BU graduate’s company wins grant to develop new flood barriers


A company set up by a Bournemouth University graduate has received a government grant to develop an innovative new FloodBrick to protect homes from rising water.

Fluvial Innovations Ltd. has received around £65,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), after winning a competition for businesses developing technology to tackle flooding and climate change.

The grant will be used to develop and manufacture a new FloodBrick product – a temporary and portable flood barrier which could replace sandbags in protecting homes and infrastructure from rising water.

BU graduate Simon Phelps, who is founder and managing director of Fluvial Innovations Ltd, said: “The whole thing about sandbags is that they don’t work – they make sandy water leak into properties and are really heavy, so need a lot of people to move them.

He added: “If it wasn’t for the grant, it would have been at least two years in the pipeline to develop the FloodBrick. We can now start working on bringing it to market.”

Simon studied Computer Aided Product Design at BU from 2001 to 2005, and set up Fluvial Innovations Ltd. after developing a Floodstop product for his final year product.

The Floodstop is a unique lightweight and portable barrier that is formed through a series of interlocking units.

The units fill up with the rising floodwater, making them heavy enough to stay weighed down, and empty when the water recedes – meaning they are light enough to be carried away.

BU helped Simon to develop and commercialise the product and owns 10 per cent of the company, which started life in the BU Innovation Centre and is now based in Nuffield Industrial Estate in Poole.

Simon said the company has gone from “strength to strength”, and now has clients as far afield as the US – as well as councils and the Environment Agency.

“The FloodBrick is a development of the Floodstop product,” said Simon, 29, of Bournemouth.

“They are massively more effective than sandbags, and we have combined everything we have learnt with the Floodstop, and improved on it.

“The FloodBrick takes it to the next level. It is stackable, so you can build up levels, and will be about 50 per cent less expensive, so we can help more people.”

Fluvial Innovations Ltd is one of three companies benefiting from £200,000 of Defra funding, after competing in a Dragon’s Den style competition.

Fluvial has received a grant of £44,280, plus the cost of kitemarking the product – a total of around £65,000.

Simon now hopes that the FloodBrick product will be available by November this year.

“When I heard about the competition, I thought it was a great opportunity – I didn’t think we would win, because they only selected three winners, so it’s amazing to get the grant,” he said.

“It’s really good for small businesses that this type of funding is available.”

Congratulating the winners, Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: “Last year we saw weeks of heavy rain and flooding across the country and we witnessed the devastation extreme weather can cause, especially to the rural economy.

“These businesses have created exciting ways to combat climate change and the effects of flooding in our communities.”

You can find out more about Fluvial Innovations Ltd here

I don’t Beliebe it!


A journalism student from Bournemouth University has won the chance to travel to Miami and meet teen pop sensation Justin Bieber.

Third year BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism student Joseph Kent beat entries from around the world to win the competition, run by Adidas NEO.

The prize includes an all-expenses paid trip to Miami at the end of the month, and the chance to meet Justin Bieber after one of his concerts.

Joseph, who will then blog about the experience, said: “It is the trip that I am more excited for – I have never been to Miami and it sounds amazing. I’ve already been checking the weather reports.

“The great thing is that I don’t really have an opinion on Justin Bieber so I can go to the concert and form a justified opinion on him.”

A keen fashion blogger through his site www.unlimitedbyjk.com, Joseph was contacted by the Adidas social media team and encouraged to enter.

To get through the first round of the competition, Joseph had to send in a photo of the face he would pull if he found out he had won.

“That took me ages,” said Joseph, 21, who is from Woking and lives in Winton while studying.

“It was a mixture of surprise and disbelief, with a little glimmer of ‘oh my gosh’. It took me a while of taking photos with myself to find a face that I was happy with.

“I’m sure it wasn’t the face I actually pulled when I found out I’d won.”

For the second round, entrants were sent a rucksack and then had to blog about what they would put in it for their trip to Miami.

