Working Groups

The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) was established in 2008. It is co-funded by The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), and based within the University of Edinburgh. SCPHRP was established to encourage and facilitate collaborations between all sectors of the public health community in Scotland. The core objectives are:

  • To identify key areas of opportunity for developing novel public health interventions that equitably address major health problems in Scotland, and move these forward
  • To foster collaboration between government, academia, healthcare and the Third Sector to develop a national programme of intervention development, large-scale implementation and robust evaluation
  • Build capacity within the public health community for collaborative research of the highest quality, with maximum impact on policies, programmes and practice

To help meet these objectives we created four Working Groups covering the key stages of the lifecourse: Early Years; Adolescence and Young Adulthood; Working Age/Adult Life; and Later Years. To find out more about the work of each group please follow the links on the right-hand side of the page. Included are details of the groups’ activities and profiles for the group members.
Below you will find more detailed information on:

  1. What are Working Groups and why do we have them?
  2. What do they do and how often do they meet?
  3. The role of the Working Group Lead (SCPHRP Research Fellows)
  4. Who is in a Working Group?
  5. How do I become a Working Group member?
  6. What is expected of a group member?
  7. What are the benefits to becoming a Member of SCPHRP?

You can also download this information as a PDF:

SCPHRP working group remit
Click on image to download PDF

1. What are Working Groups and why do we have them?
To help achieve these objectives SCPHRP has created four Working Groups encompassing the key life-stages of early life; adolescence and young adulthood; adult life/working age; and later life ( The SCPHRP Working Group model uses a network of people from various disciplines, including researchers, decision-makers and practitioners to help meet these aims by:

  • Catalysing strong researcher/research-user collaboration around solving a shared problem
  • Sharing ideas and knowledge on specific topic areas, particularly around new policies and innovations
  • Collaborating on projects/grants, and developing novel policy/practice ideas to benefit Scotland and reduce inequalities

Each Working Group is led by a post-doctoral Research Fellow based at SCPHRP, whose role is to facilitate the work of the group (see ‘The role of the Working Group Lead (SCPHRP Research Fellows)’ section below for more details). To maximise the use of our members’ knowledge and expertise, each Working Group was split into a small number of sub-groups, each focused on a Scottish public health priority identified by members of the Working Groups at the inaugural Working Group meetings in November 2013. Over the lifespan of the Working Group, these sub-groups will be developed and refined to match the needs and expertise of their members and any public health priorities that may develop. The Working Group Leads can also initiate new sub-groups and modify/disband sub-groups that are diverging from the core interests and remit of SCPHRP or those that have lost sufficient capacity to continue working effectively. However, if there is sufficient energy and capacity for sub-groups to continue with leadership from members (rather than the SCPHRP Working Group Leads), SCPHRP will help support the groups with logistical assistance (e.g. meeting rooms, advertising events, supporting funding applications etc.), facilitating networking and identifying potential collaborators.
2. What do they do and how often do they meet?
Working Groups typically meet once a year to feedback and reflect on the work of the sub-groups over the previous 12 months and develop ideas for the following 12 months. The sub-groups meet more regularly, usually 2-3 times each year. The focus and desired outcomes of each sub-group are specific to themselves, but each group is encouraged and supported (in the form of time from the Working Group Leads and funding from within SCPHRP and through external funding applications) to explore the possibility of engaging in:

  • Forming new interdisciplinary and between-sector collaborations
  • Developing research projects (including writing research grant proposals, where appropriate)
  • Organising networking, knowledge exchange and training events (seminars, workshops, conferences, training courses etc.)

The format of the sub-group meetings typically involve:

  • A short presentation from the Working Group Lead (SCPHRP Research Fellow), updating members of the proposed agenda and any recent developments within SCPHRP and the other sub-groups/Working Groups, as well as a summary of the previous meeting
  • Reports from group members – including updates on their current work/interests, progress towards actions allocated within previous meetings, and challenges or issues that are affecting them
  • Group responses – supporting and developing responses to issues discussed
  • Research ideas – group discussions of possible sub-group research projects
  • Knowledge exchange / training ideas – group discussions of possible events the sub-groups could organise
  • Funding – group discussions of current/upcoming external and internal funds available to the groups

