Quincunx: revealing patterns of funding

alex-hulkes-150Alex Hulkes is Strategic Lead for Insights at the ESRC, and is responsible for developing our ability to evaluate and carry out data-informed analysis of ESRC investments, policy and operation.

Here he outlines the latest analysis from ESRC on funding distribution, funding concentration and the size of the ESRC applicant population.

No, it’s not ESRC Scrabble day (243 points to us though). The quincunx, or ‘bean machine’, demonstrates the way in which the cumulative results of many small effects can create striking patterns in distributions of outcomes. Along these lines there are three new analyses which seek to explain how the resources we provide come to be shared the way that they are shared. Continue reading

Is firm innovation only about top skills?

GMason 150.jpgGeoff Mason is Visiting Professor at the ESRC-funded Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education

Skills are a recurrent theme in the government’s Industrial Strategy, and are widely recognised as central to firms’ ‘absorptive capacity’ (AC) – their ability to effectively identify and use knowledge, ideas and technologies that are produced elsewhere. But what are the specific types of education and skills that contribute most to the development of AC, and subsequently to innovation and productivity growth? Continue reading

Are women ‘real’ sports fans? The importance of sport for female fans

Stacey Pope 150.jpgStacey Pope is an Associate Professor in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University.

Her research focuses upon issues of gender inequality and sport and her research expertise is in the area of female sports fans. Her book The Feminization of Sports Fandom: A Sociological Study was recently published by Routledge.

If you’re a female fan of football or rugby, don’t expect a level playing field when it comes to being a supporter. Female football and rugby union fans in my research discuss how they have to routinely ‘prove’ their status as ‘real’ fans – usually to male supporters. Common stereotypes of female sports fans have included that they lack sporting knowledge, are only interested in the sexual attractiveness of (male) star players and are not as passionate or committed as male fans. Media coverage also typically represents women in subordinate ways; for example, a cursory internet search for ‘female fans’ brings up numerous sexualised images, doing little to challenge the perceptions of women as inferior sports fans. Continue reading

Learning to like robots

Sabine Hauert is Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Bristol, and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. She’s also the President and co-founder of Robohub.org.Sabine Hauert 150.jpg

Robots hold the potential to improve the way we work, live, and explore new frontiers. But their success will depend on our ability to dehype the technology so that we can have a meaningful discussion about how the benefits will be shared by all. Continue reading