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Public Policy and Engagement
Many of the researchers within PPR have put their research skills, knowledge and expertise to use in directing, advising and influencing public policy, and in applying their research in various forms of public engagement. Here are some examples:
Linda Woodhead and Rebecca Catto
Linda Woodhead has received many requests to speak about the policy-implications of her work on contemporary religion and values, including from: Horizon Scanning Centre (Govt Office for Science); Office for Security and Counter Terrorism; Ministry of Defence, DCDC ‘Strategic Trends’ Unit, Shrivenham Defence Academy; Department of Communities and Local Government (research team, led by Stella Yarrow); Carnegie Trust and Eurasia Foundation; Home Office; Atlantic Consultation on Religion in Public Life, St George’s Windsor; New Scotland Yard.
Between February and May 2012 with, Visiting Prof in Faith and Politics the Rt Hon Charles co-operation with the think tank Theos, Woodhead and Catto have organised a series of high profile debates at 61 Whitehall. They have brought together academics and public figures including Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Richard Dawkins and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali in order to open up debate about the place of religion in public life today. The series has been funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme (directed by Linda Woodhead), which has over the last five years supported more than 200 academic researchers across the UK. Award holders have presented key findings at the debates to an audience comprising MPs, peers, senior civil servants, journalists, third sector workers, think tank researchers, teachers, members of religious communities and academics.
Media coverage from the series has been extensive: e.g. the February debate on faith in schools led to headlines in The Daily Mail, The Guardian, BBC News plus live discussion with academic presenter James Conroy on BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and Three Counties. The Tablet has run one of the academic papers for each event, and after every debate two of the speakers have participated in a live phone in discussion on LBC Radio. Access media coverage, watch the video and download the podcasts and academic presentations from here: http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk/faith_debates
Kim Knott has worked with the Citizenship Foundation, Runnymede Trust and National Maritime Museum to disseminate research from the AHRC Diasporas, Migration and Identities Programme (which she directed from 2005-11). A website and popular book on Moving People, Changing Places were produced, including resources for teachers and pupils of Citizenship, History and Geography (Key Stages 3/4): www.movingpeoplechangingplaces.org. She has contributed to events organised by the Institute of Ideas, as a panellist at the 'Global Uncertainties Question Time' in 2010, and as a judge at the 2011 regional and national finals of ‘Debating Matters’, adjudicating on public debates among young people on open border policies for migrants and banning the burqa. In February 2012 she was an invited contributor to the Westminster Faith Debates, speaking on religious identity in super-diverse Britain (organised by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme with Theos): http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk/faith_debates/identity
She is a member of the Runnymede Trust’s academic forum.
She has worked with many other external partners including the Home Office, Tate Britain, NHS Leeds Chaplaincy, Yorkshire and Humber Assembly, Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum, Leeds Neighbourhood Policing Team, Leeds Church Institute, West Yorkshire Prison Chaplaincy Service, Active Faith Communities Programme, and the International Organisation for Migration. In recent years she contributed to a feasibility consultation on the formation of an independent, foundation-funded Centre for Media and Religion, and to equality and diversity training for English Heritage and public bodies in Yorkshire and Humberside. She co-founded Arts Engaged, a research innovation and impact centre at the University of Leeds, before joining Lancaster University in 2012.
Garrath Williams has been involved in a series of European projects on health, with a specific focus on ethics and public policy. He is currently Principal Investigator at Lancaster for the project I.Family - Determinants of eating behaviour in European children, adolescents and their parents, funded by the EU under Framework 7 from 2012 to 2017. Coordinated by Wolfgang Ahrens at Bremen University, this major collaborative project investigates the determinants of dietary and health-related behaviours in a large cohort of European families. Lancaster University is responsible for ethical aspects, policy implications and stakeholder involvement, and Garrath sits on the project steering committee both as a chair and co-chair.
I.Family follows an earlier project, IDEFICS - Identification and prevention of dietary and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants, funded by the EU under Framework 6 from 2007 to 2012. This was an epidemiological and intervention project on childhood obesity, involving over 16,000 children. Lancaster's contribution focussed on the ethical and public policy dimensions of the study and its findings, and Garrath continues to lead research in this area as part of the follow-up I.Family project. Earlier projects in which he was involved include INES - Institutionalisation of Ethics in Science Policy (FP6) and Eurogenbank (FP4), on genetic banking.
Mairi Levitt is a member of the government's Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel - http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/about/gov/panels/bs_intro.html, leads a project on the public policy implications of research in behavioural genetics, 'Criminal' genes and public policy' and has undertaken schools based research on human enhancement and the inclusion of children on the National DNA database.
Neil Manson was an invited member of the NHS Organ Donation Taskforce 'Ethics Working Group', working on issues to do with consent for organ donation and has been an invited participant in workshops with, amongst others, Human Tissue Authority (on directed deceased (organ) donation); Nuffield Council on Bioethics (fact-finding meeting on (ethics of) dementia); AHRC/Human Genetics Commission (Understanding Genetic Discrimination). In 2012 he was invited to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press (his evidence is here).
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