In 2015 the Scottish Government awarded a grant to set up the Scottish Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Institute (SHAIPI), a virtual Institute brought into being to understand some of the major infection and healthcare associated infection issues affecting Scotland and the UK, and to develop interventions to combat them.

It involves partnership with a number of Scottish Universities, NHS stakeholders and Industry to develop research in the three main areas of Molecular Epidemiology, Informatics and Applied Infection Prevention and Control to tackle the threat to public health from emergent HAI and antimicrobial resistance, utilising rapid knowledge transfer, state of the art laboratory techniques and novel interventions.

SHAIPI has brought together a number of different experts, in disparate fields from six Scottish Universities to form a team to formulate, under the guidance of an International Advisory Board, a five-year plan of research to answer these issues.

In and of itself, the construction of a network of experts, from different disciplines, to work together and focus on the same research area has generated a critical mass of expertise that places Scotland in a strong position for the continuation of future work.

Central to the ethos of SHAIPI is to build capacity and capability in HAI and infection research within Scotland. In developing Early Career Researchers (ECR), SHAIPI has supported the collaboration between our research teams. Informal meetings have occurred twice a year focusing on networking and cross-work stream collaborations. The last meeting was a “Coffee & Poster” session where posters were brought from previously attended meetings. This gave an excellent opportunity for discussion, not just about research projects, but also about potentially useful meetings and conferences. As a group interactive creative art exercise, we constructed a network map for SHAIPI work streams to connect researchers with their collaborators. We are planning to expand the network map to include new collaborations and future/potential collaborators. Hopefully, this will lead to ideas for cross-SHAIPI projects and applications for future funding.

The Public involvement group (ChaiN) has run learning and development sessions, developed newsletters and web-based information and contributed input into new work streams. The work of the group continues with the challenges of keeping public involvement at the forefront of SHAIPI researchers’ minds, the virtual nature of SHAIPI making it hard to identify involvement opportunities in a timely manner and to harness the enthusiasm of the Community Advisors effectively.