Enabling a more equitable, diverse, and just Scottish society.

Grand Challenges

We strive to amplify and elevate the voices of communities and individuals who face barriers to effective participation in decision-making forums. We listen attentively, gather information, distil insights, conduct research, and effectively communicate our findings with the aim of reducing health and social inequalities and promoting wellbeing in Scotland.

HOPE is a website all about periods and menstrual health. It was created by an interdisciplinary team of YAS members and University of Edinburgh Staff, led by Dr Jacqueline Maybin , to inform and educate everyone about menstruation.

Despite 51% of the population being female and one in four of those who menstruate suffering with problematic periods, talking about menstruation remains a taboo subject. If you are lucky enough to have no troublesome menstrual symptoms, it is very likely that your friend, mother, sister, daughter or partner will. Menstrual disorders negatively impact on physical, mental, social, and economic health. Some people with menstrual disorders require blood transfusion, others cannot leave the house for one week out of every four. Many suffer financial difficulties, having to pay for excessive numbers of pads and tampons or due to work absence.

Despite this, it is really hard to know what is considered ‘normal’ and when to seek help. This is made worse by the menstrual taboo and to break this we need to talk about menstruation. Increased awareness of menstrual disorders and the treatment options available will enable people to reach their full potential and have a positive impact on all of society.

Our aim was to develop a website that provides accurate, accessible information for those who menstruate, their families, doctors, employers and policymakers. In addition, we have provided resources for educators to facilitate the conversation about menstruation with both boys and girls at a young age to increase awareness and destigmatise this physiological process. As well as original content, we have endeavoured to signpost users to other great sources of information from charities and organisations promoting menstrual wellbeing.

Our hope is that we can provide the information necessary to have healthy, optimal periods.

Visit HOPE on the University of Edinburgh website.

Read our Friends of the Scotsman article about the aims of this project.

Sharing the untold stories of caring across Scotland

We’re looking for stories of informal care. An informal carer is any friend or family member supporting another person due to illness, disability or a mental or physical health conditions.

Learn more about this project on our Scotland Cares page.

Scotland Cares is a collaborative project between YAS and a number of Universities, researchers and charities across Scotland.

Since 2019, YAS has partnered with The Robertson Trust to offer mentoring opportunities to Robertson Trust ‘Journey to Success‘ scholars. YAS members are paired with the undergraduate scholars to help them prepare for graduation, understand the world of work, develop their CV and interview skills, and apply for internships.

This programme was featured in the Summer 2020 edition of the RSE’s magazine, ReSourcE, which can be accessed here (page 15).

YAS member Dr Alaa Hamdon started the Mosul Book Bridge campaign with the goal of re-stocking Mosul University Library, which was destroyed by IS after their occupation of Mosul in 2014. He has been joined by YAS members and partners at University College London and Book Aid International to rebuild and restock Mosul University Library

“The library was the heart of Mosul University, and it was like a lighthouse of knowledge for Mosul. . . There were more than one million publications and books housed in the library, so [the damage done to the library] was devestating.” – Dr Alaa Hamdon

Book Aid International worked closely with Mosul Book Bridge to source new books specific to Mosul University’s needs and arrange shipment of these materials to Mosul- a considerable logistical challenge, as there are many security challenges to consider in shipping these materials.

You can hear Alaa discussing this project on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme via BBC iPlayer here (Alaa’s interview begins 19 minutes in to the show). To learn more about this initiative, please visit the Mosul Book Bridge website. If you wish to make a monetary donation to the initiative, please visit this page on the Book Aid International website.

In collaboration with the Glasgow School of Art’s project Crossover, we brought together professionals working in scientific research with artists and designers for a workshop on “Understanding and Caring for Invisible Illness.” Our goal was to foster transdisciplinary learning and develop innovative new ideas to raise awareness of health (and other) challenges currently invisible to the public.

We are pleased that this workshop seeded two new projects, which we continued to take forward with Glasgow School of Art. One was a short documentary about the experiences of people with non-visible conditions. The other was a fashion design project, in which we commissioned design students to explore clothing as a medium to understand people’s relationships with the invisible aspects of their conditions.


Related news