virgin Media.

The Graduate School story part I…

Professor John Fletcher founded BU’s Graduate School in 2002. Here he reflects on what life was like before the Graduate School and where we have come to so far…

This blog is a reflection of the BU Graduate School story so far as the first incarnation of the Graduate School makes way for a new vision. When I was asked to set up the Graduate School in November 2002 as 0.2FTE of my time, it was in the wake of two RAEs where BU had been criticised for its lack of institutional support of its PGRs and a stream of complaints from our postgraduate researchers via the Student Union.  The first step was to examine the processes and systems in place across both campuses which quickly revealed that the seven Schools had seven different sets of processes and systems and, even more challenging, it transpired that we had somewhere between 80 and 147 PhD students but nobody quite knew how many.  When looking at the qualification rates at that time BU was only managing to get 11% of its PGRs through within 4 years and some researchers had been registered for more than 13 years!  Eight years on the Graduate School has implemented a Code of Practice and a set of processes that are now common across BU’s six Schools, overseen the introduction of new and innovative doctoral programmes and help improve our qualification rates. The systems that the Graduate School has put in place were deemed to be so effective that members of the panel that came to BU for the institutional audit contacted the VC to ask if they could adopt the BU model for their own institution.  BU was also one of the first handful of universities to introduce a credit bearing training programme for its supervisors, something that is now becoming commonplace across the sector. 

The support provided by the Graduate School to our PGR students has reduced the isolation and the complaints received from PGRs but there is still a long way to go to ensure that we have the correct systems in place to create a best practice research environment.  The introduction of myBUILD as an online research student log and compliance system met with considerable resistance but was innovative at that time and BU was one of the first institutes across the HEI sector to introduce an online log.  The lack of resources has meant that it was not possible to continue to develop the platform as the numbers of researchers increased but even though myBUILD has probably long gone past its “best before” date, it is vastly superior to the varied and somewhat unusual mixture of record keeping that was found in the individual Schools. There is an urgent need to redevelop the online system to make it more intuitive and better integrated with the other platforms across BU.

BU now has well over 300 PhD students and the qualification rates, particularly those of our part-time researchers, is vastly superior to that of 2002.  The Graduate School introduced the Annual PGR Conference which has been enormously successful and was an integral part of the Special Audit of PGR programmes, a working member of the EUA’s programme on improving the quality of doctoral programmes across Europe and was the hub for BU’s application to ESRC and AHRC for doctoral support bids (the former falling foul of the spending cuts but the latter achieving success). It is hoped that Graduate School will move from strength to strength as the importance of the postgraduate segment of our student body becomes more significant as we move forward in the 21st century.

Success of Postdoctoral Development Programme in HSC

The School of Health and Social Care has recently launched a new postdoctoral development programme aimed at those staff who have completed their doctoral studies. Prof Elizabeth Rosser (Associate Dean) provides an overview of how the programme works and the benefits to those involved…

A new postdoctoral development programme has commenced in HSC to offer those who have completed their doctoral studies the opportunity to move forward collectively as well as individually in their research endeavours. 

Initially the programme has focused on Nurses with the idea of running the programme again using an interprofessional group within the School, and maybe this could ultimately be a University-wide initiative with interschool activity?

The programme has commenced focusing on developing the skills of participants in the area of bidding for research grants, sharing the experiences of those with a range of bidding activity under their belts and encouraging all members to engage in undertaking one bid during the life of the programme.

This 6-month programme which commenced February 2011 has already made an impact.  One afternoon per month the group of 10 postdoctoral academics, drawn from each of the research centres in the School,  engage with the professoriate in learning the skills of bidding for research grants, sharing the lessons learned, as well as the challenges and the pitfalls.  Whilst there are key areas addressed during the programme, essentially the action learning group is informal with the programme content arising from queries and suggestions from the group itself.  The atmosphere offers an air of excitement and is informal and very informative with a buzz of spontaneity and active discussion.  The testimonials provided here show just how useful the programme has been to participants as well as to the HSC professoriate.

We need to do more of this….

