Money, Debt and Public Health

Highlighting our Scottish research during Tartan Week at GCNYC.  Researchers from the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health discussed how banking can be a force for good in an event to promote a US-UK collaborative research initiative, entitled Money, Debt and Public Health with Professor Cam Donaldson, Professor Pamela Gillies and Dr Olga Biosca along with Jonathan Morduch from New York University.

Join us for our annual celebration of research

The politican in charge of Scotland’s finances will outline the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals at GCU’s annual research celebration in May.

Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, will be the keynote speaker at the event, to be held in the University’s Hamish Wood building on Friday, May 31.

He will be joined by Dr Ruth Hussey CB OBE, former Chief Medical Officer for Wales, and Shane McHugh, Head of International Partnerships at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

GCU’s research strategy is underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals, issued by United Nations in 2015 and developed in order to “end poverty, ensure prosperity for all and protect the planet”. Through our own research, GCU addresses the Sustainable Development Goals via three societal challenges of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments.

This work will be exhibited throughout the day via various workshops and activities, rounded off by GCU’s annual Three-Minute Thesis competition. Workshops include Solving water issues in NigeriaElectrical stimulation to promote health in adults, and much, much more.

This one-day event also gives you the opportunity to meet our research community; get to know our PhD students, research associates and post-doctoral researchers. They will share with you the innovations and explorations that have the potential to make a positive impact in the world.

Then, on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, the community element of our annual research celebrations takes place as we host our Citizen Science Days with partners in the north of the city as part of the Glasgow Science Festival.

Last year’s event was a great success with over 200 people attending. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took part in an experiment to measure the speed of a cricket ball at our Meet the Researcher event, held in the Gorbals. This offered school pupils the chance to meet university researchers, and learn about science and further university-community links in pursuit of the SDGs, which apply to all countries of the world and are in place until 2030.

Details on how to sign up for workshops and other events can be found here. It is not essential to sign up for the entire day.

Glasgow and London team up for research project

A new research project is under way at GCU London, investigating the financial lives of people with long-term health conditions and low incomes.

Led by Dr Olga Biosca, working with Profs Rachel Baker, Cam Donaldson and Antony Morgan and Dr Neil McHugh, the project is funded by Guys and St Thomas’ Charity for one year.

The aim of the project is to establish whether there is a link between people’s financial lives (including the use of microcredit initiatives) and their health (focusing on co-morbidities), and the mechanisms that facilitate this association.  This builds on a previous study in Glasgow, “Finwell“, funded by the Chief Scientist Office and completed in 2017.

Three new researchers have been appointed at GCU London:  Dr Ahalya Bala, Dr Greg White and Marta Mojarrieta.  They will generate quantitative and qualitative data using financial diaries, qualitative interviews and Q methodology.

Director of the Yunus Centre, Professor Rachel Baker, said: “This is an exciting and important project and builds on previous work in Glasgow. These are fantastic appointments through which we can strengthen existing research links between the Yunus Centre in Glasgow and GCU London.”

Professor Antony Morgan, Dean of GCU London, said: “This is a great opportunity for GCU London to demonstrate its collaboration with colleagues in Glasgow.  For me, it’s more than the Finwell researchers occupying a space in London, highlighting the possibilities that can arise through good partnership working to deliver common University goals. I hope we can grow such opportunities through collaborative with other parts of the University.”

GCNYC celebrates Tartan Week

Glasgow Caledonian New York College is hosting a series of Tartan Week events during April.

Researchers from the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health will discuss how banking can be a force for good in an event to promote a US-UK collaborative research initiative, entitled Money, Debt and Public Health; and the Centre for Climate Justice will outline how climate change is increasingly one of the biggest factors affecting health and wellbeing in urban areas, in a special Townhall Event.

The campus will also host a brand new exhibition by the award-winning Scottish artist Ethel Walker, whose paintings are inspired by landscapes on the west coast of Scotland.

For more information about the events, visit the Alumni & Friends section of the website.

Prof Michael Roy offered Fellowship at Princeton

A Professor from GCU has been offered a prestigious Fellowship from a research institute based at Princeton University.

Professor Michael Roy, who holds a joint appointment at the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health and Glasgow School for Business and Society, will spend a semester at The Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI), in New Jersey, from January 2020.

CTI’s model, based on the world-famous Institute for Advanced Study, brings together academics from around the world to provoke dialogue between the humanities and social sciences on issues of global concern.

