Institute for Social Sciences Research (ISSR) newsletter - August 14 2020

Published on 14 August 2020

Our ISSR newsletter from August 14 2020, including items on ISSR engagement, research, impact, and our Graduate community

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Sunny days….long may they continue! I had the pleasure of a few days staycation, and my first time away from the ‘DEE’ since lockdown began. Biggar and Peebles - really lovely and welcoming places to visit. Coupled with wonderful weather and fabulous views, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I hope you all manage to sneak away for a staycation.

Sending happy positive thoughts and I hope you all enjoy the weekend.

We want to hear from you

The Institute for Social Science Research is planning to hold a series of events over the next few months and are looking for staff who would like to take part.

In September an event will be arranged to showcase research concerning COVID-19 in a series of short 5 minute presentations followed by discussion.

"The pandemic: Where are we now?”

The current pandemic presents an interdisciplinary research challenge. In April, ISSR hosted a rapid reaction seminar to exchange ideas on the implications between its co-directors and the university community. This second seminar will take stock of ongoing research initiatives, and explore potential of cooperation for researchers across ISSR’s constitutive schools.

If you have a COVID-19 project or project idea you would like to share, please contact ISSR. If you would like to explore in more detail email

The panel will be held sometime in the week of 22 – 25 September, date to be confirmed.

Date For The Diary - Wednesday 21 October 2-4 PM

ISSR will hold a ‘Lightning Talks Forum’ as a welcome for new staff across our 4 participating Schools.

If you have joined our Schools since July 2019 and would like to talk briefly about your research, please contact ISSR. If you wish to discuss in more detail, contact Judith Sixsmith.

Funding awarded

Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce funds Psychology research into reducing the risk of drug overdose.

Congratulations to Psychology PhD candidate Amy Malaguti and Professor Fabio Sani have secured funding from the Scottish Government for a research project.

Dr Pam Ramsay, a researcher in the School of Health Sciences, has been awarded funding from King’s Health Partners

To date, over 15,000 people have been admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the UK due to COVID-19. Survival is associated with long-term physical and psychosocial sequelae, and interventions to support post-hospital recovery are urgently required.

The funding will help to develop a COVID-specific version of an existing, widely used website that aims to support recovery among ICU survivors and their family members. The original website was developed based on over 10 years’ qualitative research with ICU survivors in NHS Lothian and was co-designed with them. It includes information and advice on the common physical, psychological, social and economic sequelae of critical illness, and signposts relevant online and community support. It includes patient narratives, access to a national patient forum, webcasts from patients and clinicians on key issues, and can be translated into over 100 languages.

The COVID-specific website has been carefully adapted in collaboration with frontline clinicians across multiple disciplines, and with reference to emerging professional recommendations for post-COVID follow-up and rehabilitation. Work is underway to integrate the website into community-based rehabilitation services, in alignment with the Scottish Government’s COVID recovery and rehabilitation framework.

Dundee scholar leads legal research in 5 million Euro drones project

Jacques Hartmann, Law in the School of Social Sciences is leading the legal research in a three-year interdisciplinary project on autonomous drones ‘Risk Aware Port Inspection Drones’ (RAPID), funded under the European Union Horizon 2020 programme. RAPID combines world-leading expertise in technology development, maritime logistics, strategic communications, business development, and legal research.

The aim of the project is to develop both the technology and the law on autonomous drones. Currently, there are no comprehensive harmonized regulations for autonomous drones. However various international organisations and national aviation agencies are working on new standards. In his role as co-investigator, Jacques’ work package in RAPID is aimed to influence the development and consolidation of new maritime and aviation standards for safe drone operations. The project, which includes partners from six European countries, started on 1 June 2020.

Information on the project can be found on the CORDIS website.

Research and Impact

Major new study published in Science Magazine co-led by Prof Mark Cutler, Geography and Environmental Sciences

'New research demonstrates reforestation benefits'

Actively restored tropical forests recover above ground biomass faster than areas left to regenerate naturally after being logged, according to new research led by the Universities of Dundee and Aberdeen and ETH Zürich.

Read more about this new research in our article. The paper itself can be found at

Can co-production and co-creation support the delivery of health and social care integration?

A recent report funded and published by SISCC based in the School of Health Sciences, has helped to shed some light on the challenges and opportunities for co-production and co-creation to support the integration of health and social care.

In Scotland, 31 health and social care partnerships have been created, to facilitate joint planning and working between NHS boards and local authorities - to improve care and service delivery. Woven throughout the policy narratives supporting this legislation is the concepts of working with citizens to co-produce and co-create integrated services. However, little is known about how co-creation and co-production is understood, implemented, and sustained within health and social care.