Joseph created a stop motion video of the items – including his camera, spare lens, passport and shorthand notebook – magically appearing to put themselves in the bag to one of Justin Bieber’s songs.

He said: “It took about two hours to shoot everything and about four hours to do all the editing but it was really fun to make.”

Initially Joseph was told that he had come in third place, but technicalities meant that one of the winners could not take up the prize.

He was at university helping out with an Activity Day for prospective students when he found out he would be going to Miami after all.

“It came as a total surprise,” he said.

“I was on my lunch break and checking my emails when I saw the one saying that I was going after all. I had to read it twice before I absorbed it.

“I think my jaw actually dropped and I started screaming and jumping up and down.”

Joseph will be one of two bloggers reporting on the experience, and will travel to Miami on Friday 25th January.

He will stay at a hotel on Miami Beach and will see Justin Bieber’s concert at the American Airlines Arena on the Saturday, before returning home on Sunday 27th January.

He will meet Justin following the concert, and hopes he will get the chance to interview the teen pop icon.

“If I have the chance to get a few words from him, I’m really interested to see what he thinks about the fact that there are his superfans who do really crazy things and then people who absolutely hate him.

“I want to see how that affects him and get his point of view.”

Joseph added that his friends are proud of him winning the competition.

“My friends and coursemates have been saying that they are proud of me as I work so hard and that I deserve this. I feel quite overwhelmed by that.”

You can watch the stop-motion video that Joseph created for the competition here: http://vimeo.com/52813041

BU student wins prestigious Prince’s Trust Award


Nat Hawley won Education Achiever of the Year Award, and may now get to meet the Prince of Wales.

A Television Production student who overcame adversity to gain a place at Bournemouth University has been given a prestigious Prince’s Trust Award.

Nat Hawley won Educational Achiever of the Year for the South of England and London at the Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards.

The award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and developed new skills to improve their prospects through education.

Nat, 21, who is now in his second year of a BA (Hons) Television Production degree at BU, said: “It felt pretty fantastic as I wasn’t expecting to win.

“I felt quite honoured really, as there were a lot of other people in the running for the award who had really inspirational stories, so it was brilliant to win.

“I was the only person who had made it to university. At one point when I was going through trouble, I didn’t think I would be able to get through the next day – let alone end up studying something that I have always loved.”

Nat, who is autistic and dyslexic, became a full-time carer for his mother when he was 16 and studying for his GCSEs.

“It was a full-time job and it meant that I couldn’t really leave the house or do things that other kids my age do.”

But after Nat, who is from Eastleigh, began to struggle while at college, a teacher referred him to the Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Programme, a personal development scheme which offers one-to-one support and group activities.

“They helped me to live independently and build confidence, and I also learned about first aid – which has helped me to save my mum’s life a few times,” said Nat, who now lives in Talbot Woods.

“As well as learning skills like food hygiene, I did lots of other things like climbing and sailing that I wouldn’t get to do before.

“I also met other young people who had been through the same difficulties as me – it helped me to gain some perspective and hang out with similar people.”

Nat was presented with the award at St Mary’s Stadium, in Southampton, in December.

As well as receiving a trophy, Nat may now have the opportunity to meet the Prince of Wales himself, as well as attending a further event in London.

Winning the award has also helped Nat to make contacts which has helped him secure work placements in the industry.

“I am going to be moving to London, which is another great step. There are amazing possibilities and opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for the Prince’s Trust.”

Dr Jeff Bray on BBC Radio Solent

Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Retail Management Dr Jeff Bray was on BBC Radio Solent’s breakfast show talking about the performance of retailers over the Christmas period.

Jeff told presenter Julian Clegg that the results were “interesting”.

He said: “The retail market is clearly very competitive at the moment, but there is some evidence that the retailers that are doing a good job are actually seeing quite healthy results, with some very good results coming out of this Christmas – as well as challenging ones.”

