Connecting to transform lives – the SDHI Strategy 2014 – 2018

SDHI will adopt a refreshed strategy in 2014. We are in the process of finalising the strategy document, which will be available in ebook form in January 2014. Just like ‘Building Bridges’ (2011-2014) it will represent a continuation of SDHI’s successful work over the past 10 years. The new strategy is called ‘Connecting to transform lives’ and reflects a new emphasis on ‘impact’. It is indicative of the universities’ visions of transformational change and the reference to ‘lives’ reflects the real life focus of the applied health and social research conducted, initiated or facilitated by SDHI. In this preview, we would like to highlight four central aspects of the new strategy:

1. Social sciences as the ‘anchor’ of SDHI research

Social science disciplines are the foundations for our research, which will interface with health, environmental, and computing sciences and the arts and humanities. SDHI sees its contribution in being a leader – grounded in applied social science thinking – to provide knowledge and solutions to many of today’s multi-faceted problems found in local and global societies as they affect the health, wellbeing and opportunities for social engagement of the population.

2. Combination of an evidence-based with a human rights based ethos to underpin SDHI research

From its inception onwards, SDHI has been a research platform that addressed questions of health and social inequalities. We will continue to broaden this work to reflect the social justice and rights-based orientations found in modern public health and social science research, which seek to combine a robust scientific with a human rights based approach to research, education and development.

3. Dedication to working with communities, non-governmental organisations, and businesses in addition to health and social care services

We see SDHI as a platform to advance participatory and community-based forms of action research and transformational change. Research grounded in the knowledge and expertise, in the assets of communities stands the best chance of achieving sustainable impact. We will actively work with our community partners towards effective as well as meaningful change.

4. Connecting global and local knowledge and expertise

Over the past three years, we have formed an increasing number of international connections that link with SDHI’s vision of connecting local and global expertise, skills and knowledge. We seek to build on these connections and expand them further to learn from partners around the globe how they work with socially marginalised groups, families, and communities. We believe that this approach positions us well in an increasingly interconnected world and that it will advance both short-term knowledge gain as well as the development of working arrangements, structures and processes that will be of benefit all partners.

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This is just a snapshot of some of the key facets of our new strategy. If you would like to comment on this approach, please do so via Twitter @SDHIresearch #SDHIStrategy14 or send us an email at sdhi

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