Research and Innovation Services have been handing out Lego, but why?

Research and Innovation Services have recently sent out a small gift to researchers who have attended multiple ACTivator workshops.

The LEGO ‘Tinker Kits’ are a way of saying ‘thank you’ to researchers for their contribution to the workshops and also ‘well done’ for making the time to invest in their professional development.

They also provides an opportunity to mark the 12 month anniversary of the launch of ACTivator. One year in, over 20% of researchers have now engaged with the programme and it is running on a 98% approval rating (this percentage of attendees report that they learn from the workshops, benefit from their style and approach and would recommend them to others).

Why LEGO? Play is the best way people have to imagine, interact and learn. Using your hands to build something releases thoughts and concepts that are otherwise ‘stuck’ in your head.  Thoughts that are ‘built’ tend to be more memorable and more easily understood by yourself and more clearly explained to others. Building thoughts encourages us to use metaphors, tell stories and use our imagination.  Here are some LEGO models built in development sessions here at LJMU:

The Tinker Kits were sent out with a few challenges.  Researchers were encouraged to build a model that represented their strengths as a researcher, the purpose of their research or the ways in which they wanted to develop as a researcher. They were then asked to reflect on it from time to time…tinker with it, ponder it, and see if it sparked new thoughts and ideas.

For more information about ACTivator, contact Mel Jones, Researcher Development Lead



Who funds research like yours? Find out how to survey your funding landscape

When you are relying on funding to fulfil your research ambitions, you need to know as much as possible about who is “out there” funding work like yours, what they priortise and how your research could “fit”.

The latest ACTivator session could be just right for you if you want the opportunity to talk to other researchers about your experiences of looking for funding and start thinking about the benefits of collaboration. You will pick up some ideas around how best to keep your ear to the ground and look at some of the resources available to help you identify appropriate sources of funding. You will review examples of funders’ priorities with a view to assessing whether an application is worth a try.

Surveying Your Funding Landscape
Wednesday 5th April 2017 1.30pm-4.30pm
Room 101, Redmonds Building

For more information and to book your place, click here Surveying your Funding Landscape

Want to know how to influence government policy with research and how to demonstrate that impact?

Then this ACTivator session is for you:master_activator-logo_webuse

Influencing Government Policy with Research: doing it, demonstrating it

21th March 2017 9.30-12.30pm, Room 101, Redmonds Building

Being able to demonstrate that your research has had an impact on government policy is akin to the holy grail of research – much sought after but difficult to achieve.

In this workshop you will have the opportunity to reflect on what it takes to influence policy, including the elements that you can control and those that you cannot and the channels that are available to help. You will explore the ‘must haves’ for policy impact, including the big one…intention! Consider who your key players are, how you should channel your energies for best results and the ways you can capture your influential engagement activity.

If you feel your research has the potential to influence policy, this workshop will explore the key actions and approaches that will maximise your policy impact.

For more information and to book your place click here:

On the twelfth day of Christmas Research Support gave to me…

Dedicated staff

Not just for Christmas but all year round we have dedicated staff to help you with all areas of your research. Hopefully you’ve been following our 12 days of Research Support which has highlighted just some of the ways we can help you. From help research-2-blue-magnifer
applying for grants, to support demonstrating the impact of your research and everything else in between, there are dedicated staff there to support you every step of the way.

Staff in Library Services, Research and Innovation and the Graduate School make up your support team and are always happy to help whatever stage your are at in your research journey.

We’d all like to wish you a Happy Christmas and a restful new year and if you missed our 12 days of Research Support, here’s a reminder (we guarantee you’ll be singing the song by the end of the day:

On the eleventh day of Christmas Research Support gave to me…

Copyright Advice

Copyright monkey-pictureis something you are probably aware of, something you may have occasionally thought about but do you think about how copyright relates to your work, your
presentations, what you photocopy or put onto Blackboard?

It’s best practice to think about copyright at the start of anything you are working on, whether that’s your PhD thesis, a new paper you are working on, a document you are uploading into your class module on Blackboard, or even an image you are going to be putting onto your webpage, Twitter feed or presentation.

