Festival of Research 2021

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Monday 24 May – Friday 28 May 2021

Professor Iain Docherty (Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies) and Professor Rachel Norman, (Dean of Research Engagement and Performance), co-convenors of Festival of Research 2021, are delighted to announce plans for this year’s virtual Festival of Research, which will consist of a series of events taking place from Monday 24 May – Friday 28 May.

Festival of Research is an annual series of events committed to stimulating discussion around topics of interest to the researcher community and a platform for researchers to learn more about the diverse nature of research across our own University?and?beyond.?

The focus this year will be on Research in [post] Covid Times to discuss and consider Covid-specific research, as well as the impact which Covid has had on all research activity; discover how colleagues at Stirling and their collaborators have contributed to our understanding of the Covid crisis and managed their research despite the pandemic. Festival 2021 will be an opportunity to reflect on what we have learnt during this unprecedented year and how research may change moving forward.


We are excited to welcome guest speakers Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Professor of Public Health, University of Edinburgh and Professor Colin Talbot, Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester for the opening Festival of Research session on Monday 24 May 2pm-3.30pm. The session, chaired by Prof Iain Docherty, will reflect on the key role of expert academic voices in public and policy debate, and the profile of research and engagement with the researcher community emerging from the pandemic.

Festival of Research 2021 will conclude with a panel session on Friday 28 May 10am- 11.30 am led by Professor Judith Phillips, Deputy Principal (Research) and Professor Neville Wylie, Deputy Principal (Internationalisation) to explore the challenges and opportunities as the University of Stirling and the wider community recovers from Covid-19.

Research Culture Awards Ceremony 2021

Following the success of the inaugural Research Awards last year, the Festival of Research 2021 programme will once again include the Research Culture Awards Ceremony, which will be co-hosted this year by Professor Rachel Norman (Dean for Research Engagement and Performance) and Dr Eddie Duncan (Chair of Research Environment Group and Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport) on Friday 28 May 2pm-3.30pm.

Research Culture Awards are an opportunity to value those traits which are not captured by traditional metrics and to recognise people and groups who positively contribute to a vibrant and collaborative research culture here at Stirling. At such challenging times, we are keen to hear from you and celebrate those who make a difference. 

We are relying on colleagues to nominate one another in the following 7 categories:

  • Best Research Leadership
  • Best Collaborator
  • Best Support from Professional Services
  • Best Mentor
  • Best Early Career Researcher
  • Best activity which enhances Research Culture
  • Best research activity which promotes equality, diversity and inclusion

Research Culture Awards nominations can be made here via an online form until Thursday 22 April 2021.

Like with Rate awards, all nominees will receive the feedback from their nominations so please use this opportunity to let a colleague know how much you value them and why. All nominees in each category will be invited to the Research Awards Ceremony as part of the Festival of Research 2021 programme where we will celebrate the fantastic work that they are doing. All are welcome to join us for this celebration.

Further details

Updates on Festival plans and how you can register will be released shortly.

Programme and registration

Please contact ias@stir.ac.uk if you have any questions about the Festival of Research.

Monday 24 May 2021

14:00 - 15:30 BST

Opening Session

Guest speakers Prof Linda Bauld (Bruce and John Usher Chair of Public Health at the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh) and Prof Colin Talbot (Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester) will join us to reflect on the key role of expert academic voices in public and policy debate and the profile of research and engagement with the researcher community emerging from the pandemic. The session will be chaired by Prof Iain Docherty, Dean of Institute for Advanced Studies.

Register for this session.

Platform: MS Teams

Tuesday 25 May 2021

14:00 - 15:30 BST

Covid Research

Colleagues from across the five Faculties will join us to explore the Covid related research the University and partners been engaged. There will be 5 short presentations, followed by Q&A.
The session will be chaired by Dr Peter Mathews, Deputy Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Social Sciences.

  • Dr Alenka Jelen (Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture) will present the work on government communications during the pandemic with a focus on a comparison between the UK and Scottish Governments.
  • Dr Hannah Carver (Lecturer in Substance Use, Faculty of Social Sciences) will discuss key findings and implications of research focussing on homelessness conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Prof Anna Whittaker (Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport) will present Exploring the impact of Covid19 social distancing on older adults’ social and physical activity – a mixed methods study.
  • Prof Peter Hancock (Professor in Psychology, Faculty of Natural Sciences) will present The effect of wearing a mask on face matching: look at the ears
  • Prof Iain Docherty (Dean of Institute for Advanced Studies) will present findings from his research with colleagues at the University of Leeds about how travel behaviour has changed during the pandemic and what this might mean for transport in future.

