Fuse Open Science Blog

Blog Overview

Fuse is a Public Health Research Centre of Excellence that brings together academics and researchers from five universities in the North East of England. One of Fuse’s key aims is to engage with the public and particularly those working in public health to conduct research with and for these groups, and to ensure translation of research findings into policy and practice. We set up the Fuse Open Science Blog because, although awareness of Fuse seemed high locally, understanding what it does and how, appeared limited. We were also concerned about a feeling that Fuse researchers were perceived as a bit far removed from the ‘real world’, up in their ivory towers. Finally, we wanted a way to build a feeling of community across a research centre that is located in five different universities at some geographical distance from each other. Posts tend to be about the day-to-day realities of working in public health or doing research, written in a way that (hopefully!) makes the work we do more accessible to a wider group of people as opposed to just academics. We also sometimes post what might be considered lay summaries of our research findings, discussions of recent research developments, or comment pieces related to topical news, events or awareness days. The blog has been on the go for close to five years and in that time has developed into an open forum in which not only researchers, but anyone working in or around public health can contribute to stimulate thought that captures the full breadth of population health. The blog is currently overseen and edited by a small group of volunteers from Fuse. We publish blog posts once a week and publicise these via our twitter account @fuse_online and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fuseonline). We welcome posts of around 500-700 words from anyone involved in public health.

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Mark Welford

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My Favourite Blog Posts

Why Vote For Me?

The Fuse blog offers a unique and exciting insight into the world of public health research. Health affects us all and our posts are about issues that have a real-life impact on people. Public health is a broad-discipline and there is something for everyone in the Fuse blog. The strength of the blog is in the breadth of our writers and the topics we cover. We offer a behind the scenes look at what academics and researchers get up to. Also publishing posts from people working at the ‘coalface’ in the NHS, local authorities and voluntary organisations, as well as students, and staff involved in public and sharing knowledge. We challenge our contributors to write in an accessible, fun and engaging way with a non-specialist audience in mind. Blog posts cover major public health concerns like obesity, physical activity, alcohol, and smoking but also other factors that affect people’s health throughout their lives - from pregnancy to end of life - such as austerity, welfare, housing, and mental health (dementia, depression, stress, self-harm and suicide). In more than 370 eclectic posts you can read about Dry January, the ‘nanny state’, animation, school dinners and Jamie Oliver, ‘fat shaming’, indigenous Australians, Baywatch, energy drinks, intolerance towards children, Grandmothers, e-cigarettes and 'legal highs' as well as posts about topical news and events. That’s not to forget those providing tips on public speaking, writing for the media, being the ‘perfect’ research student or supervisor, finishing a PhD on time, and understanding how academics (or ‘wizards’) work. The blog posts often spark discussion on social media (#fuseblog) or in the comments section on the platform. We hope that the Fuse Open Science Blog entertains, informs and engages readers about the realities of public health research, can promote interest and collaboration across our readership and, like in the case of our series on junk food at checkouts, have a real-world impact (http://fuseopenscienceblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/whos-opting-out-of-responsibility.html).