BRC Bournemouth Research Chronicle
Edition 6 | January 2017
Featured stories: Using new archaeological techniques to uncover more about our past Innovation in sport: breaking through the white-water Aftershock Nepal: changing perceptions through student journalism Bournemouth Research Chronicle | http://research.bournemouth.ac.uk | January 2017 | 1
04 Welcome 06 News in brief 08 Digging deeper: using new archaeological techniques to uncover more about our past 12 Supporting a caring and creative culture for hospital patients and through â€˜Being Humanâ€™ 14 Conserving wildlife and tropical habitats in Indonesia 16 Innovation in sport: breaking through the white-water 18 Aftershock Nepal: changing perceptions through student journalism 20 The next generation of researchers 22 Innovation in industry: how researchers and the wider community are working together
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Welcome to the Bournemouth Research Chronicle
omplex global challenges are a defining feature of todayâ€™s world. Universities can play a key role in addressing these challenges and shaping a future for generations to come that we are proud to leave as our legacy. At Bournemouth University we are working at the forefront of these challenges and doing so in a highly dynamic and integrated way. We combine our research, education and professional practice so that they reinforce each other and their impact is magnified. We call this Fusion.
In this edition you will discover how our academic community is working together through Fusion to co-create solutions to some of these global challenges and to better understand society and the world around us. You can also read about some of our newly funded projects and how these fit into the broader landscape of academic endeavour at BU. Our students are a key part of our academic community, and in this issue you can read about their fieldwork in Indonesia and Nepal where they gain skills and experience that enhance their employability and will help them later on. In Indonesia, our students have been working with local charities to improve conservation practices, while in Nepal student journalists have been reporting on the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake.
â€œOur students are a key part of our academic community, and in this issue you can read about their fieldwork in Indonesia and Nepal where they gain skills and experience that enhance their employability and will help them later on.â€? This edition also highlights how our research collaborations extend our impact and make a real difference in the region. One example is our work with the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, designed to humanise patient care. We also support our researchers to work alongside businesses, enabling them to create projects that provide new, innovative ideas and drive industries forward. Just one of the ways
we do this is through Higher Education Innovation Funding, which allows us to support a wide range of projects designed to facilitate knowledge-based interactions between universities and the wider world. We are extremely proud of the work that takes place at BU every day and hope that you enjoy seeing a small snapshot of it through the latest edition of the Bournemouth Research Chronicle. Vice-Chancellor Professor John Vinney and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation Professor John Fletcher
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News in brief
New inaugural lecture series launches at Bournemouth University Bournemouth Universityâ€™s new inaugural lecture series provides an opportunity for newly appointed Professors to share their research and insights into their career and area of study. Over the last year, audiences have heard from experts in the field of archaeology, disaster management, economics and exercise science, to name just a few. The series kicked off at AFC Bournemouth with a lecture from Professor Alison McConnell, who discussed the translation of research with athletes into healthcare, using her research into breathing as an example. More recently, Professor Kate Welham spoke about her international career in archaeology and the ways in which advances in science and technology have changed her subject. She explored the wide range of equipment that archaeologists now have access to, and how these have enabled new questions to be asked about the past. The success of these lectures has demonstrated the excellent research and innovation taking place at Bournemouth University and has allowed researchers to share their work with the entire community, both inside and outside BU.
BU’s Orthopaedic Research Institute installs new state-of-the-art equipment With the support of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP), Bournemouth University’s Orthopaedic Research Institute (ORI) has recently invested in state-of-the-art equipment for their new gait and biomechanical analysis laboratory. The ORI Gait Lab is a worldclass facility utilising the Motekforce Link GRAIL system. The GRAIL (Gait Realtime Analysis Interactive Lab) system is used to evaluate the gait of research participants and patients. The system enables researchers to monitor patient outcomes after surgery. The capability of this equipment makes gait analysis much faster than traditional systems
and means that ORI has some of the best available equipment on the market, and one of only 23 GRAIL systems in the world. The Deputy Head of ORI, Associate Professor Tom Wainwright, says: “We are extremely excited about our new gait lab which we hope will allow us to produce world class research and most importantly help us to improve patient care.”