The retail results for Tesco came out while Jeff was on air, and he said that the supermarket giant appeared to have performed “very well” over Christmas, and better than other supermarket chains.

He added that non-food stores – such as John Lewis – also seemed to have performed “phenomenally well” over the festive period.

But, he said, it was too early to say what contribution online shopping had made to the figures, and whether stores had actually made any money from increased sales figures, as they may have heavily discounted products to get people to buy them.

“[Some stores] may have sold fewer goods but done so more profitably.”

You can listen to Jeff on BBC Radio Solent for the next seven days here

BU food expert speaks to Wave 105

Dr Heather Hartwell, Associate Professor in food services and applied nutrition at Bournemouth University, was quoted in a news item on radio station Wave 105 looking at global food wastage.

An Institute of Mechanical Engineering study found that almost half of all food produced, amounting to billions of pounds, was being wasted each year due to poor storage and over purchasing.

Dr Hartwell, an expert in food studies, spoke in a recorded excerpt reproduced throughout the day to give her views on the news story.

Heather mentioned that the statistics may not be as accurate as we are led to believe as they could include items such as ‘chicken bones and potato peelings’ that are not widely eaten anyway.

Heather’s advice may also help to stop food wastage in future as she said, “People need to sit down on a Sunday and write a shopping list and stick to it and not be tempted by 2–for–1 offers so they don’t have to throw anything away.”

The Bourne Legacy


Alumni who have done well in the creative industries come back to BU to give advice to Media School students.

Successful Media School alumni were back at Bournemouth University to share their stories and advice with final year students.

Among those speaking at The Bourne Legacy event were BU graduates who have gone on to edit The X-Factor, work on Tim Burton animated film Frankenweenie, and have gained positions at BBC Radio 1Xtra.

The event is now in its second year, and has been organised to inspire current final year students from across the Digital Media Design, TV and Radio Production courses, Scriptwriting and Global Media Practice degrees.

Mark Shufflebottom, Programme Co-ordinator BA (Hons) Digital Media Design, helped to organise the event.

He said: “It is a chance for [the students] to meet people from BU who have gone out into industry and are doing great things.

“It is about meeting these guys and them giving some really good idea of how to get into the industry.”

The first speaker of the day was Dan Mellow, an editor who has worked on TV shows including the X-Factor and Comic Relief, and is now editing comedy programmes.

Dan, who completed a Media Production degree at BU in 1995, said: “There were so many skills that I learnt at Bournemouth University that I have taken into the industry and that continue to be useful today.

He added: “I’ve hugely enjoyed the event. I hope it’s very useful for the current batch of students for alumni to come back and share their experiences and stories of how they got into the industry.”

Also speaking at the event was producer and director Céin McGillicuddy, who has worked on programmes like Made in Chelsea and MTV’s My Super Sweet World Class since completing a BA (Hons) in Scriptwriting for Film and TV then an MA (Hons) in TVProduction at BU, and fellow Scriptwriting for Film and TV graduate Danna Wills, who worked at Aardman Animations and Disney before moving into children’s magazines.

Following the talks, there was a Q&A panel session with the alumni and the opportunity for networking.

Anna Goodridge, who studied TV Production at BU from 2005 to 2008 was another of the speakers.

She is currently working as a Production Coordinator on BBC drama Holby City.

Anna said: “I started off as a runner and worked my way up the old-fashioned way, which is how you’re always going to have to do it.

“I want to let students know that your mum or dad doesn’t have to work in television – with hard work and a bit of research you can get in quite easily but you’ve got to be patient and one day, eventually, you’ll get to where you want to be.”

2012 Paralympics changed perceptions of disability, BU study finds

The London 2012 Paralympic Games led to greater confidence and less anxiety in talking about disability and disabled sport, a Bournemouth University (BU) study has found.

The study was commissioned by Channel 4, broadcasters of the 2012 Paralympic Games, and was completed by the Creative Enterprise Bureau, a marketing consultancy based in BU’s Media School which involves staff and students from the Corporate and Marketing Communications academic group.

