"5 minutes with..." Susan Grant (General Practice and Primary Care/IHW)

A very recent – and eagerly anticipated! – arrival in IHW, Susan Grant, tells us about her role as community engagement coordinator, valuing knowledge and perspectives from all corners of our institute, a favourite view, and a new (and unexpected!) bestie outside of work...

Photo of Susan Grant with a goldendoodle

Tell us a bit about what you do in IHW

I only joined as Community Engagement Coordinator for the institute at the start of April 2022 working with Prof Sara Macdonald. As this is a new role and I am new to the university, I am still in the early stages of listening to people, gathering information, coming up with ideas and seeing where I can add value. But essentially my role is to connect community to the university in meaningful ways through the Clarice Pears Building. I hope to work with colleagues and community partners to develop a programme of knowledge exchange events to take our research to new audiences and tackle health inequalities, support staff and research students to be involved in engagement and be part of the University of Glasgow’s ambition to be a leading Civic University Anchor Institution.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I have been working in outreach and community and public engagement in my beloved Glasgow for the past 18 years. My main motivation is to widen opportunities to all and influence the learning, teaching and research in HE from the perspective of community. I enjoy working with a variety of different internal and external partners to do this and I hope to continue this in IHW.

What are the challenges?

I think it will be narrowing down and securing funding for all the ideas that have already been discussed with colleagues and community. However, I still want to hear more so if you are involved in community engaged research and/or are interested in getting involved in developing our offering to community, I would love to hear from you. 

What is the best thing about working in IHW?

I would say, so far, it has been the people. Everyone has been so welcoming and it’s been great to meet so many familiar faces as I have worked previously with UofG colleagues on initiatives like Glasgow Science Festival, Famelab, Explorathon and the public engagement networks. At the recent IHW research away day, I was so pleased to meet my friend, Laura Macdonald, from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. (I won’t tell you how many years its been since we were at school together!) Colleagues have been very open and willing to help and share and that has been the case with staff uni-wide in the various Teams I have been invited to join. If we are going to work across disciplines, learn from and build on work that colleagues in other schools have already been involved in with community, and take forward new innovations to truly address health inequalities in Glasgow and beyond, I think a supportive culture which values everyone’s knowledge is essential.

Photo of 2 colleagues at an event

Tell us something we might not know about you

I never wanted a dog but last year I gave in to a well-evidenced, peer-supported, emotive and sustained campaign over many years by my children, Holly (14) and Angus (12), and we welcomed Rox, the Goldendoodle into our family. Now she is my best friend and I can’t imagine life without her.

When or where are you happiest?

When I am swimming or watching a beautiful sunset preferably by the sea somewhere hot with friends or in Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway with family (although during the pandemic, I settled for peeking out of my rooftop window and watching the sunsets over Glasgow which really are stunning).

Photo of sunset over Glasgow city rooftops

Any secret – or not so secret! – ambitions?

I would love to start a foundation to provide young people with life experiences that they might not otherwise have but which can have a positive impact on their education, their careers and their health and wellbeing.

Do you have a favourite quote or saying, or mantra by which you try to live your life?

I would say "always try to go to sleep on the same day you wake up" which makes me sound boring, but it is the only way I can juggle work, life and play!

If you would like to appear in "Five minutes with...", do please get in touch (jane.goodfellow@glasgow.ac.uk)! We aim to alternate professional services and research/teaching staff profiles, and feature colleagues from across a wide range of roles and grades within our institute. 


First published: 20 May 2022