Preventing financial scams The National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice (NCPQSWPP) at Bournemouth University is working in partnership with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, National Trading Standards Scams Team, North Yorkshire Trading Standards and City of London Trading Standards to lead national research on financial scamming and vulnerable people. Financial scams most commonly take place through telephone, mail or doorstep targeting, and as well as resulting in individuals losing significant sums of money, can undermine the health and wellbeing of those that become victims of scams. The Centre’s work is helping different agencies to understand the scale and impact of these scams. Professor Keith Brown recently spoke to politicians and policy makers about this research into preventing financial scams as part of an event at the House of Commons.
“We are really concerned about the scale of the problem. We know that it predominantly affects older people and that people are losing £5 – 10 billion per year to scamming,” explains Professor Brown. Bournemouth University‘s widely shared Financial Scamming Guide offers advice on how to avoid falling foul of scammers, and can be seen at www.ncpqsw.com/ financial-scamming.
Newly awarded research grants Over the last few months, BU researchers have been awarded a number of new and exciting research grants, enabling them to explore issues such as supporting older people, the effects of the Olympics and environmental change. Improving nutrition in older people living in the community Professor Jane Murphy is working in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing to help improve nutrition in older people within the local and wider community. There are currently more than three million people within the ageing population who are at risk of malnutrition; about 93% of these cases live within the community. Professor Murphy will be working with the Wessex Academic Health Science Network (WAHSN) and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. “Working in partnership, the project will deliver a new procedure for good nutrition care in nursing practice and to influence local policy” explains Professor Murphy. The project will help understand the barriers and enablers to implementing good nutritional care and evaluate how well new processes can be embedded, create a new toolkit for nurses for wider adoption and improve the care of older people at risk of malnutrition.
Dorset’s environment and economy Professor Adrian Newton has been awarded a major new grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), under the Valuing Nature programme. Working in partnership with Dorset’s Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Cambridge University and Local Nature Partnership, ‘Mechanisms and consequences of tipping points in lowland agricultural landscapes’ will focus on assessing the value of natural capital assets and how these may be affected by environmental change. The project will examine whether current trends in land-use lead to rapid environmental change and major socioeconomic impacts. This will be done by analysing the spatial dynamics of natural capital assets in Dorset, and how this influences the flow of ecosystem benefits to society.
The effects of mega-sporting events Professor Michael Silk has recently been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to explore the relationship between sporting events and the informal economies that gain momentum around them. With the Olympics taking place in Brazil, in August 2016, Professor Silk’s interest grew in how major sporting events can impact on informal economies and how this affects potentially vulnerable sex workers. “Displacing sex workers can have all sorts of consequences for safety, criminal control and violence. Our study will be the first to explore the real impact of large scale sporting events on sex workers and informal economies” Professor Silk explains.
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Digging deeper: using new archaeological techniques to uncover more about our past
ournemouth University researchers are using new archaeological techniques and technologies to learn more about an iconic Islamic palace in Southern Spain. Constructed in the mid-10th century, and abandoned in the 11th, the medieval palace city of Madinat al-Zahra showcased the prestige and power of the Islamic caliphate in Iberia. While much archaeological excavation and interpretation has focused on the architecture of the palace, almost the entirety of the accompanying 100-hectare city remains unexplored.
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“Islamic palaces tend to have a lot of decoration like glazed tiles, and were very lavish, with lots of beautiful things. We’re interested in where these things were being made.”
What remains of Madinat al-Zahra reveals much about the people who lived there and the goods they created – giving insight into the cultural and technological transfer of ideas and production methods over the period. The collaborative team involving researchers from BU, Universidad de Córdoba and Newcastle University are using new techniques and technologies to find out more about the site, and which areas to excavate to uncover where and how materials were produced. “Islamic palaces tend to have a lot of decoration like glazed tiles, and were very lavish, with lots of beautiful things. We’re interested in where these things were being made,” explains Professor Kate Welham, Professor of Archaeological Sciences at BU. “The reason we’re interested in that production is because at the time, there was a lot of technology transfer in the Islamic world between Spain and North Africa and across all of that trade route. “That’s the real archaeological question behind it – what’s going on with these technologies during that period, where is the knowledge coming from, and who’s doing what.” Professor Welham is working with BU’s Dr Derek Pitman, using an innovative technique called Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (pXRF) alongside more traditional geophysical surveys of the site to uncover areas of interest. pXRF allows them to gain immediate chemical analysis readings out in the field – meaning the team can analyse the soil composition of the area to uncover evidence of production sites.
