The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health and Policy Research Centre

Did you know we have 5 main research centres in our School? Did you know that PGR students are more than welcome to join them, and we can actually join more than one if we would like?

If your answer to the above questions is something along the linesEmm, I had no idea’, then you are not alone.  

We are excited to introduce our new monthly series “Getting to know our research centres”! This is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity and creativity of our School’s research centres, but also an opportunity for PGR students to get to know how they can get involved with them. Being part of a research centre (or more than one) is a great way to strengthen professional networking and interpersonal communication, but also to interact and collaborate with staff members. Plus, our research centres regularly organise some very interesting and creative events and initiatives, so if you are not planning to get actively involved with them, you may be interested to know how you can learn about attending these.  

Starting our new series, we are happy to introduce the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP). Ruth JepsonSCPHRP director, kindly answered the following questions about the centre, its mission and vision, values, research interests, and ways to get in touch with them. 

Please describe the journey, mission, and vision of the research centre with which you are affiliated:

The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health and Policy (SCPHRP) was established in 2008 and was initially funded by the MRC and CSO. SCPHRP’s vision is to develop Scotland as a leader in public-health intervention research for equitable health improvement through catalysing strong researcher/research-user collaborations that ensure timely, robust, policy relevant research that is created with – and used by – key decision-makers. 

What are the research interests of your research group? 

Our research interests are incredibly varied, but focus mainly on upstream determinants of health, rather than specific health conditions. As everything around us has the potential to impact on health (positively or negatively) we try not to limit ourselves to a particular topic area. Instead, we focus on developing and evaluating interventions which are policy relevant and have some impact on health. In the last 5 years we have undertaken research on topic areas including: 20mph speed limits, Family Nurse Partnerships, outdoor space for health and wellbeing, food security, COVID-19 and young people, impact of the school-built environment, school nursing, health visiting, physical activity for gestational diabetes, workplace health. We have close relationships with people in local and national government as well as practitioners and third sectors. Many of the topic areas have stemmed from their need for evidence to inform their policy or practice. 

What are the principal values that motivate and maintain the work in your research group? 

We are motivated by collaborative work that seeks to improve the lives of a range of population groups. Our ethos is that by bringing together people from a range of backgrounds we can generate research evidence that is meaningful, relevant, and effective. We are very much a team-based group, who thrive on helping each other to develop. We try to be as inclusive as we can be, and promote healthy approach to working and working relationships. We do not view the world as split into ‘academics’ and ‘non-academics’, but rather that everyone has something to bring to a research topic that enhances it. And we like cats and dogs, crafting, walking, fun and friendship. 

Please mention some of the ideas and research that your research group has initiated, elaborated and/or published:

Stand Up for Health (SUH): Sedentary behaviour can be described as spending extended periods of time in a sitting, reclining or lying posture. It is a serious occupational health hazard, linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal issues, and poor mental wellbeing. The Stand Up for Health intervention aims to reduce sedentary behaviour in contact centres, while offering staff fun and engaging opportunities to reduce their sitting time, increase physical activity, improve productivity, relieve stress, improve energy levels, and boost mood.  

20MPH Project: This NIHR funded study examines the impact of 20mph speed limits on safety and public health. The research team, led by the University of Edinburgh and SCPHRP, hopes the project will inform other cities planning to introduce lower speed limits. It is the largest of its kind in the UK and will run until 2020. “We are excited about this major project, which we hope will provide very important insights into the public health effects of such initiative. You can find out more about the 20MPH Project here.

‘Our Outdoors’ is a citizen science project which aims to contribute to public understanding of how shared outdoor spaces can affect our health and wellbeing. The project will also explore whether specific spaces affect people’s health and wellbeing differently and if so, why? In this project, we work with citizens that want to get involved and help us learn about a range of local outdoor spaces, from streets and town squares to beaches, public parks and beyond. Any spaces can be included as long as they are outside and freely open to anyone (e.g. not a private garden). You can visit Our Outdoors website here.

 How can we get in touch (Facebook group, website, etc) with this research group/centre and its work? 

We love to welcome new people! You can find out more about us here follow us on twitter @SCPHRP or email: ruth.jepson@ed.ac.uk 

Anything else you think should be known about this research centre? 

We welcome people who want to be part of a team and work with a range of different people. We value conversation, collaboration and friendship. We have a large network and there are plenty of opportunities for you to contribute to the work of SCPHRP as well as taking advantage of what we can offer.


If you would like to learn more about Ruth’s role in our School take a look at the Spotlight Edition No.9.


 

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