SCOTLAND HUB

Hub Director:

Dr Zoe Strachan
Prof Jo Sharp

Research Manager:

Vanessa Duclos
(Intern: Anthony Kadoma & Sundas Mahar)

Steering Group:

Prof Jude Robinson
Dr Brian Barrett
Dr Lisa Bradley
Dr Mia Perry

Affiliate Members:

Prof Dan Haydon
Dr Nader Karimi
Dr Neil Burnside
Mary Ryan
Dr Lizelle Bisschoff
Dr Nai Rui Chng
Dr Neil Munro
Andrew Vincent
Lynne McCorriston
Molly Gilmour
Alasdair Currie
Prof Nicol Keith
Dr Lavinia Hirsu
Dr Queralt Capsada-Munsech
Dr Raihana Ferdous
Dr Marcela Ramos
Prof Manosh Paul

Hub background

The SF Global Network is a University of Glasgow initiative established in 2016 (PI: Dr Mia Perry). With growing participation across academic and non-academic settings in Scotland and the UK, the Scotland hub was formally established in 2019 to better support and develop the role of the Scotland based membership in the international work of the Network.The focus of the redeveloped Hub is across practice, publication and resourcing. They are examining the ways they work and produce, with the aim of writing collaboratively on areas of interdisciplinary research in order to explore questions such as:

  • What creates sustainability and how can we create exchange across geographies?
  • How can experiments in local collective practice inform wider strategies of change?

The hub acknowledges the interconnectedness of Global Challenges (Global North and South, global and local, social and ecological) and focuses on transdisciplinary approaches and international partnerships to address these.

HUB PROJECTS

Although a good deal of research, innovation and policy has been introduced to address deteriorating ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa, most of it has failed to involve the communities most directly impacted.

The CSPE Network brought together environmental and social scientists in community and public pedagogies to address the implementation gap by facilitating innovative cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaborations to address biodiversity loss in engagement with the social, cultural, and economic factors experienced by communities through pilot projects in Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda. This is the seed project that led to the formation of the Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network. The CSPE initiative was led by Dr Mia Perry.

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Building on the CSPE project, this project was led by Dr Mia Perry and aimed to strengthen and sustain the SFA Network. The project ran from August 2018 – June 2019 with funding from SFC-GCRF (University of Glasgow internal competition).

The long-term goal is sustainability through partnerships that support genuine and decolonial collaboration across Northern and Southern partners. To this end the hub strengthened capacity and leadership across regions. A new Africa-based and NGO-affiliated co-director of the network was employed (Dr Deepa Pullanikkatil); the internal capacity of the 5 Hubs increased; and the annual network symposium supported.

Our objectives were to 1) develop the capacity and autonomy of the Hubs and strengthen collaborations (Global North-South links); 2) increase the interaction between academic institutions, NGOs and communities, 3) improve production and uptake of research outcomes 4) grow research capacity across the network and develop joint grant applications.

Through this project led by Dr Mia Perry, a toolkit was developed to help GCRF teams (and international, interdisciplinary research teams more broadly) with the fundamental challenge of international partnerships in research. Drawing on the learning, challenges, and examples of best practice from the SFA Network, the project brought together a small but diverse group of researchers to produce a practical but critical guide to collaborative partnerships in development-related research.

The toolkit, titled “Critical Resource for Ethical and International Partnerships” was produced at a writing workshop to facilitate dedicated time to share experiences and ensure a cohesive and timely output. Together, members worked on a theoretically grounded resource with a focus on practice, using exemplar case-studies to contextualise the terrain. It is an open-access document made available to research and development workers in international interdisciplinary partnerships.

You can access the Critical Resource for Ethical International Partnerships here.

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With funding from SFC-GCRF (University of Glasgow internal competition), this project led by Dr Brian Barrett and which ran in 2019-2021 responded to the current needs of the network with three primary objectives: 1. Continual decrease of non-project-based infrastructure funding and the increase of diverse funding sources; 2. Strengthening of the UofG and Scotland-led research projects; 3. Formalising and developing the graduate student and ECR association of the SFA Network.

This funding provided capacity strengthening opportunities to members in terms of communication, research project design and grant writing. The five hubs submitted a total of 22 grant applications (£6,870,000*) from which nine have been approved for funding (£604,000). It also allowed the formation of a new Hub in Eswatini, led by Dr Sizwe Mabaso (University of Eswatini). Thanks to this project, three members of the SFA Network secured studentships for postgraduate studies at the University of Glasgow (Anthony Kadoma, Stewart Paul, Reagan Kandole). Lastly, the SFA Network was joined by the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany).

Despite good intentions, research teams can be seen by communities as knowledge extractors with tokenistic and perfunctory approaches

This initiative, led by Dr Mia Perry, was a bottom-up approach that sought to challenge and respond to the too common top-down research agendas. To bridge the gap between research teams and communities, our main planned activity were to build capacities through the development and distribution of a resource about community engagement in international – development led contexts for researchers and development workers in LMIC countries, as well as UK partners involved in the research teams. This meant to be achieved by co-designing and carrying out a workshop with the Malawian hub of the Sustainable Futures in Africa network and the local communities in Malawi. However, COVID-19 prevented the team to meet as planned, and the project had to be postponed – See SFA Network Support 2020-2021 for more information.