“The way in which people made things like metals, ceramics and glass gave off a lot of pollutants, which tend to stay in the soil around them,” explains Professor Welham. “We found that by combining these two techniques, we can not only pinpoint the areas where these production sites were, but we can also look at the type of kilns and materials produced.” Following initial visits to the site with colleagues from Universidad de Córdoba and Dr Chloe Duckworth from Newcastle University in July last year, the research team has received a grant from the British Academy to complete further surveys and analysis. They will work alongside current students, recent graduates and commercial archaeologists to confirm the locations of production centres at the site, on the western outskirts of Córdoba, Spain. “There are some quite exciting things that we can find as a result of applying these techniques,” says Professor Welham. “We’d like to confirm that we’ve got the locations of these big production centres and whether they are all in one place or if there are lots of them in other places.” She adds: “I think it’s going to really help us understand the technology transfer and how ideas were flowing during this time period. Items are made by people and so actually technology was a fundamental part of expressing other things such as wealth, status and power. So while you might be looking at something quite scientifically, you’re actually trying to answer these big social questions about cultural behaviour.”
Involving the next generation of archaeological talent in the project will not only have tangible benefits for the students and graduates, believes Professor Welham, but also for taking forward these innovative techniques and ensuring they are used to answer new and exciting archaeological questions in future. “It’s really great to give them exposure to an international collaborative site,” she says. “They get to experience really different types of archaeology and also have the cultural exchange of ideas. “Beyond that, I think they are also gaining useful skills and experience using geophysical equipment and the analysis techniques, but more importantly it really boosts their confidence and gives them a lot of transferable skills – whether that’s helping with report writing or organisation – and builds their professional networks. “I hope that if they are aware of these new techniques and technologies, then they can apply them. Whether it’s the advent of drone photography or portable XRF that brings the lab into the field, we can answer the questions we wanted to ask ten years ago but couldn’t. “You never know what developments in science and technology will enable you to answer new and interesting questions, which is what makes it so exciting.”
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Supporting a caring and creative culture for hospital patients and staff through ‘Being Human’
oing into hospital, whether unexpectedly or planned, can be a very difficult time for patients and their families. Care and support from hospital staff can make a huge difference to their experiences, but when staff face increasing demands on their time, this is not always easy to deliver. 12
A joint project between Bournemouth University, Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) and the University of Hull funded by the Burdett Trust has been exploring how to support a caring culture for patients and staff through considering what makes us feel human. Bringing together researchers and practitioners has made a tangible difference to patient care, with encouraging results for both. Researcher Dr Carole Pound explains: “The research was underpinned by a theory of caring developed at BU by Professor Les Todres and Professor Kathleen Galvin, which sets out eight interconnecting aspects of humanised care. We used the framework that
they developed to explore what health care staff and previous stroke patients understood humanised care to mean and how these ideas could be used in practice.” “We wanted to work together with staff and former stroke patients to make sure that people are at the heart of everything the stroke team does,” says Dr Caroline Ellis-Hill, a Senior Lecturer in Qualitative Research who led the research in Bournemouth. “It was about putting the humanising framework into practice and working together as staff, patients and researchers.
“We met with staff and stroke patients over the course of several weeks and explored what being human meant to each of us. We didn’t go in with any particular agenda or outcome in mind; the idea was to learn from each other as the project progressed. We wanted to move away from measurements and targets, which are so often part of working life, and go back to the basics of caring.”
towards helping people feel less vulnerable or scared. It’s just about remembering that we’re all human.”
Caroline Bagnall, a Clinical Specialist, Speech and Language Therapist and Humanising Care Champion at RBH has been involved in the project since the beginning: “We’re always keen to improve the service we offer, so I jumped at the chance to get involved,” she says. “I found it incredibly valuable to have the time to reflect on the service we offer with both our staff and ex-patients. I was surprised how much I learned from just ‘being’. Being in a group of staff and former patients, and reflecting on our experiences without having a specific outcome in mind was a really powerful experience.
“I’ve really seen a difference in our staff as a result of the project,” says Nikki. “They were so motivated to take part and have carried on sharing snippets and stories from the groups they were involved in. It’s been inspirational to see the way that the team have worked together, with everyone suggesting and putting into practice new ideas. Over the last few months, our feedback has shown that there’s a real team environment on the ward, so it’s great that this has been picked up by patients and their families too.
