College of Science & Engineering

Our Health - Interdisciplinary Community-University Research Programme

Our Health projects create community-based research that invites local communities to set real-world research questions and agendas around health and wellbeing.

The first Our Health pilot projects were launched in July 2018 and involved academics from The School of Engineering and students from across CSE as well as CAHSS and CMVM.


The Our Health projects have provided a fantastic opportunity for students and academics at the University of Edinburgh allowing them the invaluable experience of working together with local community members. I’m particularly happy that we will be able to continue this collaboration with future student volunteers.

Dr. Jonathan TerryChancellor's Fellow and Lecturer - School of Engineering


The projects ran for eight weeks across the summer break and allowed students form interdisciplinary teams that worked with two community partner groups, the Cheyne Gang Choir and Breathtakers.

Our Health projects were found to be valuable and rewarding by students, community partners and academics. Students created new knowledge and research skills with community partners and also achieved an Edinburgh Award as part of their work.


The interdisciplinary nature of the Our Health projects are what make them so special. Our team involved students from a wide range of disciplines. I had never shared learning with students from outside my own discipline before. It was so interesting and valuable to learn new methods and approaches in this way.

Joshua HumanUndergraduate- School of Engineering

We became part of the research process and because we set the agenda and research question we were motivated to work with the students to investigate and find answers together. We want to continue working on this question, we feel we have just begun, there is still so much we want to learn.

Anne RichieCo-founder, the Cheyne Gang Choir

Our Health aims to play a role in tackling the health inequalities that exist in the city of Edinburgh, and particularly in the most severely disadvantaged communities. The Our Health team work in partnership with NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council to improve health literacy and reduce health inequality by empowering local patient and community groups to take greater responsibility and control of their own health through community-university driven research.

The University takes great pride in its relationship with the City and the local community.  ‘Our Health’ is a wonderful example of the way in which teaching and research can be put in the service of the community.

Lesley McAraAssistant Principal Community Relations, University of Edinburgh

The Our Health projects are an excellent example of patient-centred research. They are led by our superb students from interdisciplinary subject areas across the University. I want to see the University engaging ever more deeply with the community, the city and the public.

 Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh

The Our Health team will continue the project work they have begun with The Cheyne Gang and Breathtakers and have begun collaboration with new community partners. The team are currently working with university teaching staff to look at how more students can access these rich learning experiences and potentially gain credits for their community-based research in the future.

Our Health projects will run through out 2019 and Dr Helen Szoor-McElhinney would welcome both UG/PG students and academics who are interested in taking part to contact her at


Our Health – Pilot Projects 2018

Teaching Matters blog – Our Health