Connected Communities Research Development Workshop

The AHRC’s Connected Communities programme is hosting a research development workshop on 22nd – 24th May at Paintworks in Bristol. The theme is communities, cultures, environments and sustainability and the workshop is being hosted in collaboration with the Living With Environmental Change cross-council research partnership.

The workshop brief [PDF] has full details, but participants will be expected to work across disciplinary boundaries to identify and define challenges and opportunities, explore future research agendas in this area, and start to outline collaborative funding proposals. This is in essence the AHRC’s version of the EPSRC’s Sandpit events which are similarly interdisciplinary and usually based around a “grand challenge” or research theme.

Here’s what the AHRC say about the event:

The overall aim of the workshop will be to stimulate the development of innovative proposals for transformative, cross-disciplinary, community-engaged research with the potential to make a significant contribution to the ways diverse communities respond to the challenges posed by environmental change, supports the transition of communities towards more sustainable ways of living and cultivates the development of sustainable environments, places and spaces in which community life can flourish. The workshop will foster cross-disciplinary and collaborative approaches by bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines and other experts from policy and practice communities. A key theme will be the potential to engage with diverse cultural communities in all stages of the research.

Potential participants need to write a short two page expression of interest to apply to be part of this workshop, the deadline for which is 25th April. Full details on how to apply are again given in the brief, but please contact us if you’re interested and would like support and comments on your EoI.


Can Social Media Boost Your Research Career?

Many of us use social media – e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs – on a daily basis, but is it simply a bit of fun, a chance to chat to family and friends, or can it boost your career as a researcher?

The Vitae North West Hub are holding a short seminar which aims to answer this question. Leveraging social media for research career advantage takes place on 30th April in Bangor University. The event is free to attend but participants would need to pay travel costs.

The short seminar will discuss the assertion recently made by Forbes Business magazine that the traditional curriculum vitae will disappear within 5 years to be replaced by your “digital footprint“, i.e. the sum of your online profiles and interactions. There is potential for a “digital divide” to emerge between those academics who take advantage of the opportunities presented by social media, and those who do not.


REF Roadshows roll into town….

The PVC for Research, Professor Peter Golding, together with key staff from Research and Business Services, is delivering a series of Roadshows about Northumbria’s involvement in the REF.

Each School will have its own specific Roadshow. The session will incorporate a presentation from the School’s AD for Research, giving specific information on what is expected at both School and University level during the course of the REF submission period, and also discuss the current REF Dry Run which is taking place in preparation for 2014.

Dates, times and locations of the Roadshows can be found below. For further information please email


HCES 10/04/2012 14.00 – 15.30 Hall A, Coach Lane Campus
Natural and Built Environment 12/04/2012 14.00 – 15.30 EBA003/5
Design 18/04/2012 15.00 – 16.30 Design School Presentation Hall
Law 25/04/2012 10.00 – 11.30 CCE1 401
Services 01/05/2012 10.00 – 11.30 CCE1 003



ESRC Seminar on Making an Impact – Oxford, 24th May

focusin mind by miuenski CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

Researchers keen to maximise the impact of their research, especially during the last 18 or so months of the REF period, may be interested in the following.

The ESRC-funded methods@manchester seminar series on the  Impact Agenda is holding its sixth seminar, on Making an Impact, on Thursday May 24th at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford.

The series adopts an interdisciplinary perspective to examine and clarify the concept of ‘impact’ in the context of academic research in the humanities and social science. The aim is to identify the processes that influence impact and explore mechanisms that maximise it.

Morning: Academics who have made an impact will describe this impact, explain how it came about, and draw out any general lessons about how to create impact.

Speakers include Andrew Dilnot, University of Oxford, Pete Alcock, Professor of Social Policy and Director of the ESRC-OST-Barrow Cadbury Trust Third Sector Research Centre, and Pete Edwards, Technical Director, RCUK dot.rural Digital Economy Hub and Director, PolicyGrid Digital Social Research Node, University of Aberdeen.

Afternoon: Pimp My Research – a workshop for junior researchers/PhD students

Learn how to produce an impact plan and see demonstrations of tools and techniques designed to improve your own personal research impact.

Lead: Peter Halfpenny, Sociology, Manchester and Celia Russell, Mimas, Manchester

Booking Form



Research Ethics Workshop – ‘Consent – do you really need to ask?’

The Association of Research Ethics Committees (AREC) is holding a regional workshop at Durham University on 16th April 2012.  Northumbria University is a member of AREC, so all staff are entitled to attend at the members’ fee of £50.  Please contact Paul Rosen in Research and Business Services for a booking form, or contact  for more information.

Workshop programme:

‘Consent – do you really need to ask?’