The Research Support Team within library services is here to help; we can provide expert advice regarding your copyright questions.  A few basic tips regarding copyright:

  • Search smart: If you want to Google images to find that perfect photo, use the advanced search option to locate images that are under the Creative Commons license
  • Look for things with Creative Commons licenses: There are lots of great things out there that people have made publically available for you to modify-including templates, images, etc.
  • Link smart:  LJMU has access to lots of articles and books electronically.  But if you want to link to these correctly, make sure you provide links via Blackboard or direct people to our electronic library.  That was people can get to these things easily and
  • Ask first: Want to use a graph and modify it in a thesis or a paper? Want to use an image in your own work? Ask.  We have templates you can use to contact publishers directly.  If you ask that the start, then you’ll know whether or not you can use it;  if you ask at the end, you might be faced with omitting things from your work as you do not have permission.
  • When in doubt, ask: The library is here to help you.  If you aren’t sure, just ask.

You will find some general help and guidance on our copyright webpages but if you need further help contact the Research Support Team

On the tenth day of Christmas Research Support gave to me…

Research Cafés

The Research Support Team in Library Services currently hold Research Cafés in each of the four faculties as well as our annual cross-discipline Christmas Café.  The Faculty Cafés are held over lunchtime are an opportunity for postgraduate students, early-career researchers and more established academics to present their work in a relaxed, informal environment, while they enjoy lunch.  These events are open to LJMU faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the public.  Past participants have found it useful to cater their talks to a more general audience, as well as receive questioning different from a typical conference setting.  It is also a chance to learn about research going on across LJMU that they might not know about, as well as discovering potential collaborators and allies outside of their own department or faculty.

To give you a taster of the types of topics talked about, we held our Christmas Research Café on Wednesday, 7 December at Liverpool Central Library and we had three varied talks which highlights the diverse research currently being undertaken across different faculties. christmas-cafe-compliation


The subjects and speakers were as follows:

  • Conservation Drones and Biodiversity Monitoring, Professor Serge Wich and Dr. Steven Longmore (Natural Sciences and Astrophysics)
  • It’s Natural to Play: Physically active interventions in the green and natural environment, Dr. Zoe Knowles (Sports Sciences)
  • The Life and Good Times of The Literary Dustman 1820-1850, Professor Brian Maidment (English)

We have three more Research Cafés taking place in the 2016-2017 academic year:

  • Wednesday, 8 February 2017, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Room 322, Byrom Street
  • Wednesday, 29 March 2017, Faculty of Science, Room 322, Byrom Street
  • Wednesday, 17 May 2017, Faculty of Education, Health and Community, Seminar Room 2, Avril Robarts Library

If you are interested in attending, follow this link to sign up for any of our events:

If you are interested in speaking at one of our Research Cafés, we are always looking for volunteers.  Please contact Katherine Stephan for more details.

On the ninth day of Christmas Research Support gave to me…

Advice on Research Ethics

The Research Ethics and Governance team facilitate the general research ethics at LJMU ethicsand the ethics aspect of the University’s research involving Human volunteers.  This must satisfy the required standards of protecting the rights of participants and assure good quality research.

Essentially we do this in two ways:

  1. We ethically review and approve research proposals (via the submission of an ethics application form. For PhD, staff and non-NHS REC research – this is undertaken by proportionate review (2 week turnaround) or full review at the monthly UREC meetings (2-6 week turnaround). UREC members include volunteers from academic staff, PhD students and lay members.
  2. We provide guidance to help researchers identify and address ethical issues of their research.

The guidance we provide includes:

  • Training – hosted on Blackboard
  • Information – provided on the Research Ethics and Governance webpage.
  • Individual support – some studies present particular challenges with regards to identifying and addressing ethical issues.

We are very enthusiastic about facilitating the research process whilst maintaining rigorous ethical standards. The way we work is to encourage the idea that ethics is not a bureaucratic exercise but a dialogue – a process between the researcher and the research ethics committee. We respect the diversity of methodology in research and look to apply principles of research ethics rather than rules. We aim to be facilitative to your research and recognise innovation.

What’s right and what is wrong is not clear cut. People’s ideas of what is ethical may be different. Imagine research ethics as an elephant – big and grey – Our aim is to provide a consensus.



Contact Mandy Williams for training guidelines.

On the eighth day of Christmas Research Support gave to me…

Support with H2020

Despite the vote to leave the European Union the UK and its researchers remain eligible to receive research funding from the European Commission as a current Member State….h2020

Horizon 2020 is the European Commission’s programme for research and innovation replacing the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The programme runs from 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2020.

With seventeen currently active grants at LJMU Research and Innovation Services have a wealth of experience in terms of supporting and administering European Commission Horizon 2020 grants and are here to assist you with all aspects from submission of a bid to negotiating agreements.

Further information and advice can be found here ( or alternatively contact Ian Pennington, Research and European Funding Officer.