Ahead of roadshows for their next themed call on ‘Scotland 2030’, we invited programme manager of SUII (Scottish Universities Insight Institute), Nicola Duncan to give us the lowdown on the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. 

SUII – what is it?

The Scottish Universities Insight Institute, or SUII as it’s known, was set up in 2012 to encourage collaboration between Scotland’s research community and broader society, with the aim of addressing and informing substantial issues that face Scotland and the wider world.

Operating as a partnership of 7 Scottish universities, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow School of Art, Heriot-Watt, Stirling, Strathclyde and St Andrews, the programmes of knowledge exchange are supported by the SUII team: Director, Charlie Woods; programme manager, Nicola Duncan; and events coordinator, Lynne Costello.

Over the last 5 years SUII have supported over 50 programmes on a wide range of topics. Programmes vary in format and in the kind of outcomes they produce – but central to them all is the idea of collaboration between academic and non-academic partners; sharing and developing knowledge to generate fresh insights for policy and practice.

Getting involved

Teams of academics from SUII member institutions, in collaboration with policy and practice partners, can apply for funding to run a programme through our bi-annual calls for proposals. SUII normally run an ‘open’ call in the Spring, and a second call in the Autumn which is focused around a broad theme. Previous themes have included ‘well being’, ‘innovation’ and ‘equality’. Full details including deadline dates, applications forms and guidance will be made available on our website

The current SUII call focuses on the theme of Scotland 2030 and is intended to compliment and support Scotland’s Futures Forum’s current major programme of work.

SUII are holding an information session at Stirling on 7th September to present full details of the programme and discuss any potential project ideas. We hope to see you there!


A spotlight on some Stirling led programmes

As a member University, Stirling are eligible to be partners on SUII bids and have themselves led on a number of interesting and exciting programmes of Knowledge Exchange, each with different approaches to innovative methods. A few examples include:

Memory Friendly Neighbourhoods: An interdisciplinary collaboration between research centres at the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh, the programme worked co-creatively with policy, practice and not-for-profit partners, international experts and people with lived experience of dementia to exploring the concept of ‘dementia-friendly communities’. A key output from the programme was an online networking resource, which now includes over 100 members from the UK and internationally who share an interest in memory friendly neighbourhoods.

The Memory Friendly Neighbourhoods team has recently completed a follow up project MFN II – the Virtual Neighbourhood, which directly addresses the knowledge gaps identified around digital exclusion and dementia.

Problems and Solutions in Food Security explored the food security agenda, with consideration for Scotland’s role in global food security.  The team employed a range of creative methods to document and share findings including graphic illustrations (employing a graphic illustrator to represent and capture their discussions in colourful illustrations like the one above) and a blog for the Global Food Security Project.

Find out more about Rachel Norman’s SUII project in her blog post on the RIS blog

The UN Convention on Rights of the Child in Scotland, which with Andressa Gadda saw a programme team working closely with Together Scotland to explore how can academia and civil society can work in partnership to create a new model of UNCRC implementation.  The team produced a series of videos summarising the learning from their 4 events.

Impact on public policy and practice

Individually, SUII programmes provide a useful collection of project resources: various outputs are available via the SUII website, including presentations, videos and short films, briefing papers and project reports. In addition, project teams and participants hold a wealth of other experiential learning and critical insights from their involvement in SUII knowledge exchange events and activities. Our recent report ‘Making a Difference’ gathered feedback from programme participants to better understand the impact that SUII-type knowledge exchange activities have on policy and practice in Scotland, and to help inform the future design and delivery of SUII projects.

The ‘Making a Difference’ report forms the basis of an evolving online resource aimed at ensuring SUII-funded projects can better support and influence the research impact agenda, as well as make a difference to policy and practice.

If you can’t join us on 7th Sept or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the usual channels:

www.scottishinsight.ac.uk I info@scottishinsight.ac.uk I @scotinsight