The health care practitioners who have been through the programme have become RBH’s first Humanising Care Champions and are working to share their insights with other staff in the hospital. As a visual reminder of their work, they have created a humanising care tree on the unit, where staff share humanising moments, stories and feedback. It helps the team to keep focused on the things that really matter. A group of second generation Humanising Care Champions have also been developed, supported by RBH – taking the research even further into practice.
“One of the most valuable aspects of the project has been the opportunity to get faceto-face feedback from our patients. It’s been really powerful and much more meaningful for our staff than paper-based forms. Knowing that what you’re doing is making a difference and being told that by patients is extremely motivating.”
The project led by BU and RBH was part of a wider research project exploring humanising care led by Professor Kathleen Galvin in Hull. It was also part of a wider body of work led by the Centre for Qualitative Research into the Humanisation of Education, Practice and Research. For more information please go to www.bournemouth.ac.uk/brc-humanising.
“It’s made me much more conscious of the power of the little things we do. Coming into hospital can be a really traumatic experience, as people are in an alien environment, which is very new and can be quite overwhelming. The little things we do as staff can go a long way
Nikki Manns, Ward Sister on the stroke ward at RBH, wanted to get involved in the project as she saw it as a good opportunity to bring staff and patients together to share their stories and look at ways to improve patient experiences.
“Patients and their families have commented that they feel the ward has an atmosphere of reassurance and calm. Through developing supportive relationships with staff who can see the bigger picture, provide gentle explanations and small kindnesses; they feel able to ask questions, contribute and be more fully involved in their care.”
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and tropical habitats in Indonesia
n rainforests and tropical forests all across the world, deforestation, human activities and climate change are having a huge impact on both vulnerable eco-systems and the wildlife that depend on them for survival. For the last few years, researchers and students at Bournemouth University have been working in the remote forests of North Sumatra to find out what these changes mean on the ground.
“It’s a great opportunity for our undergraduates to get their first experiences of living and working in the tropics.
primates and elephants use the forest, depending on its structure and vegetation and how they respond to changes in their habitat. “For example, if humans cut down hard wood trees, which are often the taller trees that siamangs, gibbons and Thomas’s langurs prefer for safe sleeping places, how does this affect their chances of survival? How does the extraction of mature fruiting trees affect primate densities? We’re looking at endangered primates that tend to live in very specific areas. They’re likely to be disproportionately affected by changes to their environment.” Professor Ross Hill says: “We’re working in an amazing area of Indonesia, the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, which is the last place where you can still find Sumatran orang-utans, rhinos, elephants and tigers together. Changes to the environment and human activity, such as road building or the development of palm oil plantations, can have a huge effect on declining species.” The project site is set up as a student learning platform, where PhD and Master’s research students spend several months carrying out their fieldwork. Some undergraduate students have had the opportunity to spend a short amount of time in the region, giving them an insight into future conservation careers. The elephant project has also included project work by three Indonesian Master’s students.
LEAP (Landscape Ecology and Primatology) is led by Associate Professor Amanda Korstjens and Professor Ross Hill from BU’s Department of Life & Environmental Sciences (LES). They are supported by a number of postgraduate students. In the tropical forests of northern Indonesia lies the Sikundur monitoring site, run by the Sumatran Orang-utan Conservation Programme (SOCP) which for several months of the year, is home to BU staff and students. From here, the team carry out research to understand changes in the forest and how this affects species such as orang-utans, siamangs, gibbons, Thomas’s langur monkeys and elephants. Dr Amanda Korstjens explains the project: “It’s all about disturbances to the forest – both from humans and climate change – and how that affects the forest structure and carbon stock. We’re also exploring how different
“It’s great for our undergraduates to get their first experiences of living and working in the tropics. It can be quite a daunting prospect to go alone, so travelling together as a group makes it much more manageable,” explains Dr Korstjens. “Our PhD students and postdoctoral researcher work on a variety of projects, using cutting edge technology including airborne laser scanning to assess the forest structure, as well as photography from drones. “These data sets are very important as they enable us to see how the forest and vegetation are changing. One of the aims of our project is to find ways of gathering these data at a much lower cost, which is made easier by rapid changes in technology. As an example, we hope to be able to use photographic data from drones to measure carbon stocks rather than having to send people out into the forest to measure trees individually; the latter can be hugely expensive.”
