Convenor’s update

Professor Catriona Matheson

We are now well into the second year of the Drugs Research Network Scotland and the network is going from strength to strength.

In our first year we focussed on establishing the network and delivering various knowledge exchange events including our very successful inaugural annual conference in November 2018 and seminars on Drug-Related Deaths (DRD) among Women and
what Scotland can learn from Canadian responses to DRD.

Now into our second year we are developing and submitting a number of collaborative grant applications across our four research themes. Broadly – and without giving away anything too sensitive – these include projects to understand and address: DRD, care of older people who use drugs, models and outcomes of treatment, suicide prevention and issues for affected families. These have been enhanced by robust and meaningful involvement of people with lived / living experience of drug use. We have engaged with colleagues from across Scotland, the rest of the UK, and internationally.

Preparing strong grant applications is time consuming and lead researchers have told us that the support of the core DRNS team has greatly facilitated development of bids in line with tight funding deadlines. We will keep you informed of successful applications as we hear back from funders.

We are keen to support the development of new, collaborative research projects and can assist researchers by identifying appropriate funding sources and national/international partners for strong collaborations. If you have project ideas that you want to discuss please contact us – we will discuss with the relevant academic Theme Lead and reply to you.

Preparatory work is essential to making a case for a grant application. Testing innovations initially on a small, local scale can be very helpful so if you have developed and tested a new approach, and have some evaluation data to support it, then it might be good to consider further, larger scale research through a funded trial. Again, please contact us to discuss further.

Now the revised Scottish drug and alcohol Strategy (Rights, Respect and Recovery: RRR) has been published we can all move forward in developing projects that fit within this framework. The DRNS will review the national drugs research strategy in line with RRR over the next few months and will be consulting the network membership.

Plans are underway for our second DRNS conference, a one-day event on 25th November. As our first conference was oversubscribed we are arranging a larger venue and expanded programme. As well as some great plenary speakers and workshops there will be an opportunity for researchers to present recent and emerging work. More details to follow very soon.

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