University of Stirling, Health Sciences

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New Year, New Research Horizons

Helen Cheyne

Professor Helen Cheyne

It is hard to believe that it is already a year since the results of REF 2014 were published, with good news of a very positive performance from the School of Health Sciences and colleagues across the University.  While we enjoyed some brief time for reflection on our REF success 2015 has seen lots of hard work and plenty of research success in the School.

Two very recent grant successes are examples of the range of innovation and international engagement of school research.  Prof Pat Hoddinott and Dr Stephan Dombrowski have been awarded funding from NIHR Public Health Research Programme for “Feasibility study of how best to engage obese men in narrative SMS (short message system) and incentive interventions for weight loss, to inform a future effectiveness and cost-effectiveness trial” with a total award value of £491K.    Prof Linda Bauld was awarded a British Council Researcher Links Workshop Grant with Uruguay “Implementation science applied to maternal health: tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy”, with an award of £34K.

2016 will be a very exciting year for research in the school.  The integration of the School of Health Science and School of Sports offers lots of potential for working together in new research directions as well as adding considerably to our existing programmes of research.  The research integration working group is currently discussing the research synergies between the Schools and the distinctive strengths of the integrated School, essentially what research we would want the new School to be known for nationally and internationally.  So far have produced lots of exciting ideas with three main broad areas where synergies in research across the Schools are clear.  These are:

  1. Lifestyle and behaviour change to health and wellbeing
  2. Physiological mechanisms underlying behavioural health interventions
  3. Policy and public organisations/ policy and implementation

Getting together to talk about research with our colleagues from School of Sport has already generated some great ideas for research projects and hopefully we will see some of these come to fruition in 2016.

123RF-44614042_lA major initiative that will be initiated in early 2016 will be internal peer review of all research funding applications.  While there have been various procedures for internal peer review across the School for some time these will be formalised in line with the University-wide policy for internal peer review early next year.   The peer review system aims to contribute to an increase in the quality and success of grant funding applications across the School.  I hope that all staff working on funding applications will benefit both from having their proposals peer reviewed and from acting as peer reviewers for colleagues.

Finally, the school will benefit from additional support from Carol Johnstone, Research Development Manager, who will have an increased focus on our School in 2016.  The support we currently get from Carol and her team is invaluable and I am delighted that we will see more of her next year.

Professor Helen Cheyne, Director of Research, School of Health Sciences
17 December 2015


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