The Co-Directorship arrangement (Prof Huw Davies, St Andrews/Dr Thilo Kroll, Dundee) put in place after the departure of Professor Brian Williams to the NMAHP Research Unit at the University in Stirling has been helpful in emphasising the links between St Andrews and Dundee as well as in terms of the interdisciplinary research portfolio of the institute.
‘Networking existing networks’
It is one of SDHI’s key objectives to build productive relationships with existing research and professional networks. One example is the collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), which is a joint venture between the University of Dundee and the Scottish Crops Research Institute (SCRI). This has produced joint PhD studentships, a mutual representation of SDHI and CECHR representatives on committees, and an upcoming knowledge exchange event in the autumn, entitled ‘Natural Disaster Mitigation for People with Disabilities: Identifying vulnerability, building resilience.’ Since April the Alliance for Self Care Research (ASCR), a consortium of Scottish higher education institutions and the NHS continues after a successful 5 year run in a new outfit. The acting director is Prof Vikki Entwistle who also serves as an Associate Director within SDHI.
There have also been constructive discussions with the NMAHP Research Unit to inform future collaborations.
SDHI has also supported a knowledge sharing day with focus on ‘Cancer and Employment’ on the 6th May, which has led to the implementation of a working group in this area.
Enhancing visibility and internationalisation
Since January 2011 the SDHI team has worked towards greater visibility of its activities in the two universities. This process is ongoing and will build on the good collaborative relationships established between the two universities in the past. The use of social media tools will allow us to communicate news and updates more rapidly in the future. The team opted against a static newsletter and favours a more dynamic, interactive newsblog. The use of Twitter enables us to tweet news items as they occur and report on events and activities in real time. Event blogs form useful information repositories with a life long after the event has occurred.
Internationally, SDHI has received further recognition through hosting a well-attended conference on 4-5th of May in Dundee, entitled ‘Rehabilitation and Participation: Building Bridges Between Researchers, Practitioners, and Service Users.’ Read more about this conference on the event blog at http://sdhiconference2011.wordpress.com
The conference has led to future international collaboration in the area of rehabilitation, disability, participation and health.
A second conference with around 100 attendees , entitled ‘Making Healthcare Safer: Learning from Social and Organisational Research’ will take place on 27-28th June in St Andrews. Read more at http://www.sdhi.ac.uk
Capacity and capability building
SDHI continues its commitment to building research capacity and capability in the form of workshops on ‘writing for publication’ and ‘grant writing’ in collaboration with the School of Nursing & Midwifery at the University of Dundee.
The team will also revisit the popular Kindrogan retreat format, which did not take place this year as a result of changes in demand.
SDHI will host a showcase and public engagement event as part of the Dundee Science Festival in the autumn 2011. In this process it is working closely with the Revealing Research team at the University of Dundee.
Research activity and academic output
Grant development and publication volume remain substantial and are likely to further increase in the second half of the year. Just in the first four months of the year, SDHI team members have contributed to grant income generation in the order of £1 million through their various collaborative networks. Seven grant applications are currently under submission and 29 peer reviewed publications have been published or accepted between January and April 2011. We will report on highlights and greater detail of these activities on this blog in future.
A new research strategy that specifies objectives and targets for the next three years is currently being finalised.
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