Visiting Researcher Reflections: Professor Jackie Sturt

Posted on 03.07.2024

Professor Jackie Sturt completed her visiting professorship on the project “Strengthening Wellbeing in Diabetes Through Intimate Partner Relationships Using Perspectives from Social and Behavioural Science” at Steno Diabetes Centre Copenhagen with a grant from Danish Diabetes Academy (DDA) (now known as Danish Diabetes and Endocrine Academy). Professor Jackie Sturt is employed at King’s College London (UK).

We have asked Professor Jackie Sturt to reflect on her time as a DDA-funded visiting researcher.

What is the biggest achievement of your research project?

A £2.8 million research grant through a collaboration with two researchers from the host centre.

How is your research project relevant to the public?

Diabetes distress is a normal part of living with all types of diabetes. It’s intensity varies accross a person’s life with diabetes with high peaks often occurring at points of transition e.g. from primary to secondary care, from child and adolescent service to adult services, pregnancy, through change or intensification of treatment regimes and if complications develop. Approx 70% of people will experience elevated diabetes distress across a year and in 70% of those, it will become longstanding if it is not acknowledged. Elevated diabetes distress acts as a break to the delivery of necessary and routine diabetes self-care. This means that longstanding elevated diabetes distress is most likely to have a detrimental impact on clinical diabetes outcomes such as HbA1c. Detecting and intervening with elevated diabetes distress in routine care is an imperative for enabling people with diabetes to maintain their physical and mental health.

What is the biggest difference between doing research in Denmark and the country you work in?

Being part of a clinical services as opposed to being part of a university was the greatest factor. At SDCC the research participants were just down the stairs and were easy to at least identify and consequently recruit. At King’s College London we have to find research participants in the community or on social media or through NHS clinics. In the latter scenario the first hurdle is recruiting the clinic to your research. As SDCC this is all much more streamlined.

What have you gained as a visiting researcher?

Longstanding collegiality and friendship.

What was a highlight in your time as a DDA-funded researcher?

Delivering the RAPID conference with the SDCC research and administrative team and Danish people with diabetes – the whole team were a joy to work with and make friendships within.

What is your best piece of advice for international senior researchers applying for a DDEA Visiting Researcher Grant?

Be flexible, be curious and be present.

Our 2024 call for Visiting Researcher Grant applications is now open with application deadline 11 September.

What is next for you?

I am at the start of delivering the largest grant of my career with the KCL-SDCC grant which will be both a joy and a challenge. I will enjoy bring the team from different parts of the world together to share expertise and commitment to delivering holistic type 1 diabetes care within the UK NHS.

We wish Professor Jackie Sturt all the best in her future career.

See all of our open calls for grant applications within diabetes, metabolism, and endocrinology research.

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