The British Coal Utilisation Research Association


3.5) THE RECOMMENDED FORMAT FOR BCURA FINAL REPORTS

This section has been prepared for the guidance of the BCURA Industrial Supervisors in their discussions with the University Project Manager on the preparation of BCURA Final Reports.

User-friendliness is very important. The length of the report should reflect the scale of the project, but should not in any case exceed 20 single-spaced pages (excluding Tables and Figures). Authors should strive to address a technical graduate readership, but should not assume specialist knowledge of their own subject. Careful attention to the structure of the report can alleviate many of the problems of approachability.

TITLE PAGE.

This should include the full names(s) and addresses, telephone and fax numbers and E-mail addresses, etc. of the University Project Manager, the BCURA Industrial Supervisor, other relevant participants, and other information such as Title of Project, BCURA Agreement number, name of the University, start and end dates of the overall project, etc.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.

This should be a stand-alone document of 1˝ - 2 pages. It should be written in a positive manner. Obviously it should précis the report as a whole, but should pay particular attention to strategic issues and ensure that the conclusions are clearly identified. It should be remembered that this is the only part of the report, which all Council Members will see and which may also be used to prepare Project Summaries for publication on behalf of the DTI.

CONTENTS LIST.

INTRODUCTION.

This should give sufficient background information to explain why the work has been carried out and address any strategic and economic issues before moving on to technical matters. The aims of the work and potential benefits should be clearly stated. The latter part of the Introduction should provide a technical lead-in to the rest of the report.

EXPERIMENTAL.

RESULTS.

DISCUSSION.

These sections obviously comprise the bulk of the text, and the preliminary remarks on brevity and user-friendliness apply. They may be combined if desired, i.e. Experimental/Results or Results/Discussion. Please ensure that the experimental details are understandable in general terms, and that all relevant results are included. The Final Report should be a stand-alone document, so avoid references to periodic (e.g. Six-monthly Progress Reports) reports. A paragraph relating the project’s achievements to its objectives should be included in the Discussion. Of particular interest are any potential applications of the project to UK Industry (Technology transfer) and the potential for commercial exploitation through patent application by BCURA.

CONCLUSIONS.

These should be stated clearly and concisely, using bullet points if possible.

PROPOSED WORK FOR A SUBSEQUENT PROGRAMME.

Most genuine research raises more questions than it answers, so there will sometimes be scope for a follow-up programme. However, the University Project Manager must make sure that anything proposed in this section is a real step forward, and not merely something which has already been partly done (or not done!) in the present contract.

PUBLICATIONS ARISING FROM THE PROJECT.

Please try to make this list as complete as possible. It is recognised that lead times for journals are long, so do not hesitate to include papers 'in press' or even 'in preparation'. Copies may be appended to the report if you wish.

REFERENCES.

TABLES/FIGURES.

APPENDICES.

These may be used (sparingly) for experimental and other details, which are too lengthy, or technically complex, for the main text. A glossary of Terms is sometimes useful. Copies of publications arising from the work may also be included here.

There may be circumstances in which the format described is inappropriate. This may well arise when the contract is being used to fund a research studentship and the thesis may, with the agreement of the Industrial Supervisor and the Technical Officer, be acceptable as the Final Report. The BCURA Industrial Supervisor and University Project Managers will need to recognise that in such cases the content of the Executive Summary is of the greatest importance.

In addition, University Project Managers and BCURA Industrial Supervisors are reminded that a draft Final Report should be available within 1 month of the end date of the BCURA contract. Any questions regarding the guidelines for the preparation of Final Reports, should be referred to the BCURA Technical Officer.

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