Reader / Lead Substance use & misuse research group

School of Health & Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University

email: Twitter @SubMisuseGcu

Selection and participation in Scottish Crucible increased my confidence in myself as a research leader in the alcohol field, and gave me strategies to achieve my existing goal of communicating my research outside academia.  The sessions which emphasised the important of visibility both within and beyond the academic community and how to build on our status as experts with policymakers and the media were excellent and something I still think about and pass on to others. Being surrounded by such an impressive peer group in terms of energy, curiosity, friendliness, openness and intellect was a memorable and inspiring experience. As a mid –career researcher with young children working part-time, I had always been productive, but Scottish Crucible made me more focused, confident, willing to approach others to collaborate on projects and to go outside my comfort zone.  I am now developing a Crucible programme at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

Tangible examples of the effects of Scottish Crucible include:-

Initiating mutually beneficial collaborations with charities who have assisted with PPI work for grant applications, funded projects, helped produce colourful reports which reach a wider audience than academic papers (see link below), and organized the launch of our research to health professionals and policymakers at the Scottish Parliament

Community & Public engagement through sold out events at the Glasgow Science Festival (e.g. “Alcohol, music, technology & you”.  “Can we harness the digital revolution to improve health in Scotland?), GCU’s ‘Food for Thought’ event at Queens Cross Housing Association, and presenting to the University of Stirling Alcohol Discussion Public Involvement Group: “Alcohol and identity; does what and how you drink reveal who you are?” 

Media coverage, offering expert opinion and blogging for “The Conversation”. Our recent work on how UK newspapers cover women’s binge drinking received extensive coverage (e.g. the Times, Herald, Independent, Scotsman, Guardian, Daily Mail, BBC news online).  Writing a piece for The Conversation helped to increase the reach of this research, and I have encouraged many colleagues to do this too (as recommended by Scottish Crucible).  I have also worked with the GCU Communications department to offer expert opinion on alcohol issues (e.g. on Minimum unit pricing)

Social media.  Our group (@SubMisuseGcu) has the most active research Twitter account at GCU (> 1800 followers). This allows us to interact with third sector groups, funders of research, policy makers, politicians, practitioners and the public as well as increasing the visibility of our group and our research.

Increasing interdisciplinary discussion about alcohol research through the organization of a symposium: How do different disciplines talk about alcohol? This event trended on Twitter (see for an overview) and was also disseminated via an accessible report.