The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) was established in 2008. It was co-funded by The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) until July 2018. From 2015 onwards it has been based within the University of Edinburgh, firstly in the Usher Institute, and then from 2018 in the School of Health in Social Sciences. It has had broadly three phases, which coincide with the funding phases.
2008 – 2013
In its first five years of operation (2008-13), the Collaboration created four multi-disciplinary Working Groups: Early Life, Adolescence/Young Adulthood, Early to Mid-Working Life, and Later Life which enabled 80+ researchers, public health policy makers and practitioners to come together and collaborate on priority setting exercises and joint projects.
SCPHRP also developed four Scottish-framed Environmental Scans of the scientific evidence on interventions relating to the Working Groups. An environmental scan is a structured review of global intervention literature which is placed within a broader policy context. It funded over 20 new interdisciplinary research-project teams through it’s seed grants. It also developed new relationships with policy makers and practitioners in Scotland.
The second phase of SCPHRP saw more of a focus on co-production and knowledge exchange with our policy and practitioner partners. We also started to develop ideas around citizen science, and developed an app called OurOudoors. We had a number of different events to showcase the work being done between researchers and policy and practice. We also built on the work of the previous 5 years to start developing new research bids. We were part of a number of large grants including: i) evaluation of the 20mph speed limits in Edinburgh; and ii) evaluation of the enhanced Health Visiting programme. We began to develop our ideas around intervention development and developed a Masters module for the MSC Public Health on ‘Developing and Evaluation Public Health Interventions.
Our core funding from the MRC and CSO finished and we moved to the School of Health In Social Sciences which we felt was a good fit for our work. We were reduced to a core team of 4 or 5 people, but began to take on PhD students and further develop our ideas around intervention development and evaluation, including writing a book. We were successful in securing funding for more researchers, and in 2021 two of our contract researchers were successful in becoming University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Fellows. The COCID-19 pandemic did affect the amount of research and collaboration we were able to do, but despite this we 2021 was our most successful year ever.