I am involved in a number of international research networks including the European Society for Rural Sociology, QUCAN International Rural Research Network and the Scottish Academy of Rural Policy. At a more local level I have held the position of vice-chair of the NI Rural Development Council and I was a member of NISRAs Steering Group to oversee the Review of Measures of Spatial Deprivation. I represent the European Standing Committee on Social Sciences at research seminars.I am also an expert evaluator for different European bodies including the European Commission, the European Science Foundation and Formas, the Swedish Research Council. These latter activity is normally only open to individuals in more senior academic positions, but my research experience and funding expertise are such that I was selected. I am regularly contacted to peer review articles for leading journals.
The relevance of my work to society is evident in my outreach activities. I continue to receive invitations locally and internationally to participate in research networks and projects; to evaluate research projects; and to contribute to policy development. In Spring 2013 I was invited to convene the NI component of the UK Research Policy Netowrk and to present my research to the group - members comprise a mix of researchers, policymakers and practitioners from across the UK. My profile is such that I am successful in inviting international scholars to lead on ISEP seminars and I co-ordinated a seminar by Professor Dan Lichter, Cornell University in Belfast in March 2013.
In 2013 I was awarded £25,200 from the QUB Internationalisation fund for work on a Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network (TARRN). It is a multi-disciplinary, international scholarly collaboration that builds on a smaller network (QUCAN) that was established six years ago. The award is to allow the network to identify highest priority areas for future research and international collaboration; to develop a major proposal for submission in 2014/15 and to advance collaborative work with a particular focus on what the fiscal crisis means for rural places but also including multi-scalar layers of governance, and notions of accountability, social justice, and social inclusion. My central role in these activities will contribute to the University's internationalisation agenda.