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This project, led by Dr Neil Burnside, brought together partners from Scotland, Nigeria and Colombia to explore collaborations and knowledge exchange on the topic of illegal artisanal mining . It was funded by SFC-GCRF (University of Glasgow internal competition).

Illegal mining activity is thriving in Osun and Oyo States of Nigeria. Crude manual extraction methods are being employed by non-natives and foreigners. Their activities are having serious consequences for local communities and the environment with frightening security dimensions. The project meeting facilitated knowledge exchange with researchers working in Chocó, Colombia in an effort to avoid the scale of illegal mining there which has resulted in catastrophic socio-environmental impacts

This project titled “Development of sustainable clean cooking facilities to boost resilience to climate change in Malawi” – ran from December 2019 to March 2021 and was led by Dr Nader Karimi and Prof Manosh Paul. It brought together partners from Malawi and Scotland and was funded by the Climate Justice Innovation Fund Grants Programme.

Currently, nearly the whole population of Malawi use firewood/charcoal for cooking and climate change is turning more Malawian fishermen and agriculturalists to charcoal producers. This has resulted in rapid deforestation further damage to agricultural activities and, ultimately intensifying poverty. A solution is sought through utilising agricultural and municipal wastes to produce bio-fuels which are then burned in a novel gas cooker. The key objectives were:

1- To deliver a sustainable biofuel production (biogas and biosyngas) and utilization unit for clean and efficient cooking;

2- To manufacture and maintain the bioenergy kit in Malawi and attract attention from local business.

You can watch the project documentary here, and access more information about the project in these post:

Participatory Futures is a GCRF “Challenge Cluster” funded project, directly addressing the challenge of the Sustainable Development Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). The team, led by Mia, sought to re-examine 5 International Development related research projects to evaluate the way partnerships have been conceptualised and practiced across diverse research contexts. The project provided a unique opportunity to stand back from an individual project to look at practices and processes that are common to a body of work and allowed the research team to innovate from them. Outputs are still being developed (academic articles & partnership framework) but the Impact Ambassadors team within the project have co-created the Critical Resource for Understanding Impact for Participatory International Research.

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Whose Crisis? mobilised the rapidly evolving COVID-19 expertise within the network, and the capacity of partner communities, to create the COVID-19 Global Voices Hub, that curates, consolidates, acknowledges and catalyses experiences, perspectives and responses to the pandemic of our partner communities across Uganda, Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria and Eswatini. This year-long project, funded by the UKRI AHRC was led by Mia Perry. The project has created an evidence base, a platform, and pathways for understanding and exchange for societal, health, economic, government and public stakeholders, to inform responsive action.

The research data set and the first academic article of the project have been published in the Journal of Open Humanities Data in their special collection of Humanities Data in the time of COVID-19. The article is openly accessible to all here.

The research team is currently working on a range of outputs including a documentary, policy-briefs, community forums, blogs, newspaper and academic articles. Keep watching this space!

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Kitchen Life (KL) is a pilot study, co-led by Dr Lisa Bradley & Dr Raihana Ferdous, which explores sustainable energy access in Bangladesh and Malawi, through everyday kitchen practices. The majority of research on sustainable energy access focuses on top-down solutions addressing technological and financial barriers, with little attention given to the cultural practices and norms of intended users. In response, KL designed and tested a mixed-methods tool kit aimed at capturing the people and things at the heart of kitchen practices. The project was funded by the University of Glasgow GCRF Small Grants scheme.

We are delighted to share the news of a new project, funded by the British Academy, led by Dr Zoë Strachan (Scotland Hub), aimed at supporting early career network members, particularly those positioned in the Arts and Social Sciences, to develop their work for international publication and research funding. This is a year-long project consisting of a series of writing workshops and a mentorship network and will culminate in an exciting range of publications and related media. For details about the program and the writers’ profiles and follow their journey, click here.

These projects were funded by the SFC-GCRF (University of Glasgow internal competition) and was led by Dr Brian Barrett and Dr Mia Perry.

The Sustainable Futures in Africa Network, by extending its research partnerships to non-African countries, has evolved into the Sustainable Futures Global Network. This transition fostered new research collaborations between the Scotland and African hubs and researchers and practitioners from Colombia, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Canada, Bangladesh, India and Germany. Through the strengthening  of hub digital capacities (resources and skills), the network hosted its first digital annual symposium. While some teams met in-person where COVID-19 restrictions allowed, most of the network met on a newly developed symposium platform (SF-EdGE). This digital event not only allowed the network members to engage in their usual annual symposium activities, but also to experiment new ways of engaging meaningfully with local communities. This symposium format also increased the visibility of the network’s outputs and impact by providing the space for public events and events organised for high-profile individuals and organisations from each of the research hub countries.

HUB MEMBERS