Not only did the SPCR funding get the ball-rolling in terms of this research topic, but also gave me the opportunity to develop my ideas, confidence and skills during the earlier stages of my academic career."
- Alison Gregory
The international competition call was for proposals based on the theme: Towards an improved women’s health & access to healthcare. Applications came from Turkey, Belgium and Switzerland, and UK-wide from Ireland, LSE, Aston, Sheffield, and the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care where Alison is based.
Alison received a PhD studentship and a Launching Fellowship from the School between 2012 and 2017. "SPCR funding has been essential; the bedrock on which I’ve built all subsequent work."
Alison's PhD funding enabled her to research a little-explored topic - the health and wellbeing impacts on people providing informal support to survivors of domestic violence and abuse - and to highlight the vital importance of the role friends, relatives, and colleagues can play in supporting and protecting survivors.
She said "My PhD research led to further study in this topic area, funded through a SPCR Launching Fellowship and an Elizabeth Blackwell Institute Early Career Fellowship. Research conducted during these fellowships further highlighted how key informal supporters are, how ill-equipped they feel in providing tangible and emotional help, and the lack of services available to support and advise them."
Her research has sparked a great deal of interest in the field, inspiring public health campaigns in several areas of the UK. In addition, there has been international interest from researchers, practitioners and service managers who are beginning to explore the idea of complementing professional services for survivors, by also equipping their informal supporters.
"The AXA fellowship is the next step along this path, to develop, produce and pilot a tailored intervention designed to meet the needs of informal supporters. The intervention will be designed to not only support informal survivors, improving their own health, wellbeing and safety, but as a knock-on effect will also equip them to better meet the needs of the survivor they know – similar to the dual-benefits demonstrated in ‘carer’ research (where interventions targeting carers also benefit the person they care for).
Alison's funding of 125,000 Euros will start in August 2019 for 2 years.
"Not only did the SPCR funding get the ball-rolling in terms of this research topic, but also gave me the opportunity to develop my ideas, confidence and skills during the earlier stages of my academic career. In particular, the trainee events were so helpful – to be able to grapple with research challenges alongside other people at the same stage in their career, and to gain wisdom and insight from those a bit further on (particularly, Professor George Lewith) was invaluable."