Professor Elizabeth Rosser

Associate Dean (Nursing)

School of Health and Social Care

Writing competitive proposals event (London)

The Training Gateway is offering a ‘Total Proposals’ workshop in London on 15 June 2011.

Course overview:
Success depends on delivering a winning proposal – a strong selling document which the client will want to buy.  The seminar gives institutions not only the practical tools of proposal preparation, such as bidding plans and checklists, but also shows a range of winning techniques and “selling” devices that will positively differentiate your proposal from those of your competitors.

Attendees will:
– Refresh their approaches to the preparation of proposals
– Acquire new presentation techniques
– See how to give proposals a competitive edge
– Learn how to maximise the evaluation scoring of proposals.

This is an excellent opportunity for anyone involved in writing competitive proposals for research and enterprise funding!

Further information, including the booking form, can be found here.

PGR Poster Events

Post Graduate Researcher Poster Events

At School level we will shortly be holding a Post Graduate Poster event on the 18th May. This was an initiative that started five years ago following a suggestion from a PGR student representative. Various poster events are organised specifically for PGR only participation, at national level such as the young engineer of the year competition at the Houses of Parliament, at university level organised by the Graduate School and at academic group level such as the new Psychology event. It is worth thinking about these activities and the value to the academic community at various levels.

Our PGR poster event is organised with the help of a small number of staff but the main decision making regarding the format of the event is driven by the PGR community itself. The posters compete for a small cash prize within year groups and are judged externally by invited high-profile industrialists and academics. Participation level has been high during the four events to date and the event ownership for the participating PGR’s has been maintained. External participation to judge the posters has been appreciated by the PGR’s as the economic and practical benefits of research are seen as valued. In addition, the enthusiasm for the research projects from the external competition panel act as a real motivation to students and supervisors. Our key values that keep the poster conference successful are retaining the PRG ownership concerning format and external engagement via the competition judgment of the posters.

Prof Mark Hadfield

Deputy Dean – Research and Enterprise

School of Design, Engineering and Computing

book your place on the BU GrantCraft Research Workshop Day!

We are delighted to offer a bespoke GrantCraft Research Workshop Day on May 11th 2011, facilitated by Dr Martin Pickard, a specialist in writing and supporting research proposals (particularly EU). Sessions will be held on grant writing skills, impact and benefit, how to write a Marie Curie proposal and the management of EU projects. You can attend as many sessions as you like throughout the day. To read more on each session and to make a booking see our GrantCraft Research Workshop Day Event Page.

Researchers of the next generation

Prof Holger Schutkowski, Deputy Dean in the School of Applied Sciences, joined BU in January. Here he provides his thoughts on training the next generation of researchers.

In a week’s time I will have the great pleasure to open the School of Applied Sciences’ Postgraduate Research Conference. I was delighted that I was asked to give a keynote, not only because it is a nice way of making myself known to students, since I only arrived at BU in January, but also to share some thoughts about the way we do research. Whilst universities require some original research in the final year undergraduate dissertation, and to a much greater extent in Master’s programmes, it is at PhD level where we expect the clear evidence of intellectual independence, of playful recombination of knowledge, which will allow candidates to go beyond current established borders of thought, and to push scientific progress, something that is always happening at the fringes.

Are we able to give advice? Should we? How can we make this happen? The latest deliberations about the future of current PhD systems and their ever-increasing production of graduates is beginning to raise serious concerns and to elicit calls for reforms, quite drastically, indeed (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110420/full/472261a.html). Interestingly enough, they emphasise co-operation between institutions (consortia) and cross-disciplinary work.

While the former is already part of the RCUK agenda and is likely to shape the future of PhD funding and recruitment in the UK over the next years, the latter maybe can do with further encouragement. Certainly, one way is to encourage our PhD students to decidedly undertake an interdisciplinary project, which essentially means to embrace the boldness of crossing borders, to work across disciplines and to become acquainted with, adopt and modify interpretive frameworks of other, related or cognate subject areas. Often claimed, rarely done, though; unfortunately a recurring problem and certainly not confined to the fledgling researcher.  Another approach is to ensure the research is firmly embedded into a wider and meaningful context, so that these connections across disciplinary borders can be made and the outcomes of the research become accessible and meaningful to the related or cognate subject areas we are trying to include in the first place.

