Glasgow Caledonian appoints top health economist to new Yunus Chair

20 January 2010

Professor Donaldson

Professor Donaldson

GLASGOW Caledonian University has appointed one of the world’s foremost health economists to its new Yunus Chair in Social Business and Health.

Professor Cam Donaldson is currently Director of the Institute of Health and Society and Health Foundation Chair in Health Economics at Newcastle University.

The new Chair is named after Grameen Bank founder Professor Muhammad Yunus, in recognition of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s close working relationship with the University.

Professor Yunus is recognised as one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs for his efforts to create a world free of poverty. He has pioneered the concept of microcredit, which supports entrepreneurs who are too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. 

Professor Donaldson will lead Glasgow Caledonian University’s new Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health. He will bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers, including international collaborators, and will capitalise on Glasgow Caledonian University’s strength in allied health research, ranked top ten in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

He will lead a unique research programme evaluating the impact of social business creation on the lives and health of disadvantaged communities in Glasgow and overseas.

Part of the new centre’s focus will be to evaluate the impact of the Grameen Bank which Professor Yunus is setting up in Glasgow, one of the first attempts to apply the microcredit model in a Western context.

Professor Donaldson, who was born in Glasgow (Springburn), has a distinguished international research record and previously worked at the universities of Sydney, Aberdeen and Calgary.

He says: “The vision for this work was laid down 250 years ago, when Adam Smith, in his seminal work The Wealth of Nations, observed and described the positive impacts of commerce on prosperity and well-being.

“With the advent of the credit crunch it is particularly appropriate that we are looking at new ways of working in partnership to achieve redistribution of wealth in order to tackle stubborn and longstanding health problems in disadvantaged communities.

“I am very excited about Glasgow Caledonian embracing the ‘one world’ notion – absorbing lessons from a relatively impoverished part of the world and helping Scotland to lead the way in evaluating the transfer of microcredit as a public health intervention to the European setting.”

Glasgow Caledonian University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies says:  “The appointment of Cam Donaldson to lead our new Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health is very warmly welcomed and fits closely with our strengths in health research and social justice and our University’s unique social mission to reduce inequalities.”


Note to Editors

1.    In December 2009, Professor Muhammad Yunus was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University and delivered the inaugural Magnus Magnusson Lecture.

2.    Microcredit is a form of loan which is distributed to people in the community who are below a particular level of income.  Anyone can place deposits with the bank, but only poor people can receive loans.  These loans carry no collateral and rely on community oriented notions of trust and social capital, which have resulted in payback rates of more than 90% in many jurisdictions.

3.    Professor Donaldson who joins the university on 1 May will work alongside a number of Yunus Fellows at GCU.  These Fellowships will be offered as one-year research opportunities for thought leaders working on aspects of social business and health.        

4.    Professor Donaldson, 49, is originally from Bishopbriggs near Glasgow and will be locating back to the city with his wife, Diane, who is a university administrator.                 

For further information, please contact:

Nancy McLardie, Press Officer, 0141 331 8684 / 07795021138

Alison Arnot, Communications Manager, 0141 331 8670/07795052553