January 31, 2019, by Charlotte Anscombe

Nottingham receives funding to tackle real-world problems

The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham has received £1.3 million from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to fund leading research to tackle real world problems.

The funding will enable a four-year programme of activities that will support collaborative projects between academics and a range of charities, social enterprises and business groups, creating new opportunities for research to make a positive contribution to society and the economy.

Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Faculty has been awarded this funding, which allow us to continue to support problem-based and applied research in ways that bring benefit to society. This funding will support our award winning Impact Leaders Programme, the University Beacons of Excellence, and our Institute for Policy and Public Engagement, as well as additional activities that demonstrate the public value of social science research.’

Other current and previous funding from the ESRC has enabled Nottingham’s researchers to help society in a number of ways:

  • Advance Nottinghamshire Police Force’s understanding of autism to avoid the unnecessary arrest or detainment of autistic people, who are seven times more likely to be arrested compared to the general population although no more likely to be prosecuted.
  • Improve people’s access to legal services and enable a better public understanding of their legal rights when cautioned by the police or when invited to make a voluntary attendance at a police station. Experts worked with police forces to develop an app detailing key advice and routes for legal services.
  • Improve the lives of working equids (horses, donkeys and asses) and the communities that depend on them​ to improve the quality of life in Central America.
  • ​Change attitudes to the care for elderly people in Zimbabwe. With a growing elderly population care for the elderly is an increasingly urgent problem in Zimbabwe. This project works with traditional community leaders to change attitudes to how the elderly population is treated and how their care needs can be provided for.
  • Looks at how economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit is affecting businesses across all regions and industries in the UK using data from the Decision Maker Panel, in collaboration with the Bank of England and Stanford University.
  • Measures management practices and their impact on UK productivity using a new Management and Expectations Survey, run jointly with the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence and the Office for National Statistics

Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC said: “This next generation of IAA funding will enable research organisations to build the capacity, capability and opportunity for social scientists to play their part in ensuring the UK’s world leading research is brought to bear on the pressing social and economic challenges and opportunities we face.”


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