During his time in the US, Professor Roy plans to build upon his previous work, and that of colleagues, on the role that social enterprises play in tackling poverty and inequality.

Professor Roy will work on his research project entitled Economic Organising for the Common Good? Karl Polanyi, Catholic Social Thought and the Grand Challenge of Economic Inequality, at CTI.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded this Fellowship.

“The process was really involved and competitive. The proposal I submitted is designed to draw upon the theoretical and philosophical thinking for which scholarship at CTI is globally renowned.

“I’m keen to use this amazing opportunity to use this to advance understanding of practical, community-oriented responses to economic inequality, and of the policy frameworks that need to be in place to effectively support such activities.”

Professor Cam Donaldson, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Vice-Principal (Research), said: “The award of this Fellowship from an Ivy League university is a great honour and represents the stature now attributed to Michael’s work, as well as recognising the international reputation of our Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health.

“Michael’s work on the social economy is a model of the research contribution of Glasgow School for Business and Society to our Common Good mission. Working with colleagues at Princeton will also further establish Glasgow Caledonian’s base in the US HEI landscape.”

Last year, Professor Roy won the coveted Helen Potter Award from the Association for Social Economics, also based in the United States, for his social enterprise research.

The annual prize recognises outstanding work that challenges mainstream economic thinking. It is presented to the author of the best article in the academic journal Review of Social Economy.

CommonHealth Research on Impact of Rural Social Enterprises on Social Isolation and Loneliness

Dr Danielle Kelly has had an article published in the Journal of Rural Studies titled ‘Filling a void? The role of social enterprise in addressing social isolation and loneliness in rural communities’.  To view the article, please click on the link below:

Researchers celebrate landmark social enterprise research

Researchers have marked the completion of one of the largest ever research programmes on social enterprise with a celebration event at Glasgow Caledonian University.

CommonHealth was a collaborative five-year study, led by GCU, aimed at addressing health inequalities and establishing new ways to help vulnerable communities across Scotland.

The programme, funded by the Medical Research Council and the Economic & Social Research Council, was made up of eight research projects delivered in partnership with over 30 social enterprises across Scotland and academics from Stirling, Glasgow, Highlands and Islands and Robert Gordon Universities. Glasgow Centre for Population Health was also a research partner and the programme received endorsement from Social Enterprise Scotland the ScotSEN (Scottish Social Enterprise Networks).

Subjects included the history of social enterprise in Scotland since the 1970s, how social enterprises operate at a local level, and the health and wellbeing effects of rural social enterprise activity in the Highlands and Islands.

Academics also looked at how skills development and training helps build confidence in hard-to-reach groups, what impact social enterprise had on participants aged 50 and over, how information and data can be used to improve service levels, and how social enterprises operating in the housing sector can have a significant positive impact on tenants.

The outcomes stressed the need for organisations to balance their successful relationships with local and national government with community links, and for there to be a better understanding of the impact of small, but transformative actions.

This week GCU hosted an exhibition of project findings and a presentation from Professor Cam Donaldson, the programme’s principal investigator, to celebrate the end of the project.

Social enterprise and public health experts including Leona McDermid, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Foyer, Aidan Pia, CEO of ScotSEN, and Carol Tannahill, Chief Social Policy Advisor to the Scottish Government, also delivered speeches.

Professor Donaldson, GCU’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, said: “We have pulled off one the largest ever research programmes on social enterprise and managed to conceptualise and evidence a new idea for public policy; that any social enterprise, even without mentioning health in its mission, can be portrayed as acting on social determinants of health.

“This is because the various contexts in which social enterprises operate almost always involve addressing some aspect of social vulnerability that will likely be associated with health.

“As well as completing and publishing the results of our projects, CommonHealth has produced a cadre of talented researchers across Scotland, which is much needed for this important area of social and economic activity in which Scotland leads the way. ”

Figures show there are now more than 5000 social enterprises operating in Scotland, with 64 per cent being led by women.

GCU is to host a national archive capturing Scotland’s social enterprise story after securing £90,000 of government funding.

Scotland’s Social Enterprise Collection will be open to all members of the public and will chronicle the history of the thriving sector. Alongside it, the papers and other outputs from CommonHealth will be archived, so making the work of the research permanently available to public audiences.

For more information on the project, please visit