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.                                                   (Nuremberg Code, 1948)

This workshop will consider the concept of informed consent, why it is valued by research ethics committees, how it might be achieved with different participant populations, and whether it is always necessary (or desirable).

It is targeted at researchers from all disciplines and aims to increase understanding of and stimulate discussion around this fundamental ethical principle.

09.30 – 09.50            Registration of delegates and refreshments

09.50 – 10.00            Welcome

Chair:             Mr David Anderson-Ford, immediate past AREC Chair

Professor Tom McLeish, PVC Research, Durham University

10.00 – 10.45            “Consent and permissions in the context of research integrity”

Dr Andrew Rawnsley, University of Teesside

10.45 – 11.30            “Consent in practice – what do REC members look for in Health and Social Care applications?”

Dr Alasdair MacSween, University of Teesside & Chair of County Durham and Tees Valley REC

11.30 – 11.45            Refreshments

11.45 – 12.30            “Tensions between consent and confidentiality when undertaking research with victims of abuse”

Dr Nicole Westmarland and Dr Julia Downes, Durham University

12.30 – 13.00            Lunch and Networking

13.00 – 13.45            “Knowing what you are in for:  issues about informed consent for people with learning difficulties”

Dr Tina Cook, University of Northumbria

13.45 – 14.30            “Consent and minors”

Professor Priscilla Alderson, Institute of Education, University of London

14.30 – 14.45            Refreshments

14.45 – 15.30            “The challenges of seeking informed consent in developing country contexts: some examples”

Professor Bob Simpson, Durham University

15.30 – 16.00            Summary Panel Discussion – “Do you really need to ask?”

An opportunity for delegates and panel members to discuss issues raised over the day.

Chaired by Mr David Anderson-Ford

16.00                          Close



Northumbria Research Forum: Climate and the Environment

The next Northumbria Research Forum will take place on Friday 24th February, on the theme of Climate and the Environment.

Climate change and its impact on the way we live may well be the most pressing issue facing humankind.  Research into ways of living, social and physical planning of our environment, legal, technological, environmental and social aspects of climate in our lives all invite research and analysis. This forum will offer an opportunity to present existing research and consider ways forward.

The Research Forums provide a simple platform for staff to communicate their research to colleagues and to find out about cognate research that might be of interest. They provide an opportunity to bring Northumbria’s research community together around a variety of research themes and disciplines, and to reflect issues and topics where research originating from diverse disciplinary bases might be taken further in collaboration.

Presentations are expected to be informal and brief (maximum 10 minutes) and should be designed to inform a general audience about the research interests and activities of a colleague. PowerPoint facilities will be available, but are not encouraged.

The Forum takes place on the 24th February and is scheduled from 10.30am – 2.30pm, although it may conclude with lunch dependant on final numbers attending. It will be held in Room 205, Sutherland Building. Lunch and refreshments will be available.  It is not necessary to attend the full Forum and you are welcome to join/leave the Forum as teaching committments allow. All Northumbria University staff who wish to attend should register on the forum website.


Book now for ESRC Bid Writing Workshop

If you’re a member of staff at Northumbria and thinking about bidding for a grant from the ESRC in the future, this is the workshop for you. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon (Associate Dean for Research in Life Sciences) will explore the specific requirements of the ESRC and focus on how to make bids more likely to be successful.

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, 15 February (12.00-2.00pm).

To book your place, email


Training Opportunities for Northumbria researchers

The following courses in our Research Training and Development programme are currently taking bookings.  See the bottom of this post for details about how to book.

Let Me Entertain You: Lecturing as Performance (Prof Kenny Coventry) 26 January (12:00-14:00)
Prof Kenny Coventry’s research expertise in the relationship between language and perception, and communication will inform this session on lecturing as performance to explore effective communication and transfer of knowledge in the classroom and other contexts.Open to Staff and PGRs
Project Management of Research Projects (Sandra Hannah) 7 February (09:30-17:00)
What are the principles behind good project management? How do you ensure your project will deliver on time? How do you avoid drift? The aims of this one day workshop are: to ensure participants have the knowledge and understanding of project management; and to be able to utilise tools and techniques effectively in the context of research projects.Staff only
Be a Better Writer (Helen Lawrence) 8 February and 22 February (both 13:30-16:30) Are you aware that your written work is good and could be better? This two-part master-class will give you the opportunity to explore how to write simply and well and to edit your own work more effectively. The course covers the key rules of style and tone, how to polish writing and avoid common errors and how to convey complex information plainly and elegantly.

NB. The course is in two parts and both parts should be attended. There will be a small piece of work to complete in between the two parts. Participants should be fluent in English.

Staff and PGRs

The full programme can be found at Research Training Programme – Northumbria University

To book a place email