Senior Lecturer in Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group

 Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling

Email:; Twitter: @DrMoran

Scottish Crucible is both an intensive and rewarding professional development programme and a network of open minded people. I attended Scottish Crucible in 2012 not long after obtaining a lectureship at the University of Stirling. My involvement changed my understanding of impact; it changed the way I think about collaborations; and, it gave me the confidence to think of myself as a leader in research and as an expert in research when dealing with the media. The Scottish Crucible is also an ongoing network of open minded individuals across disciplines and across Scotland. Alumni events, with an increasing number of new members, provide excellent opportunities to meet, collaborate and discuss ideas with collaborative minded researchers from across Scotland.

Since attending Scottish Crucible, I have been involved in a number of projects directly influenced by my experience of, or connections made at, the Scottish Crucible:

  • Through contacts made at Scottish Crucible, I formed a collaboration with a psychologist at the University of Glasgow and provide genetic expertise on the Kinship project – investigating how humans recognise kin. This work is worth ~£250K to the University of Stirling.
  • Returning from Scottish Crucible, Craig Roberts, Andrew Davie (also of University of Stirling) and I realised that the research community at Stirling could benefit from a similar interdisciplinary programme. The Stirling Crucible was launched in 2014 proving very popular. We are currently advertising for our third intake of Stirling Cruciblists.
  • I co-lead on research into the popular primary school physical activity intervention, the Daily Mile. Our research is the first to directly investigate the veracity of the anecdotally reported benefits of taking part in the Daily Mile. This has given me the opportunity to have direct links into government and media. The core research team was put together using connections made through the Stirling and Scottish Crucibles.
  • As a direct result of this work, we developed a project with BBC Terrific Scientific. Terrific Scientific projects are required to be a mix of public engagement and research. Academics design research projects on unanswered research questions and design classroom material that allows primary school children to conduct the necessary experiments. Results are reported back for publication. Our Exercise Investigation had almost 12,000 children around the UK sign up.
  • Through the popularity of the Daily Mile, I have been interviewed for TV (BBC, CBS, Catalan TV3), Radio (BBC) and national and international newspapers (The Times, France Ouest, The Guardian). I additionally have written on genetics for The Conversation and other online news outlets leading to radio interviews (BBC Scotland, Newstalk (Ireland) and 2SER (Australia)). I would not have been so prepared to engage with the media without Scottish Crucible.

The Scottish Crucible has been key in developing my own research network and I continue to recommend the programme to all early career researchers.