by local organisations in the area to monitor poachers and forest loss. Several now have their own drones, which enable them to keep watch over vast areas of forest and mean that eventually they may also be able to use the methods being developed by the LEAP team, especially by BU’s postdoctoral researcher Dr Cici Alexander as part of her European funded Marie SkŁodowska-Curie project. The data gathered by Bournemouth University’s researchers is being fed back to local conservation organisations, such as the Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL), HAkA, and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme of the YEL-PanEco consortium, BKSDA, and activists, including Rudi Putra, and Dr Nursahara (from the University of North Sumatra) and Dr Abdullah (from the Syiah Kuala University in Aceh). They are then able to use the results to change the way that conservation takes place in the area. It’s an ideal partnership as research teams are able to contribute their knowledge, while local people are able to make a difference in practice. “We provide them with the data they need to be able to properly and effectively protect the forest and the animals,” explains Dr Korstjens, “They are involved in the management of the site and of the parks. They talk to the government and other local organisations in a way that we simply wouldn’t be able to. “As an example, we’ve shown that there is a link between primate densities and forest structure. Old growth forests are likely to have a higher proportion of gibbons and siamang. We are measuring differences in temperature at different heights in trees located in more open and more dense forests and will be linking this to the behaviour and movement of orang-utans, gibbons and siamangs.” One of the PhD students involved in the study, Chris Marsh, has shown that temperatures can differ by up to 10oC between locations. An increase in temperature is particularly noticeable when trees have been cut down, as the remaining trees are more exposed and become hotter. By demonstrating the link between the two, the team hope that local organisations will be able to make a difference to conservation and logging practices. For more information, visit the project website: www.bournemouth.ac.uk/brc-go-leap.
These developments in technology are not only helping the advancement of science and research methods, but are also being used
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Innovation in sport: breaking through the white-water
ayaking originated as a method of hunting on rough seas for Arctic Inuit tribes. It was later popularised in the UK by Scottish sportsman John MacGregor, known as Rob Roy, who wrote about his many voyages in a canoe more than 150 years ago, before his death in Bournemouth in 1892.
“My research is all about making sport, in this instance kayaking, more accessible to female participants. The amount of women taking part in kayaking is considerably lower than men, although the female population in kayaking is growing much faster than males.”
The sport has, ever since, exhibited a more male-dominated history, with only 18% of UK kayakers being female in 2013, according to figures from Sport England. An early career researcher at BU is researching the design of kayaks, focussing on understanding how anthropometric enhancements, such as seating height within the craft, can affect the performance and paddling efficiency of white-water kayaks for women. Shelley Ellis, an academic and Lecturer in Biomechanics and Performance Analysis, became interested in the subject as she saw the challenges facing women in kayaking first-hand. “My research looks specifically at kayak sitting height – it’s about trying to identify whether adapting sitting height in a white-water kayak can make our paddle strokes more efficient. It’s really borne out of my personal background as a kayaker and the challenges I’ve faced,” explains Shelley. Having been around the kayaking community for some time, Shelley had heard many coaches suggest that seating height should be raised in order to improve performance, but discovered that there was no follow-up guidance about how much to raise the seat by. It tends to be based on trial and error, rather than taking into account an athlete’s height, body shape and size. “Because historically kayaks have been predominantly designed with male participants in mind and we can’t change that or make the
kayak different at this point in time, we have to make what we have more accessible to all users,” says Shelley, “We already know that by altering sitting height it will effect a chain of contact points within the kayak, however we don’t know how high it has to be to improve efficiency overall.” Women tend to have a shorter torso length and shorter arms, which gives them a smaller lever to paddle the boat through water. If the sitting height is changed, then this means women have a different torso height, enabling them to have better leverage when paddling. “My research is all about making sport, in this instance kayaking, more accessible to female participants. The number of women taking part in kayaking is considerably lower than men, although the female population in kayaking is growing much faster than males. “It’s really about breaking down those barriers on the basis that equipment wasn’t originally designed for women – sport should be accessible for everyone and can be with our scientific knowledge. If we’re able to say that based on height and arm span, for example, we are able to calculate an altered seat height to enable a kayaker to be more efficient, this can help them to progress to the next level of their sport. “If you look back to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are many names of female athletes that come to mind, from Jessica Ennis-Hill and Laura Trott to Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds, these now
well-known names are helping to change perceptions of what is and isn’t achievable. But these successes didn’t happen by accident – alongside incredible athletes, a lot of science and research has taken place and this has also helped to understand how equipment should be setup for each athlete. With these role models, even more people are likely to get involved in sport. As all of kayaking’s history has come from a male background, what we now need is for manufacturers to catch up to the fact that it is becoming more popular for women. “We’re very lucky in the way that we think at BU – we’ve got a lot of academics here who feel that research is important but are also keen to make it relevant and useful. We want to make sure that our research will be used by people and through engaging people with that process, we can ensure that it has a further reach in the long run. “I’m supported by a local kayaking business, South Coast Canoes, who give me access to participants and a place to share my research directly with the kayaking population in the form of workshops and talks. It really motivates me to solve this ‘challenge’ that female kayakers face as there are people telling me that this research is important, and that they need the answers to move forward in the sport.”