They found that viewers were genuinely surprised by how emotive and thrilling the games were, and began to see sporting excellence rather than only the disability.

Over the course of two years they conducted in-depth interviews with participants – based in London, Bournemouth and Newcastle – about their thoughts and experiences of disability and disabled sport.

“The focus was on experiences and the stories that people had,” said Dr Dan Jackson, senior lecturer in Media and Communication at BU, who helped coordinate the study.

“We wanted to speak to a whole cross-section of people, so the interviews included disabled people, people with direct experience of disability and disability sport, people with an interest in sport and TV watching, and people who had no interest at all.

“We were most interested in how this massive sporting event impacted on people’s lives.”

The participants were interviewed in four phases before and after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and Dan said that, before the event, there did not seem to be much change in the way people were talking about disability and disabled sports.

“There were a lot of barriers – people didn’t know how to talk about it,” he said.

“Many people did not have experiences of disability because it was very rarely on our screens. There was not a great deal of knowledge or interest in Paralympic sport.

“But there seemed to be a lot of good will towards it – people saying “It should be on TV, it’s a worthwhile thing, but I won’t really go out of my way to watch it.”

However, after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, people’s perceptions and experiences of disability and disabled sport seemed to change.

The study found:

  • The Paralympics had a noticeable impact on the way disability was talked about; there was greater confidence and less anxiety in talking about disability sport.
  • Genuine and palpable surprise at the emotional reactions generated by watching the Paralympics – viewers seemed genuinely surprised at just how emotive and thrilling the Paralympics were.
  • A shift from expecting to see only the disability to primarily seeing sporting excellence. This was accompanied by a shift away from sympathy and pity to thrill and excitement associated with watching live sport
  • A reduction in expressed sense of discomfort when watching people with disability on TV.
  • Disabled participants were acutely aware of the ‘buzz’ generated that made disability momentarily trendy and fashionable, and that a general sense of ‘admiration’ appears to have displaced sympathy, pity or fear in how able-bodied people interact with disabled people. But they were sceptical of whether this would last long-term.

Dan said: “We couldn’t find anyone who hadn’t experienced any of the Paralympics – even if they hadn’t watched it directly, it was second-hand through the news or other people.

“While the summer of sport, particularly the Olympics, was quite moving for the whole country, it had a huge impact and was the central focus all summer, and the Paralympics benefited from that.

“But for some people it suffered, as it seemed to be considered an afterthought.”

He added: “Some of the people who were least likely to watch and enjoy it, got beyond that and beyond the disabilities and were watching it as a sport just like any other sport.”

Around half of the Corporate and Marketing department at BU helped with the study, along with final year Marketing, PR and Advertising students.

Dan said it was great to be involved with such a high profile project, and that they were now hoping to write a book around the findings.

“One of the great parts of it from our point of view was that it was a really good project that involved so many people in our department,” he said.

“The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were massive for the country and it only seemed to really hit home when we started quite how big a deal this whole thing was.

“To be part of that and doing the research on that was great.”

Professor Keith Brown appears in The Telegraph and Nursing Times

Bournemouth University’s Professor Keith Brown was quoted in The Telegraph and the Nursing Times as he gave his opinions on the current state of nursing and social work.

Professor Brown, Director of the National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work at BU, wrote an article for the Opinion section of the Nursing Times, where he outlined the need for the culture of nursing and professional care to change in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.

The article, written by Keith, finished by stating, “It is time to stop making nurses the culprits in these abuse scandals. Instead, nurses must be given the skills to create transparent and safe cultures.”

In The Telegraph, Professor Brown continued on the subject and was quoted as saying, “I think that most people who come in to this line of work – whether it is nursing, social care, or in care homes – want to care but somehow it gets knocked out of them.”

“They end up in systems and structures that make them feel anxious or nervous, it might be the pressure of work or the culture of the organisation just setting inappropriate targets where you can measure the measurable but not the qualities of what it feels like.”