The Working Group Leads also meet monthly with the Director and Senior Scientific Advisor at SCPHRP to discuss overall direction and any issues within and across the Working Groups.
3. The role of the Working Group Lead (SCPHRP Research Fellows)
For the Working Groups and sub-groups to prosper as a collaboration, it is key that group members take an active role in, and develop a sense of ownership over, the groups’ activities. To help this process each Working Group is assigned a SCPHRP Research Fellow as a Working Group Lead, whose role is to:

  • Promote/maintain the research interests of the Fellow and SCPHRP within the groups
  • Actively support the activities of the Working Groups and sub-groups (e.g. arrange meetings, highlight relevant events/literature/funding, contact prospective members, maintain the web presence of the group etc.)
  • Keep the groups up-to-date with activities in the other Working Groups and at SCPHRP
  • Represent the Working Groups when meeting external partners and engaging with the public

4. Who is in a Working Group? 
Members of SCPHRP, the Working Groups and associated sub-groups hail from many organisations from across policy, practice and research, including Scottish Government, local authorities, NHS Health Scotland, NHS Public Health Divisions, the Third Sector (including individual organisations, as well as bodies that represent multiple organisations e.g. Voluntary Health Scotland), non-academic researchers and researchers from all of the prominent Scottish universities.
5. How do I become a Working Group member?
Anyone is welcome to join. There are no specific criteria for membership, although members should be willing to engage with people from various backgrounds and expertise as equal partners and actively engage with the requirements of SCPHRP and the Working Groups.
You can become a member by personal invite from a current Working Group member or by applying using a very short membership form ( You will be asked to indicate which types of membership you require, from the following:

  • Working Group membership (including membership of any sub-groups)

―   Early Years Working Group
―   Adolescence and Young Adulthood Working Group
―   Adult Life/Working Age Working Group
―   Later Years Working Group

  • Associated Membership – SCPHRP collaborative projects (outwith the Working Group)

You will also be asked to provide a short description of your work/research interests relevant to SCPHRP and its collaborators (max 250 words), as well as 5 keywords/phrases that summarise your work/research interests (this will help other SCPHRP staff & members to quickly identify possible collaborators. These member profiles will then be hosted on the SCPHRP website. Once you have registered, you will be kept abreast of any upcoming news related to your membership (including upcoming meetings) by the Working Group Lead and have access to a secure online workspace on the SCPHRP website to interact with fellow members.
6. What is expected of a group member?
Members are expected to:

  • Attend (in person or via telephone/Skype) and contribute regularly to the meetings and agenda by providing contributions in the form of research/event ideas, updates of their own relevant work and provide constructive feedback.  We recognise that it is sometimes difficult to be able to attend meetings during work time, and on occasion, not always possible
  • Assist in the reviewing and revision of current SCPHRP resources and help in the development of new resources, where necessary (e.g. magazine articles, blogs, Q&A interviews, training materials, reports etc.)
  • Promote and represent the group in all aspects of its work within and outside of group meetings
  • Widen the expertise of and assist, advise and support the sub-groups and Working Group
  • Actively keep the SCPHRP staff in touch with the work of members/their organisations and suggest how SCPHRP can support members effectively
  • Promote membership and the Working Group/SCPHRP to others
  • Support the Working Group in applying for further funding, organising and hosting events and contributing to research projects, as necessary

Members who attend less than two meetings in any year without sending prior notice, or members who are unable to continue to play an active role, may be refused renewal of their membership by the Working Group Leads.
7. What are the benefits to becoming a Member of SCPHRP? 
Through membership, you will:

  • Hear some of the latest developments in public health research and practice in Scotland from across multiple sectors
  • Become involved in developing and piloting novel initiatives, programmes and resources
  • Network with colleagues interested in public health and gain ideas, share best practice, strengthen your personal skill set and help promote yourself / your organisation
  • Be eligible to apply for competitive SCPHRP training grants for career development in research methods if you are working outside of research/academia. Each year, each Working Group will shortlist and nominate one or two members for the awards. A panel made-up of SCPHRP team members and external collaborators will make the final decision on awarding these grants. Please contact a Working Group Lead for more information
  • In addition, you will be making a worthwhile contribution to SCPHRP and Scottish public health, having your say about the research and services currently provided.

For more information about each Working group please see the links on the right-hand-side of this page. There you will find details about each group and the contact details for the Working Group Leads who you can contact for more information. If you would like to apply for membership, please complete the following form: