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Institute for Global Health and Development: Research

A multi-disciplinary centre for research and postgraduate education, addressing contemporary health and development challenges in low- and middle-income countries and their connection to global systems and trends.

Queen Margaret University's Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) is a multi-disciplinary centre for research and postgraduate education, addressing contemporary health and development challenges in low- and middle-income countries and their connection to global systems and trends.

Our approach is marked by a commitment to critical thinking, practice engagement, and social justice.

- Critical thinking means we bring fresh insight and perspectives to situations, with our work frequently involving innovative methodologies and approaches.

- Practice engagement means that we are committed to working directly with Ministries of Health, international and national organisations and local communities to develop real solutions to problems.

- Social justice means that we are always particularly mindful of the needs of the most disadvantaged and ways of improving their health and well-being.

Our Research

The Institute for Global Health and Development applies social science in order to understand and impact the health and development of vulnerable and marginalised populations globally.

IGHD builds upon a long-standing track-record of engagement in the field of global health and development at Queen Margaret University (QMU), with an emphasis on supporting the development of policy and systems in the context of community engagement.

QMU was selected as a focus for supporting capacity development in primary healthcare in the wake of the Alma-Ata Declaration, through the establishment of a Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Health Care in the 1980s.

It led a major programme of strengthening nursing services in Bangladesh in the 1990s and was a founder member of the TropEdEurop network on the establishment of the Centre for International Health Studies in 1993.

Our work is characterised by:

• A multidisciplinary approach rooted within the social sciences

• A commitment to research which provides both a critical perspective on issues and points towards tangible actions to address them

• A concern to address the health and well-being of those in greatest need, whether that be vulnerable populations in Scotland or those recovering from civil conflict overseas

Established as an Institute in 2004, IGHD has grown to be a focus for research of significant policy and practice impact. Our research on user fees made a significant contribution to how these were removed for all, or for selected populations, in 28 out of 50 countries with the largest maternal and child health mortality rates.

Our work across Ethiopia, Indonesia and Kenya was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as demonstrating that community-based practitioners operating within an integrated team, supported by the health system, provides a cost-effective means to deliver essential health interventions.

Our research on the issue of refugee integration has significantly shaped the Scottish Government Refugee Integration Strategy ‘New Scots’ and impacted policies more widely in Europe, Australia and the USA.

Our Impact

Focussing Research for Maximum Impact

Research is focused in areas where the Institute has a track record and ongoing capacity for world leadership.

We structure initiatives within research clusters that maximise synergies between the work of academic staff, researchers and doctoral students. Research clusters evolve over time, reflecting emerging opportunities for collaboration and impact.

Currently, our clusters are focused on work on health systems, particularly in fragile and low-income settings, and studies on the themes of psychosocial well-being, protection and integration.

Health Systems

Our team is heavily engaged with the UK Department for International Development-funded ReBUILD consortium. ReBUILD’s work is focused in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Cambodia.

Other recent and ongoing health systems work has been funded by:

-the World Health Organisation (WHO)

-the Medical Research Council (MRC)

-the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

-the National Institutes for Health (NIH)

These have addressed issues ranging from human resources for health in Africa, to analysis of systems resilience in the Middle-East and strategies supporting poverty alleviation in Asia.

Doctoral students contribute to the work of the Institute significantly in this thematic area, with recent and ongoing research in Ghana, India, China and Peru.

Psychosocial Well-being, Protection and Integration

Work on this theme involves studies across diverse settings, with a consistent focus on refugee and other vulnerable or marginalised communities.

This includes work in both humanitarian situations (for example, in Nepal, in Malawi post-floods, in the Middle-East) and in contexts of refugee resettlement (including the current settlement of Syrian refugees in Scotland).

Our work in this area is not only supported by research funders but also typically by inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental partners (such as UNICEF and World Vision).

An increasing number of doctoral students contribute to a coherent, impactful research agenda in this area, including part-time research students with ongoing employment with the United Nations (UN) and international NGOs.

Research Clusters and Projects

Explore our research clusters and associated projects below:

Health Systems Cluster

The Health Systems Cluster conducts health systems research with a focus on health inequality, social determinants of health and progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

Psychosocial Wellbeing, Integration and Protection Cluster

The focus of work in the area of psychosocial wellbeing, protection and integration is marked by strong engagement with a broad range of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental actors.

PhD Research


Postgraduate Study

We are proud of our reputation for providing a high-quality programme which draws together participants from diverse cultural, professional and academic backgrounds to share a student-centred experience, emphasising mutual learning and support.

With a typical cohort size of around 25 students, our programme provides a learning environment focussing on active learning and interchange of ideas and views between participants and educators.

The diverse background of our students and small class size enables learning to be interactive, with lectures and online learning material supplemented with in-class group work and discussion.

Assignments are diverse, and geared towards practice applications and facilitating extension of participants’ interests and developmental needs.

The active engagement of teaching staff in applied research provides many opportunities to illustrate issues with contemporary field examples.

Useful Links:

-MSc Global Health

-MSc Applied Global Health

-MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health

-MSc Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

-PgCert Health Interventions in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings



Online Study

Flexible postgraduate study to suit you. 100% online.

MSc Global Health

Gain a thorough understanding of how global health is achieved in this evidence-based programme which focuses on long-term sustainability.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

This will equip you with the critical analytical skills and the theoretical knowledge needed for professional public health work in both the public and private sectors.

IGHD 30 Year Anniversary

The Centre for international Health Studies, now IGHD, was setup in 1993 as a small but globally respected centre for research and education. This year is the 30th Anniversary of IGHD and we want to celebrate! Please visit our anniversary page for latest info and updates.


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