The study led by Professor John Connolly (University of West of Scotland), explores the current evidence and provides a useful summary of the literature and policy-narratives, which contextualises and compliments the lived experiences captured from those tasked with leading and supporting integration, reflecting local and national practices.

The report provides a rich account of different views from across the system and explores the opportunities to enhance the impact of co-production and co-creation to support integration. It also acknowledges and highlights a number of system-based challenges that if not addressed, will hinder efforts and limit the benefits gained from co-producing services and care. The report itself can be found on the SISCC website.

The Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC) is a cross-sectoral collaboration designed to bridge the gap between academic and health and social care practitioners, to explore how we can enhance the evidence-base for large scale sustainable change. The programme has four key research themes: Informatics for Improvement, Knowledge-into-Action, Large-scale Sustainable Change and Mechanisms of Improvement.

Publishing news

'American First and the Human Rights Regime'

Professor Kurt Mills, Politics and International Relations in the School of Social Sciences recently had a paper accepted for publication by the Journal of Human Rights. It is co-authored by Rodger Payne from the University of Louisville who was an ISSR visiting global scholar in spring 2019. The article is a direct result of his visit and our resulting collaboration. The article examines the potential threat President Trump’s America First policy poses to the international human rights regime. The article itself can be seen on the Taylor & Francis Online website.

In conjunction with this article, he has published a policy piece on open Democracy which examines the US State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights as an attempt to narrow modern conceptions of human rights and support the America First sovereigntist agenda.

'Why Ethical Behaviour is Good for the Economy: Towards Growth, Wellbeing and Freedom'

Professor Morris Altman, Dean, School of Business has recently published.

This timely book offers a nuanced critique of the nudge narrative, and demonstrates why and how ethical behaviour can have significant positive economic and wellbeing outcomes. Morris Altman models a complex alternative to the expectations of ethical behaviour and shows how this behaviour can be consistent with competitive market economies, contrary to what conventional economic theory suggests.

The book itself is available on Amazon.

Dundee researcher featured in international news on the ‘defund the police’ protests

Dr Megan O'Neill, Geography and Environmental Sciences, was interviewed by several international news organisations, including the Washington Post, for comment on the ‘defund the police’ protests, happening in the US and across the UK over the summer. Reporters wanted to know what it meant to ‘defund’ the police and how these issues were being addressed in other countries. Megan stressed that while the US has very particular challenges when it comes to policing, there are some areas where learning can be taken from other systems. She highlighted the example of Scotland where policing and other public sector organisations are building more integrated working relationships and Finland with its ‘Housing First’ policy for problem drug users. The three pieces which were published are here:

Graduate community

The Graduate Community of Social and Health Sciences co-ordinates research skills training, supports student networking, and facilitates access to the national Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (which provides training and other opportunities). The ISSR Graduate Community works in partnership with the University of Dundee's newly launched Doctoral Academy to support PGR students.

In June the Graduate Community hosted three training and networking sessions for PGRs in the four Schools - topics included online methods and ethics. The sessions were well attended, and were a real success. There will be another set of three sessions in September - more details soon. If there is a topic you would like to be discussed in one of these sessions, please contact Ed Hall.

Date for the diary - 18 November 2-4 PM

ISSR is holding a 'lightning talks' event for PGRs who have commenced their studies at Dundee since July 2019. It will take place on Wednesday 18th November, 2-4pm.

If you would like to do a 5 min lightning talk on your doctoral research please email ISSR and if you would like to explore this in more detail please contact Ed Hall.

COVID 19 and its impact in Bolivia: Children and Access to Education

The Latin American Society (LAS) at the University of Dundee and Aldeas Infantiles SOS Bolivia are pleased to announce this event will take place on Monday 17 August 5-6pm.

Congrats to all our recent graduands!

Here is a success story from Theresia Betty Sumarno, CEPMLP candidate.

ISSR engagement

Get involved

If you would like to circulate any information around research you are involved with or events you have held for inclusion in the Institute for Social Science Research newsletter, please send a short description (100-250 words not incl images and links) to ISSR. This is a good way to make your research more widely visible across the University. The newsletter goes live weekly on a Friday so content please by 4pm on any Thursday.

Don't forget to join the ISSR community through Teams to access updates on research related activities. Simply click on 'create or join team' and enter the code e2wv1jf. I can help support, facilitate and arrange online events. Please contact Donna on Teams for a chat and find out how ISSR can support you.

If you know anyone who would like to receive information please ask them to contact ISSR to be added to the distribution list.


Donna Hendry

Research and Knowledge Exchange Officer

+44 (0)1382 388173
Story category Public interest