Bournemouth 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.

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.

“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,” 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.”

“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!”

BU will be hosting the British Conference of Undergraduate Research in 2017, with SURE returning in 2018.

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, then 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.

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.”

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.”

This story featured in the 2017 Bournemouth Research Chronicle, which can be read in full on Issuu.

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