Research News

Research News


Promoting the resilience of health systems in contexts of crisis

Researchers at QMU, Edinburgh, Columbia University, New York and University of the Western Cape in South Africa have been helping health workers working in contexts of crisis to identify ways of maintaining health services in the face of major adversity. In settings such as Gaza in the Middle East and in northern Nigeria, where insurgency from Boko Haram has created major insecurity, researchers have been developing a participatory methodology which assists in identifying the complex consequences of disruption (such as patients delaying coming for treatment or shortages of drugs) and ways to address them.

 Research lead, Professor Alastair Ager, Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development at QMU, believes the methodology is an important advance in identifying sources of resiliency. “Building a ‘systems model’ of the complex and challenging situation health workers find themselves brings deep insights into how issues can combine to create a ‘viscous spiral’ threatening the delivery of services. The approach moves beyond just identifying problems to suggest ways of protecting services and building resilience”.

Celebrating QMU Women Researchers

In line with QMU's commitment to equality and diversity in researcher careers,  our new exhibition celebrates the career journeys of a selection of our women researchers

Converge Challenge 2015

Very well done to Dr Felix Schaeffler and the fitvoice team in CASL for securing a place in the final of  Scotland’s prestigious Converge Challenge 2015. This is Scotland's leading commercialisation competition and is the first time that QMU has reached  the finals with fierce competition from over 450 applicants. 

 fitvoice  addresses a gap in the market for a convenient and affordable voice care service that allows remote assessment of voices and remote delivery of voice care, so that occupational voice users can fit regular voice care into their busy daily routines.

QMU Showcases at EXPLORATHON – European Researchers Night

 Dr Laura Wyness and Ken Aitchison (DNBS) were highlighting the work conducted at QMU’s Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation at the recent EXPLORATHON ‘15 event in Edinburgh.  EXPLORATHON is part of European Researcher’s Night and is Scotland’s biggest public celebration of research, supported by Horizon 2020.  The event, held on Friday 25th Sept, involved over 300 cities across Europe.  In Edinburgh, QMU were at the Royal Botanic Gardens sharing recent innovative food research.  Visitors were keen to learn about sensory analysis and QMU dietetics student Elizabeth Jose helped excited attendees through an activity involving taste tests of chocolate and Scottish cold pressed rapeseed oil.

 Professor  Jim Scobbie and Dr Patrycja Strycharczuk of the CASL Research Centre also participated in EXPLORATHON  at an event at the National Museum of Scotland titled “Researchers’ Night” which  gives people a chance to find out what researchers really do. Their event was called “Scots auld and new: changing words, changing accent” and used ultrasound tongue imaging to show people how speech is generated in their own vocal tract It was also a citizen-science event, and some participants have allowed recordings of their speech to be used for teaching and research by participating in a short experiment. They pronounced both familiar words, and some Scots words like “stoor”, “chittery bite”, and “barry”.

QMU secures external funding for a Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship

Professor Jim Scobbie, CASL has been been successful in securing external funding from the  Carnegie Corporation of  New York  for a Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship to develop participative citizen science around " Seeing your Voice".

Listening and Learning Project

A research and development team lead by Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of the Division of Nursing and working in partnership with Professor Jan Dewing, Canterbury Christchurch University, Kent, England have been commissioned by Age UK to undertake a project called the ‘Listening and Learning Project’.  The aim of the project is to test out that listening; hearing, acting and learning on feedback from older people will lead to an improvement in the delivery of high quality person-centred care.  The learning achieved will provide new insights into sector led learning and understanding by improving skills in listening and learning from older people. In addition, it will give staff the skills and support to confidently translate the feedback into changes in practice and demonstrate measurable improvements within service delivery.

Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship - £180k from the European Commission  

Professor Jim Scobbie and Dr Maria Paola Bissiri (currently at the Technische Universität Dresden) have secured a highly competitive, EU-funded Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (anticipated income £180k) to bring Dr Bissiri to QMU for 2 years to continue her work on connected speech behaviour in both native speakers and learners of German.

The collaboration means she will use the articulatory measurement systems developed in CASL to provide insight into silent aspects of speech production, including crucial transitions such as the use of glottal stops at word boundaries.  This is the first Marie Curie fellowship to be awarded directly to QMU and CASL is delighted to welcome Dr Bissiri to QMU in September 2014. 

The project also follows on from previous projects into bilingualism at CASL (German/English speakers in particular) as well as projects examining the processes through which individual words are produced as part of a longer sequence, in context.

Evaluation of Holistic Integration Service - £35k from Scottish Refugee Council  

The Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) has commissioned Dr Alison Strang, IIHD, to conduct an evaluation of the impact of the Holistic Integration Service (HIS). HIS was established by a Big Lottery grant as a means of improving the way asylum seekers and refugees are able to access appropriate services as they arrive in Scotland.

The project will evaluate the extent to which HIS achieves its goal to assist refugees to integrate effectively into Scottish society and exercise their rights and have their needs met. SRC is providing project funding of £35k over 21 months.

Evaluation of Child Friendly Spaces – £19k from
World Vision International 

This project, led by Carola Eyber, is part of a series of collaborative studies between World Vision International and academic institutions to investigate Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and the development of effective tools for the routine evaluation of such interventions. CFS is a widely used tool to help protect children in emergencies and is used by a growing number of agencies in an increasing range of contexts and emergencies. 

It will employ qualitative and quantitative research to investigate the effectiveness of CFS operating with internally displaced children in eastern Congo.  This research will help understand and improve how CFS can help protect children from abuse, exploitation and violence and provide psychosocial support to them.  

The outputs of this study will help agencies improve CFS effectiveness and make a significant contribution to improving practice in protecting children in crises.

AlcoLOLs project for research in Dialogue awarded £138k by the Robertson Trust

The Robertson Trust has awarded £138k to fund a three year project which will enable the AlcoLOLs project to be extended to a further five schools from North East Edinburgh.

The AlcoLOLs project - initially developed with pupils from Portobello High School - is a peer education project for teenagers. It uses dialogue techniques to create a new approach to supporting young people in negotiating the challenges posed by alcohol by learning together and from one another in a carefully constructed communication context.

Complaints Procedure Review – £7k from the Welsh Language Commissioner     

The objectives of the project, led by Chris Gill,  were to review and suggest improvements in the complaint handling service provided by the Commissioner and to help the Commissioner identify the impact that its complaint handling work has on the provision of services in Welsh.

The project team made recommendations about improvements to the Commissioner’s complaint handling work; ongoing methods for self-evaluation and continuous improvement; the possibility of using separate processes for statutory and non statutory complaints; and satisfying the requirements of part 5 of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.