HUGS at the Ryan Institute, University of Galway presenting student-led findings

Blog 18 Oct 2023
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The Ryan Institute is engaged in research and partnerships that contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals. James LaCourse presenting our student led research which has been supported by HUGS from its inception up to the present day

Even before the formal start of HUGS, we have been supporting the BSc, MSc and PhD research projects of various students who have undertaken snail and schistosome research in UK or in Malawi. A key feature has been our ability to partner-up UK and Malawi students, often working in supportive pairs. In so doing, they gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of each other’s cultures, backgrounds and research aspirations. We have supported over 15 students which, in hindsight, has been a major achievement in leaving a growing academic legacy. During the second half of the HUGS project, this academic footprint is expected to expand, hopefully continuing on beyond.       

Forming partnerships is an ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 17. It is widely held that the SDGs can only be met if we work together, making best advantage of international support and investments. Such activities can come in many levels, from the small to the large, but combined are vital to ensure innovative technological development. Integral to all this is research capacity strengthening which needs, above all, a strong ethos of support and exchange.

In this collaborative spirit, on the 13th October 2023, Dr James LaCourse and Prof Russell Stothard attended the annual conference of the Ryan Centre, University of Galway for their One Health Conference. Of note, the University of Galway has been designated a national SDG Champion for 2023-24 by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. As many of us know well, there is a critical link between the health of humans, animals and the environment, the impact of which is ever increasing on our very crowded planet. Indeed, the global concept of ‘One Health’ is promoted by the Quadripartite agencies: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The front covers of student reports as helped by HUGs Dr Sarah Rollaston in the CTID laboratory

HUGS’ One Health approach was very well placed within the Ryan Centre’s audience. James explained in depth the inputs and many outputs of our various student research projects. The impact of which was appreciated as an authentic attempt to build a training programme that became much greater than the sum of its parts.

You can view James’ presentation here

Upon returning to the UK, HUGS’ laboratory training continues, with a 3-week secondment of Dr Sarah Rollason. Sarah is a PhD student at the University of Cardiff, who is investigating the interplay of schistosomiasis and malaria in young children in Mangochi District. Her research will soon be presented at the forthcoming Spring Meeting of the British Society for Parasitology.

This to be held during April 2024 at the University of Liverpool