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Aftershock Nepal: changing perceptions through student journalism
hen the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, the newspapers were full of stories of the tragic event, the devastation left following the natural disaster, and the heroic clean-up effort on the ground. Less focus, as is often the case with crisis news, was given to the lives of the people who were affected by the quake, which is where the research project Aftershock Nepal came in. Aftershock Nepal took students from Bournemouth University and sent them to Kathmandu to report on the aftermath of the disaster and, more importantly, to challenge traditional crisis journalism by capturing the voices of Nepalese people who were dealing with life, loss, and repair after the earthquake. The project was led by BU’s Dr Chindu Sreedharan, himself a former journalist and now a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication, in collaboration with BU colleagues Dr Einar Thorsen and Robert Munday. Dr Sreedharan says, “The whole idea of Aftershock Nepal was to chronicle what was happening out there, and we found that there was a real need for that. The media attention of a disaster such as this can come and go so quickly and we had the time to fill the gap and address the issue. We also gave our students the opportunity to respond to live crisis reporting to see how they would put into practice what we had been teaching them.” The project was run in partnership with Symbiosis International University and Amity University in India and Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Students from all five universities spent time working in a Kathmandu-based news bureau set up specifically for the project, gathering stories and publishing them on the Aftershock Nepal website (www.aftershocknepal.com), Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter account. The students travelled through Nepal, gathering stories from far-flung places which are rarely accessible to journalists reporting during a moment of crisis. The team were
encouraged to use a breadth of reporting techniques, utilising multimedia skills to present the stories in various forms, such as longer and shorter form writing, as well as video, audio and pictorially. Aftershock Nepal reporters also engaged with virtual reality, capturing some of the first 360-degree footage to come out of Nepal. “The kind of stories that they wanted to tell were those of ordinary people,” says Dr Sreedharan. This was about chronicling their life after the quake, what they went through, recording their day-to-day life experiences - while the rest of the world moved on, they were still rebuilding. It was humanitarianism journalism. “Some of the stories reported through Aftershock Nepal go beyond the normal style of media reporting; we gathered a range of different and varied voices from across Nepal for a number of months, up until the first anniversary of the quake. Crises are not simple things, they are complex, and so are the lives of those involved. We wanted to reflect that in our reporting and help in some way through our reporting.” The inspiration for this project was informed by a longstanding body of BU research into crisis news and the resulting Aftershock Nepal project is an excellent example of professional practice and research blending together. The findings from this project were presented through conferences but, as Dr Sreedharan explains, this way of doing research is also unconventional. “It is slightly different to other studies. Our practice is our research and we
want to understand the impact of what we did on stakeholders involved,” he said. “We did not publish a report and wait for the effects to filter through, we made a difference to individuals through the practice of research, and then through the conferences we kickstarted the process of writing about the project and analysing the impact our work had on the lives of those who were involved. This is the research that sits alongside the project. “The conferences brought together journalists, NGOs and stakeholders - we presented our work and the issues we faced during the project. We also heard from those involved as a part of the conferences, which helped us to analyse the work we did.” Dr Sreedharan and Dr Thorsen are now working to understand how this project has made a difference or produced changes in the process of crisis communication and reporting. Dr Sreedharan explains, “We are trying to understand what it means for journalism, and what it takes to cover a crisis over a longer length of time, the process of it and how to set it up. But we are also documenting what it meant to the students who took part in it, what did they get out of it, what did they learn, what challenges did they face? “We are also interested in the impact of this kind of journalism on readers, on other stakeholders, such as NGOs, external stakeholders and journalists. Our research is designed to develop a framework to understand their issues too, and the challenges they face in crisis reporting. We now have firsthand knowledge that we can use as research to make a real difference to this industry. “Where else do you get an opportunity to do something of this scale? When do students get the chance to put their education into practice in a real crisis zone, to practice what they are learning and contribute to advancing scholarly knowledge at the same time? This really has been a has been a life-changing project for so many people.” The project will now have a further output, with a report on Aftershock Nepal looking at the process of the project, what happened, and the impact of the project. The project was the first to be funded by Global BU and followed a similar initiative, called Project India, where BU students covered the Indian elections in 2014.
