Mother and Infant Research Unit

From best evidence to policy and everyday practice


Improving outcomes for FamiliesImproving outcomes for BabiesImproving outcomes for  Mothers and InfantsImproving outcomes Mothers and Young BabiesImproving outcomes for Babies

The fundamental importance of pregnancy, birth and the early weeks and months of life to health and wellbeing are well recognised, including the potential of this time period to have a lasting impact on inequalities in health. The effectiveness, quality and safety of maternity and child health services are dependent on multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral working and the use of up to date evidence to guide policy and practice, yet research, education and innovation are often conducted in separate environments and within specific clinical disciplines.

Background

The Mother and Infant Research Unit (MIRU) is a multidisciplinary unit in the University of Dundee established in early 2013. It builds on over 15 years of previous work in the Universities of Leeds and York and existing strength in the University of Dundee, and partnerships with the NHS and national and international collaborators. MIRU is based in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and works across the wider university. It has a close alliance with NHS Tayside, and collaborates across the city of Dundee, more widely across Scotland and the rest of the UK, and with national and international organisations.

Purpose

MIRU’s purpose is to improve the health and wellbeing of childbearing women, babies and families, reduce the impact of social inequalities, and strengthen resilience and the capabilities of families made vulnerable by health or social problems by

  • conducting high quality research
  • delivering high quality postgraduate and post-registration education
  • promoting sustainable change at scale through informing policy, and evidence-based practice change

MIRU works to include individuals and groups often excluded from research, including women, babies and families from areas of deprivation and who are experiencing complex social circumstances; these women, children and families often experience the worst clinical and psycho-social outcomes.

Key topics

Key current research topics are:

  • Food, nutrition and infant feeding
  • Attachment and parenting, including perinatal loss
  • Strengthening the contribution of midwifery to maternal and infant health and well-being

Research methods used reflect the topics addressed and the strength of collaborators in the university, nationally and internationally, and include analysis of routine/existing data, systematic reviews, RCTs, economic analysis, qualitative studies, surveys, secondary data analysis, and mixed methods.  Participation, engagement, and partnership with women, families, community and advocacy groups, and practitioners are core to all projects.