A brief review and Season’s Greetings

As the year 2011 draws to a close we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support of SDHI and wish you a peaceful, successful and happy new year.

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The past 12 months have been in many ways successful and inspiring and this will set the bar for 2012. SDHI has adopted a new strategic plan for the years 2011-2014. In the months to come we will continue to present the details of this strategy to our partners in the two universities and beyond. And the work towards meeting the operational goals set out in our strategy has already begun. We have given SDHI a bit of a ‘facelift’ this year. A new website, which allows for more interactivity and news updates, the integration with social media, and a modern looking logo are just one of the changes that we introduced to make SDHI and its activities more visible. Since switching over to our new website, we have registered a steady increase in visits to and views of our pages. The work on our virtual presence will continue in 2012.

SDHI successfully hosted two major conferences in 2011, which were attended by over 200 delegates from the UK, Europe and North America who gathered in May and June in Dundee and St Andrews. Another conference is already planned for summer 2012 (information will follow shortly). Moreover, we hosted and co-hosted a number of seminars in 2011. In 2012 we hope to offer even more seminars by introducing web-based seminars (‘webinars’), which will allow us to introduce more international speakers. Webinar testing is currently under way.

In 2011, we have – true to our aim of ‘networking the networks’ – developed new and expanded on existing partnerships. Close working relationships exist with the University of Dundee, Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR). We are currently sharing joint PhD supervision and also co-hosted a successful knowledge exchange event on natural hazards, vulnerability and resilience. Further, we are building on our good working relationship with NHS Tayside and Fife. And we have been developing new academic partnerships with AQmeN (Applied Quantitative Methods Network) and the Centre for Medical Education (CME) at the University of Dundee. New opportunities for partnerships are on the horizon with regard to inequalities and life transitions. Aside from partnerships with existing networks we have grown our inter-university and inter-departmental connections, which now include geography, management, public health, psychology, environmental science, arts and design, computing, social work, nursing, medicine, and health informatics. Postgraduate support has been offered jointly with the School of Nursing & Midwifery at the University of Dundee to students in the form of grant writing and publication development groups.

Through our network we have submitted grant applications to fundings bodies that had not been targeted previously, including the EPSRC and the Scottish Universities Insights Institute. We are exploring new avenues of funding in 2012 including international sources.

In the past year, SDHI has continued to facilitate interdisciplinary applied research between Dundee and St Andrews and other partners. Several meetings were held of a newly formed interdisciplinary research group on learning disabilities. Another group, supported by SDHI focuses on physical activity and cancer. The CanWork network, which is a UK-wide research network that examines the impact of cancer on employment, held a very successful meeting in Dundee earlier this year and a joint poster was presented at the National Cancer Institute Research Conference this year. Other Research Development Groups are emerging (e.g. violence and health).

SDHI has also started new ways of engaging with the public at large. We held a well-attended day of public engagement funded through the ESRC Festival of Social Science in October this year. Further public engagement activities are planned for 2012.

At an international level, we have been forming new research collaborations with academics in Australia and the United States.

SDHI, now in its ninth year, is an open, flexible and creative research and knowledge exchange environment focused on solving the challenges to health, wellbeing and social participation. We continuously strive to build on the successful relationships and collaborations and will do so in 2012. Get in touch with us, visit us, join us.

All the very best for 2012

Your SDHI Team