Keith was arguing for a change in culture within care professions that is birthed through resilience and the proper training that provides skills that encourage compassion.

For more information you can read The Telegraph article in full.

BU graduate features in Develop 3D Magazine

BU graduate and inventor Tom Lawton has realised his lifelong dream of appearing on the cover of magazine Develop 3D.

Tom, a BU Product Design and Visualisation graduate, is on the cover of the November issue of the technology magazine, with his invention BubbleScope.

BubbleScope attaches to smartphones and allows users to take a 360 degree image.

Tom, who graduated from BU in 1998, told the magazine that he first began working on the idea in 2001 following a trip to India.

But, he said, funding the project himself meant that every penny he made got ploughed back into his research and development.

“I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices over the years – such as selling the car to pay for the prototypes or re–mortgaging the house to pay for ridiculous patent costs.”

To help fund the project, he went on Crowdfunder – a fundraising platform for creative projects – and enlisted high-profile testers like Jamie Oliver.

“Jamie now regularly tweets bubbles and puts them on his Instagram feed,” Tom said.

The Bubblescope was launched in the summer and has been an instant success.

“In time we’ll be everywhere from Apple stores to ASDA,” Tom told the magazine, adding that he loved the bubble pictures that people were now sharing.

“Just this morning, I’ve been excited to take a motorbike ride through Tokyo via a new customer’s video bubble.

“I have no idea who he is or how he came across BubbleScope but he’s using it to capture and share his world.”

But for Tom – who has also launched successful projects including Firewinder, The Original Windlight, and his BU final year project, the WakeYoo alarm clock, which went on to sell 250,000 units – this is just the beginning.

“If you imagine that today I have realised my vision from ten years ago then imagine what we are planning to do in the next few years. It’ll blow your mind but my team and I know it can be done,” he said.

“It is all about daring to dream and how hard you are prepared to work.”

You can read the article here: Develop3d.com.

BU student brings together pilot and man who shot him down

A documentary by a recent Master’s graduate at BU brought together a former US air pilot and the Serbian man who shot down his plane during NATO air strikes in the country.

Documentary-maker Zeljko Mirkovic arranged for former US Air Force pilot, Dale Zelko and Zoltan Dani, who led the military unit which shot down Dale’s stealth plane in 1999, to meet again last year.

The pair have since struck up an unlikely friendship and Zeljko has filmed it for his critically-acclaimed documentary The Second Meeting.

Zeljko, 40, who is from Serbia, completed a Master’s degree at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) at Bournemouth University this year, and did his diploma project reflecting on the documentary and his role of director and producer.

He said: “As a director/producer I got a perspective of TV and media management in new digital media environment.

“I am very interested to continue my PhD studies and do research connected with documentary film in the new media environment and explore more the idea of creating an interactive documentary on digital platforms.

He added that he thought the documentary is relevant around the world, because it sends the message of “hope and peace – which could be accepted universally.”

Creating the documentary took years of work, as the two men send correspondence to each other – sharing their thoughts, ideas and emotions, before a face to face meeting.

The documentary, which was created by Zeljko’s production company Optimistic productions, had Serbian premieres in four main cities in September.

It has since received global media attention – including articles by the BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and French newspaper Le Figaro about the unique story and friendship.

Zeljko, who has been working in the film industry for the past ten years and has won several awards, said that he is now working on two new documentaries and on the distribution of The Second Meeting, with plans to submit it for the 2014 Oscars.

Ashley Woodfall, of CEMP, said: “In unearthing the real truth behind The Second Meeting, Zeljko engages us all in a story about family, not war.”

“While studying for his master¹s degree here at Bournemouth University¹s Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Zeljko his developed a keen criticality, not just about his own work, but on the industrial landscape that surrounds his on-going practice.”

You can watch the trailer for The Second Meeting here: http://www.optimisticfilm.com/