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CoRIPS Research Funding application has been submitted!

The College of Radiographers Industry Partnership Scheme research grant.

And a trip down memory lane - The Fordhall Farm Archaeology Project.

I've finally submitted an application for some research funding into the application of radiography in archaeology/forensics, asking for £5000 to buy out time from the NHS. I hope to explore best practice in the radiography of dry human bones using an archaeological assemblage as a test bank. In effect, to continue what I'm doing with the archaeology guys but in a more formal way (and gain some recognition). One of the conditions of the research funding is that the outcome would be presented at conference and published within the Radiography journal or the Imaging and Therapy Practice quasi-journal/magazine. I won't find out if I've got the funding for another 2-3 months, and I'm not sure how the Coronavirus will affect the number of submissions or the judging process. If I get the funding, it's possible I'll start this September at the very earliest.

The College of Radiographers is aligned with the Society of Radiographers, a professional body and trade union for diagnostic/therapeutic radiographers in the United Kingdom. For some time now they have been offering small research grants (£5,000-£10,000) for radiography-related projects. In the words of their website: The aim is to support at least one grant for someone who has little or no previous experience of undertaking research and development projects. I suppose that's me? My systematic review in my Masters doesn't count does as previous experience of research? As it was an assessment? Anyway, it'll be my first 'proper' project. Well, that's not entirely true, I did a small project in archaeology before...

The short report has now been added to my ResearchGate profile. Click on About the Author and you'll see it on my publication list. Not a great read, but it's better than collecting dust in Shrewsbury library.

I qualified from diagnostic radiography in 2008 but I still wanted to do a spot of archaeology research and I put together a small project at Fordhall Farm - England’s first community-owned farm in Market Drayton, north Shropshire. I had been to the farm the previous year for some volunteering after reading a book about the saving of the farm from development by the public. The tenants, Ben and Charlotte Hollins (siblings), let me stay in a yurt in the dead of winter and 'help' around the farm. It was wonderful, a one-to-one experience. I cobbled together a research project to investigate the motte and bailey castle (earthwork) on the land and applied for funding from a variety of places. The Robert Kiln Charitable Trust kindly gave £250 for the project, which primarily went towards the hiring of the surveying equipment. I used the surveying equipment, along with some willing volunteers from my community allotment, so take the measure of the land (so to speak). I'm not sure how much good came of it, but we quantified the measurements of the earthwork and presented it the best we could.

The survey data was converted into a 3D model using the kind assistance of Golden Software Ltd. The difference in elevation wasn't very extreme, so some exaggeration was made in some of the 3D models (to the left). The interior of the motte and bailey castle could therefore be quantified.

If I were to return to Fordhall Farm I would use LiDAR, drones or, at the very least, a lot more data points from the survey. We only had one piece of equipment to survey the land. On the image shown above the different colour dots (top right) indicated different data acquisition positions for the survey equipment. There was a large area we could not access due to rough terrain and dense vegetation. But at least the interior and majority of the flanks were well recorded. Perhaps I'll revisit the idea of investigating the castle at a later date.

The new project -

The CoRIPS research grant would be substantially bigger, with an associated expectation. It's nothing like the million pound research grants given out for investigating cancer, but to me £5000 is a lot of money to give someone to investigate something they are interested in - and an opportunity to bolster their CV. It's interesting, I was asked at uni how much research funding I've had in my career, it wasn't until now that I realise the Fordhall Farm Archaeology Project was my first funded project. I didn't pursue more projects due to business at work and other constraints. I left the community allotment - due to moving home - and the whole thing lost steam.

The title of the proposed project is:

Best practice in projectional radiography of human dry bone specimens – A literature review and confirmatory research using an archaeological assemblage

The application form, whilst easy enough to fill out, turned into a 19 page monster. I spent the greatest amount of time on the literature review to demonstrate that there are no evidence-based recommendations for the radiography of dry human bones (for archaeology or forensics). Deciding how to use the £5000 was fairly easy - I would buy out time from the hospital job to conduct a literature review of current recommendations and then travel to Canterbury to x-ray the Hallet's garage excavation assemblage. The greatest logistical feat was getting the NHS to agree to it, sign the sheet, the university to agree to it, and sign the sheet, and Canterbury Archaeological Trust to agree to it, and sign the sheet. The deadline was at 5pm, I had the final signature at 4pm! Crikey, it was last minute stuff.

I also had my knuckles wrapped for not including the uni within the application (to the extend that the Head of School wished). I popped my 'other' job on the application form and sent it off for signing (again). As a employee of the NHS I do not need to give up any of the research funding, but as an employee of the university I would have to slice off a portion of this to help with running costs of the buildings, etc. So, obviously, I applied as an employee of the NHS. It's a tactical move, and the NHS won't be benefiting from the project directly (I suppose I may shower them with my research glow?). I've been told that any future research funding should include the university tax. It means they have more recognition for the research and they add it onto their research spending tally (as far as I can gather).

The project has been costed for 25 days of my time, but that' is assuming CoRIPS will pay for 100% of my wage. The documentation states they only ever pay for 50% of someone's wage... The NHS aren't paying anything, the uni isn't paying anything, and CAT are simply facilitating the arrangement. It's a one off opportunity to do this type of project, so hopefully they will let me do it under my terms, otherwise I'll see if I can dock my wage to 50% and still do it. Yes, I'm keen.

Well, if I am successful I shall post on this website to update the progress of the project (with some nice pics I hope), If I am not successful, then I'll bloody well do it anyway, but over a much longer time.


The Fordhall Farm Archaeology Project is available on my ResearchGate profile. Please ask for permission before use.

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