â€œWhere else do you get an opportunity to do something of this scale? When do students get the chance to put their education into practice in a real crisis zone?â€?
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Rosie Lumley Improving nutrition in older people in the community Rosie first became interested in research during her undergraduate placement at Dorset Partnership for Older People Programme (POPP), where she was asked to research and design a poster explaining the signs of malnutrition in older people and what they can do to improve their nutrition. The poster went on to be used in GP surgeries across Dorset. After receiving encouragement from her undergraduate supervisor, Dr Fotini Tsofliou, Rosie decided to enter her poster into Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) – BU’s undergraduate research conference. To her delight, Rosie’s poster won the Research Excellence Award. Her prize was a full-fee scholarship to study her Master’s at BU, which she is currently undertaking.
explains Rosie, “It was great to build on that during my undergraduate degree and placement, and the opportunity to carry on my studies at Master’s level was too good to turn down.”
“My interest in nutrition stemmed from working as a carer, where I saw the importance of nutrition in older people, not just for health, but also for building social relationships,”
BU will be hosting the British Conference of Undergraduate Research in 2017, with SURE returning in 2018.
“Entering SURE was a great experience, and I really enjoyed seeing the variety of undergraduate research taking place at BU. If you get a chance to enter, go for it!”
The next generation of researchers Rahul Dey Creating virtual landscapes for 3D games Rahul is a final year doctoral student for the Centre of Digital Entertainment (CDE), which is a joint collaboration between Bournemouth University and Bath University, designed to train students in game design, visual effects and animation. Rahul is currently working with Sony on procedural generation of volumetric terrain for games. This looks at the underlying technology that makes a computer automatically generate a landscape for outdoor games and virtual simulation. “The ideas I’m working on could also be applicable to movies, games and MRI scans,” explains Rahul, “Working
with Sony is a great experience and it’s inspired me to want to go on and work in the research and development side of the industry. “I hope to make the underlying technology of computer graphics more user friendly for the designer, whilst enabling them to have control of the program they’re using, making it more useful for the industry.”
Leslie Spiers Improving corporate governance in small businesses In ten years’ time, only 5 out of 100 new businesses are likely to still be around. PhD student, Leslie Spiers, is carrying out research into small companies and exploring how their corporate governance contributes to their survival through better risk and crisis management planning. “The often-used adage ‘if you fail to plan, the you plan to fail’ is true,” says Leslie, who has a long history of working with small businesses. His interest in the subject of crisis management has a personal drive, as he was the duty manager in a Guildford sports centre in 1970’s, when it faced a bomb threat from the IRA. Having an emergency plan in place meant that the team were able to prevent a crisis.
As part of his PhD, Leslie is creating a toolkit for small businesses to use. As the chair of a number of small businesses, he intends make the toolkit freely available to all small companies to increase their resilience. “My main thrust is to ensure that small, fragile companies become more aware of the signals that precede a crisis and take the steps to prevent it becoming a disaster,” he says.
ournemouth University is home to over 650 postgraduate research students, who work both to further their own knowledge and skills and to make a difference in the world with their research. Here we meet just four of our students and learn about the impact they’re making. Carmen Palhau Martins Innovation in small companies Carmen is looking into the ways that small and micro businesses use innovation in their product development processes. She first became interested in research after working alongside Dr Alessandro Inversini as a research assistant on a study into the use of innovation in tourism in rural parts of Europe (InRuTou). This provided the ground work for her current topic.
“As a part-time student I’m just in the early days of my research,” says Carmen, “I’m currently looking at how small companies are creating new and innovative products in particular rural areas. I want to be able to work alongside SMEs to understand how they go about creating new and innovative products. “My research is currently focused on Portugal, but I intend to expand it into the previous pilot areas of the InRuTou EU project. I hope that my research will be useful to SMEs looking to expand their business and innovation by developing new products.”