Register for this session.

Platform: MS Teams

Wednesday 26 May 2021

14:00 - 15:30 BST

Research in Covid Times

This session will explore what other research colleagues at the University have been engaged in, to share experiences of how research projects have pivoted to different methods in Covid times and what adaptations to research may be adopted moving forward. This session will be chaired by Dr Eileen Tisdall, Lecturer in Environmental Science (Faculty of Natural Sciences).

  • Prof Cate Watson and Dr Aileen Ireland (Faculty of Social Sciences) will present Covid-19: the impact of online meetings. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 necessitated changes in the working practices of many organisations so that online meetings suddenly became the norm. Here we report on observations of in-person and online meetings of governing boards in eight colleges of further education across the UK which aimed to address the question: in what ways do meetings differ in online and in-person contexts?
  • Dr Angus Hunter (Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport and Reader (Associate Professor) in Neuromuscular Physiology) will share experience of adapting research projects in lockdown, lab-based work and citizen science-based projects and rapid response grants.
  • Dr Isabelle Uny and Dr Rachel O’Donnell (Research Fellows in the Institute for Social Marketing and Health) will share Building capacity for qualitative research despite the pandemic: Lessons learned from developing and delivering online training as part of two international projects. This presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges associated with the development and delivery of two bespoke online training and capacity building programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Register for this session.

Platform: MS Teams

Thursday 27 May 2021

14:00 - 15:30 BST

Covid Recovery

Join us to explore how the University of Stirling research will contribute to post pandemic recovery. This session will be chaired by Dr Oliver Mallett, Associate Dean for Research in the Stirling Management School.

  • Prof Catherine Hennessy (Faculty of Social Sciences), Prof Richard Haynes (Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts and Humanities), Prof Anna Whittaker (Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport) will present the recently funded Connectivity and Digital Design for Promoting Health and Well-being Across Generations, Places and Spaces project in response to the pressing issue of addressing so-called 'digital divides' highlighted in Covid times.
  • Prof Leigh Sparks (Deputy Principal Education and Students and Professor of Retail Studies, Stirling Management School) - The role and state of towns and town centres have been a concern for some time. “A New Future for Scotland’s Towns” - the Report of the National Review recently chaired by Leigh Sparks presents challenging policy recommendations to make our towns and town centres fit for people, the planet and economy.
  • Mrs Olivia Olivarius (Research Fellow, Stirling Management School) and Dr Elaine Douglas (Lecturer Dementia & Ageing, Faculty of Social Sciences) - COVID-19 has affected the way in which people connect, look after their health, work and spend. However, little is known about the role that COVID-19 fear plays in behavioural responses to the pandemic, particularly among older people who are arguably most vulnerable to poor outcomes.  This presentation will explore how research has begun to address these issues by developing a validated COVID-19 fear instrument which measures to what extent an individual is likely to cope with the pandemic and their attitude towards the future.

Register for this session.

Platform: MS Teams

Friday 28 May 2021

10:00 - 11:30 BST

Research Strategy, Development and Ideas Panel Session

A panel session with Prof Judith Phillips (Deputy Principal of Research) and Prof Neville Wylie (Deputy Principal of Internationalisation) and chaired by Prof Rachel Norman to explore the challenges and opportunities as the University of Stirling and the wider community recovers from Covid-19.

Register for this session.

Platform: MS Teams

14:00 - 15:30 BST

Research Culture Awards Ceremony

The Research Culture Awards Ceremony will be hosted this year by Professor Rachel Norman (Dean for Research Engagement and Performance) and Dr Eddie Duncan (Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Science and Sport and Chair of Research Environment Group). Research Culture Awards are an opportunity to value those traits which are not captured by traditional?metrics?and to recognise people and groups who positively contribute to a vibrant and collaborative research culture here at the University of Stirling.

We look forward to celebrating the top nominees in each of the following 7 categories:

  • Best Research Leadership 
  • Best Collaborator 
  • Best Support from Professional Services 
  • Best?Mentor 
  • Best?Early Career Researcher 
  • Best Activity which enhances Research Culture 
  • Best Research Activity which promotes equality, diversity and inclusion 

Register for this session.

Platform: MS Teams