As it happens, this is what I am going to talk about in my presentation, with case studies that necessitate contextualised analysis to demonstrate how we can bring past societies to life through the study of their skeletal remains. But to come back to the state of PhD systems: cross-disciplinary thinking and context awareness is what we want to instil in the researchers of the next generation. But this also requires the intellectual capacity and preparedness for doing so. The students we graduate need to be skilled and prepared for an increasingly competitive job market.

Prof Holger Schutkowski

Deputy Dean

School of Applied Sciences

How KTPs helped Dorset Cereals quadruple in size

Dr Martyn Polkinghorne added an excellent post a couple of weeks ago about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). Following on from this David Kilburn, Head of Business Development and Associate Professor (Enterprise) in the School of Tourism, has added this post about how KTPs with BU helped local SME Dorset Cereals.

I have been involved in KTP schemes for about 8 years and during that time I have written 11 successful 2 year classic schemes and 6 short KTP schemes.

KTPBasically the KTP scheme is a partnership between BU and a company whereby knowledge is transferred both ways – from the university to the company and vice versa. An Associate – a graduate from anywhere in the world – is employed for 2 years on average and has 2 supervisors, 1 from BU and 1 from the company.

The Associate also receives structured training and development on quarterly training days set up by the funding body, Momenta.

Seven of the classic KTP schemes have been with food related companies such as Dorset Cereals (2), Fudges Bakery, Chococo, Olives Et Al, Cowdry’s Bakery, Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon and Sun Cottage Wholefoods.

All of the above KTP schemes have been successful but the double scheme at Dorset Cereals was particularly successful and quadrupled the business within two years.

There now follows a more detailed overview of the Dorset Cereals success story.

Dorset Cereals is now the UK’s leading provider of muesli following the successful completion of two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with Bournemouth University.

The Dorchester-based company, which produces flakes, granola, porridges, bars and slices as well as muesli, hired University graduates to help develop its marketing and production functions. And on the back of Bournemouth University’s support Dorset Cereals has nearly quadrupled the size of its business.

When Managing Director Peter Farquhar arrived at Dorset Cereals in 2005 there was no marketing function – and having seen a story about another company which had worked with the University on a knowledge transfer programme and received an emarketing mail shot from David Kilburn, Head of Business Development, Mr Farquhar got in touch with David at Bournemouth’s School of Services Management (now the School of Tourism). “We had an outrageous plan that would see us become the UK’s leading muesli provider and together with the University we identified two big gaps that needed plugging,” he said. “One was around the relationship with our consumers, particularly the website, where we had no expertise in the business, and the second was around production capacity and processes which we needed to change to meet the planned volume growth.”

Bournemouth University graduate Harriet McKay – who has since been appointed as the company’s Communications Manager – was brought in to deliver the marketing support. “When I started, the website was plain and there was absolutely no reason for customers to come back to the site,” Harriet explained. “I worked with the team at Dorset Cereals and their design agency to create a new website that would create more visits and importantly communicate their brand values. Before the University’s involvement the company had 16,000 emails on its database, now we have over 200,000. It’s been a fantastic success story.”

The company, which had access to University academic expertise around web marketing and database development, also commissioned a second knowledge transfer programme to up production targets. “We brought in new equipment and employed new staff, but ultimately we needed to change the way we worked on the factory floor and the University helped us to improve our production capacity and processes,” Mr Farquhar said. “The University’s involvement has been pivotal to our successes – frankly we couldn’t have got to the stage we are without the involvement of Bournemouth’s staff and students.”

Dr Martyn Polkinghorne, Bournemouth University’s Knowledge Transfer Programmes Centre Manager, said the partnership with Dorset Cereals was a good example of what the University can bring to business. “Businesses should be more aware that universities have the capability to make a direct impact on their bottom line, as we have in this case. Here at Bournemouth we have particular expertise in supporting the food and drink sector, as well as many other key specialisms which firms are tapping into.”

David Kilburn
Associate Professor Enterprise
Head of Business Development
School of Tourism

For further information on KTPs, view the following webpages: