News Researchers' work honoured in Humanities & Social Sciences Impact Awards 2023

14 June 2023

The winners of this year's Humanities & Social Sciences Impact Awards for research have been announced.

These awards are an opportunity to recognise the achievements of those in the Faculty delivering research projects which are making a real difference and delivering outstanding impact.

The 2023 winners are:

  • Dr Irene McMaster (European Policies Research Centre) - Outstanding Impact on Policy
    Irene’s submission focused on future territorial cooperation in the Irish Sea Area. The key impact is the content and launch of the Irish Sea Policy Framework and a series of related events and initiatives. This work has contributed to changing perceptions on the opportunities for territorial cooperation. The Framework is now in place, has a series of related events planned and has been linked to an established source of funding - SCoRE Cymru.
  • Dr Inge Birnie (School of Education) -  Oustanding Impact on Society
    Inge's research formed the foundation of the establishment of An Taigh Ceilidh - a social community space for spoken Gaelic. Her work has been instrumental in not only creating a space for people to come together, but also in creating a community in which the language is learned and practiced.
  • Dr Senia Febrica (One Ocean Hub) Early Career Winner
    Senia's research into maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region has had a signfiicant impact on international policy and practice. In particular, the research highlights the growing involvement of non-state actors in maritime security in Southeast Asia. These include pirates and perpetrators of armed robbery against ships, terrorist groups, fishing militias, and the paramilitary organisations. These insights have led to significant policy reforms and commitments.

Dr Irene McMaster

Winner - Outstanding Impact on Policy

"It’s great the work has received this recognition, particularly as the project involved working with some great people at the University’s European Policies Research Centre and in Welsh Government.

The submission for the Impact Award relates to work carried out for the Welsh Government on territorial/regional cooperation around the Irish Sea. Brexit led to the loss of many long standing, funded cooperation frameworks for UK territories to collaborate with territories in EU countries. Welsh Government were particularly concerned about the loss of opportunities to work with areas around the Irish Sea.

Responding to this, my research focussed on identifying opportunities and options for future links. The results were presented in a final report and at stakeholder events. They have informed subsequent publications and work. Crucially, the work helped inform the new Irish Sea Framework, launched by Welsh Government in February 2023, .

The framework demonstrates ongoing commitment to maintaining and building links between territories in the area. It sets out priorities and plans for future action on areas such as blue growth, but it is also has flexibility to navigate through a challenging political and economic period.

At EPRC, we are continuing our work on European territorial cooperation frameworks, carrying out research and policy analyses on a range of themes including civic engagement in territorial cooperation, future territorial cooperation in Scotland, and cooperation in the Arctic, in which the University of Strathclyde has a wider role as a member of the University of the Arctic."

Dr Inge Birnie

Winner - Outstanding Impact on Society

“It is lovely to be recognised for my work with Gaelic and the promotion of its use in the community, especially at a time where the University of Strathclyde is working on implementing its first Gaelic Language Plan. This research and initiative have wider implications for other minority language contexts and how we support speakers - both those that have grown up with the language and 'new speakers' - those that have learned the language in the education system.

The project came from research in Stornoway completed in 2017 that showed that use of Gaelic is anisotropic: it takes place within networks of speakers that know each other. The study showed there was no ‘safe space’ remaining for Gaelic, with English being used in all public spaces in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

This resulted in the establishment of an Taigh Ceilidh – meaning “the meeting place” – a dedicated space within the community where individuals know that the use of Gaelic is expected and welcomed. ATC actively promotes the use of Gaelic and invites local community groups to use the space, organising events where individuals are welcome to use their Gaelic – for example, poetry evenings and conversation groups.

We are continuing to research the impact that ATC is making on (spoken) Gaelic language use and attitudes and ideologies towards the language - especially in young 'new speakers'. There has been a great deal of interest from other places in Scotland and beyond in the creation of similar spaces.”

Dr Senia Febrica

Winner - Early Career Award

"I am very happy that my research, which contributes to the development of policy at the national and international level, has been recognised. This is the first time my work has received such an acknowledgment.

The key findings from my research highlight the growing involvement of non-state actors in maritime security in Southeast Asia. These include pirates and perpetrators of armed robbery against ships, terrorist groups, fishing militias, and paramilitary organisations. I have used a variety of methods in my research including content analysis, interviews, and focus group discussions.

Being part of the One Ocean Hub has helped me to connect with researchers and stakeholders which the Hub is working with. Collaboration with Prof. Jeremy Hills (University of South Pacific, Fiji) and the government of Fiji (Ministry of Economy) enabled me to contribute to the development of Fiji’s first national ocean policy, particularly its security pillar. The policy has been accepted by the Fiji parliament in 2021 and has set an ambitious goal for 100 per cent sustainable management of the ocean by 2030.

I wrote two case studies based on my research on maritime security for the UN Secretary General report to the General Assembly,  worked on two projects in collaboration with the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, and contributed to the development of the Addendum to the New York Memorandum on Good Practices for Interdicting Terrorist Travel 2021."