Community Engagement Grants
The Life Sciences Initiative have two funding opportunities to engage with the local community surrounding QMUL, and which links to the aims and objectives of the Life Sciences Initiative (LSI).
The Community Engagement Project Grants are for staff and students to work with the local community surrounding QMUL with a focus on improving health and well-being. The four pilot projects that have successfully gained funding demonstrate mutually collaborative partnerships with community groups and individuals, and work towards an identified health need in the local community. They are:
- Opening young minds to health and well-being with bioengineering - Dr Tina Chowdhury (Institute of Bioengineering)
Children will be set real-life problems to design bioengineering solutions relating to the effects of exercise, diet and extreme environment on joint health. By working with researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering, children will investigate how too much or too little exercise affects cartilage (squashy), tendon (stretchy) and bone (hard) tissues and what foods are good or bad for bone health (calcium). We will consider how extreme environments such as space have a detrimental impact on tissue health by working with Venture Thinking and the European Space Agency (ESA).
- Teach Tech Law: eHeath - Patrick Cahill (School of Law)
Postgraduate law students from the Centre for Commercial Law Studies will provide classes to St Paul’s Way Trust School pupils in Tower Hamlets, East London, with staff and students from the LSI. The students will provide classes to pupils on law and entrepreneurship, focusing on eHealth.
Classes will centre on pupils developing business ideas that relate to digital health. These business ideas will then be used as case studies over five classes for students to design and facilitate workshops which will explore associated legal issues, with students at the end of the programme pitching their ideas to a panel of experts.
- School asthma project video - Katherine Harris (Blizard Institute)
The school-based asthma project (SAP), based at QMUL, measured current asthma control using the Asthma Control Test (ACT) in secondary school students in London, and investigated how sub-optimal control affects quality of life. Through visiting 24 schools and recruiting 766 participants, the research team found that 45.7% of participants had sub-optimal asthma control; 25.6% of participants did not take their blue inhaler when they needed it, at least some of the time, and 54.1% forgot to take their preventer inhaler, at least some of the time. One of the reasons given for this was that they felt uncomfortable using their medication in front of their peers. Others said that they felt it looked like an excuse not to participate in PE.
Following the collection of these data, the SAP research team will work in partnership with Greenwich Lewisham Young People’s Theatre to develop a short film, which will be used to raise awareness of asthma in schools and the wider community.
- ‘Authentic Biology’ community engagement: diabetes video - Dr Rosemary Clyne (School of Biological and Chemical Sciences)
St Paul’s Way Trust School biology staff and pupils are working with academic researchers from QMUL and medical professionals from St Paul’s Way Medical Centre on a DNA analysis of genetic markers for diabetes, a project topic chosen by the pupils as part of the “Authentic Biology” collaborative project supported by the Wellcome Trust. Diabetes is a condition which is highly prevalent in the Bangladeshi community; however, knowledge and understanding about it remains fairly minimal amongst many.
A video will be produced as a tool to educate the local community at community events about the importance of pursuing a healthy lifestyle in both control and prevention of diabetes. Students from the school will explain diabetes and its risks, describe current biomedical research being undertaken and how affected individuals can take action to help themselves.
The grant is for academics, support staff and PHD students to develop existing relationships or to create new connections with local communities in East London through community groups, non-profit making organisations, charities and interested individuals.
Applications of up to £500 are invited to explore ways of connecting with and engaging the local community with the aims of the LSI – from research engagement to outreach.
Activities can be wide-ranging from holding conversations and focus groups, to running an activity or event within the community, to creating new opportunities for community engagement in existing projects or research.
Funding Deadline: 15th of each month until April 2016