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Innovation in industry: how researchers and the wider community are working together
or us at Bournemouth University, one of the most important parts of producing excellent research is developing projects that address challenges within industries. By working together and identifying issues where research can make a difference, we can ultimately create something that is beneficial both to the community and to BU.
Developing knowledge of blowfly life cycles to improve accuracy of estimating post-mortem interval Post-mortems are an essential part of the investigative process after someone has died in suspicious circumstances, usually performed to establish cause of death. Definitively proving time of death later is extremely difficult. By using blowflies and sometimes other insects, forensic entomologists can provide an estimated window of time in which someone is likely to have died. This is calculated by estimating the amount of time since eggs were first laid, which approximates (sometimes quite closely) the time of death. Such insect derived time is known as the minimum post-mortem interval (PMImin). A new knowledge exchange project at Bournemouth University is aiming to develop an industry standard designed to make identifying time of death much more reliable by establishing a standard culturing protocol for rearing blowflies in the laboratory. Dr Andrew Whittington, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, is leading the new project. “One of the ways that forensic experts can establish the time of death is by studying the lifecycle of insects that may be present on the body. Blowflies, for example, are often used as they start to lay eggs very soon after death,” explains Dr Whittington. “The challenge with this is that there isn’t an industry standard that helps us to understand the lifecycle of
blowflies and they can grow at very different rates according to the type of species and where they are in the world.
species of blowfly, is that we would then have comparative conditions that can be used anywhere in the world.
“As an example, a type of blowfly common to Britain might not be cold tolerant in Dorset, but if the same species was found in Edinburgh, it’s likely to be cold tolerant, which means it can lay its eggs and they will develop at a lower temperature. This needs to be taken into account, when calculating a post-mortem interval. At the moment, the data used doesn’t reflect these kinds of variables.”
“If we know that blowflies reach a certain stage of development under certain temperature conditions, we can then apply this data to a post-mortem situation, which will help forensic experts to build up a much more accurate picture of the time of death.”
Dr Whittington began to establish a benchmark for the lifecyle of blowflies through collecting samples from non-suspicious deaths. In these cases, the time of death was known, which enabled the team to pinpoint different stages of the lifecycle. Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) will enable Dr Whittington to expand this by creating lab based experiments using blood agar as a rearing medium. “At the moment, everyone is using a different procedure and different conditions, which leads to very different results. The idea behind creating a standardised industry protocol to be used in the laboratory which can establish the lifecycle of a particular
“It’s great to be able to link up research, education and influencing professional practice all in one project.”
Preserving the natural capital of Dorset and Hampshire Dorset and Hampshire are rich in natural beauty and sites of archaeological importance. Within both counties, there are organisations dedicated to either biodiversity conservation or preserving areas of historical importance, but rarely both. Dr Phillipa Gillingham, Senior Lecturer in Biogeography, will be working with BU students and local organisations to change this and use their collective knowledge to preserve areas of natural beauty and historical importance. “The idea for our project stemmed from a wider piece of research we hope to do about preserving areas of peatland in the Atlantic regions. We want to be able to manage them both for conservation purposes and for their rich archaeological heritage,” says Dr Gillingham. “We’re going to start by researching locally and then expand upon it.” One of the key aspects of the project is the opportunity to bring together different local organisations as a means of sharing knowledge and building new relationships. “We’re working with an archaeologist from the New Forest National Park Authority and an ecologist from the National Trust, who manage land locally for both cultural heritage and biodiversity. We’re also working with the Dorset
Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). We hope that the knowledge we develop will be of real benefit to them,” says Dr Gillingham. “For example, the National Trust over at Purbeck have some excellent ecologists who do a great a job of conserving the area, but they also have a lot of archaeological features in the peatland. They want to look after those too and the advice they gain from this project will help.
“We’re starting with a survey of managers to find out how they look after their sites. Later in the year, we’ll be sending out interdisciplinary teams of students to explore the sites and see how well different methods work in practice. “Ultimately, we hope to be able to develop a case study of the area to demonstrate how you can manage peatlands for the benefit of both archaeologists and conservationists. This will make a difference locally and for the further research we hope to do in the Atlantic regions.”
Bournemouth Research Chronicle | http://research.bournemouth.ac.uk | January 2017 | 23
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