Research into the impact of the use of drugs on people and society in Scotland is set to benefit from a ground-breaking collaboration between 11 universities and experts from at least six regional NHS Boards.
Funded by a £240,000 investment from the Scottish Government which will be administered by the Scottish Funding Council, The Drug Research Network Scotland (DRNS) aims to inform public policy, improve practice and reduce the harms associated with problem drug use. The Network will look beyond individual disciplines and bring together the knowledge, skills and capabilities of different areas of research to accelerate efforts to reduce the harms associated with problem drug use.
Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “Following the publication of our national research framework for problem drug use and recovery in 2015, a significant amount of work has gone into the scoping and development of this collaboration. I am delighted that we are now in a position where this network has been established and its funding has been confirmed.
“Scotland has a strong track record in terms of substance use research, and this new investment will allow academic and third sector organisations to work together to build capacity, maximise research investment and deliver robust and high quality research evidence that will aid in the development of future policy.”
David Liddell, Scottish Drugs Forum CEO, said: “We are delighted to see the Drug Research Network Scotland being taken forward as SDF has played an active role in supporting the development of the initiative. We are particularly keen to see the project assist in ensuring that findings from research on drug use and related issues positively impacts on frontline practice.”
Catriona Matheson, Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling and a Trustee of The Society for the Study of Addiction, said: “We are really delighted to have secured this funding. There is a genuine spirit of collaboration across the country. By working together we hope to secure bigger grants that will have a real, beneficial impact on the lives of those affected by problematic drug use”.
John Kemp, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “This is an important investment and an exciting area of multi-disciplinary research. The Drug Research Network Scotland has the potential to accelerate research that will help people struggling with problem drug use – and also help the people around them. I hope it will also help to unleash their potential to benefit from education and to contribute to society.”
As well as facilitating collaboration within Scottish universities and NHS Scotland, DRNS will also develop links with leading researchers elsewhere in the UK and in other countries.
Applications are being sought for the role of Research Co-ordinator at the DRNS, based in Stirling University, with the closing date for this post at midnight on Wednesday 20th September 2017.
The Co-ordinator will scope, develop and facilitate collaborative working in research funding applications across this new Network. The role involves wide interaction with colleagues across the Network and its respective collaborating partners to deliver the DRNS goals, will have a visible presence within the drugs research community and act as an important conduit/point of contact between researchers, the wider research environment, and statutory and third sector organisations in the addictions field.