Love Actually… is more expensive than it was pre-Brexit

Iain Begg is a Professorial Research Fellow at the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Senior Fellow on the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

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As Lysander put it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’. Now it also has to contend with the consequences of the Brexit vote. The fall in the pound since the referendum means that any commodities for which there is a world price, often denominated in dollars, suddenly became more expensive. This applies to oil and many other raw materials, but also to those two essential ingredients of the engagement ring: gold and diamonds. Continue reading

The rejected experts

‘Why was the evidence of academic experts ignored in the run-up to the Brexit result? And what can academics do about it?’ asks Matthew Flinders, Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield.

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One of the most interesting and worrying elements of the Brexit debate was the manner in which expert opinion was to some extent dismissed and sidelined in favour of more emotive arguments. Continue reading

The importance of voluntary sector research

Dan Corry is Chief Executive of charity think tank and consultancy NPC, following a varied career in public policy and economics. He was a member of the ESRC’s Research Committee until September 2016.

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I have recently finished a four-year stint as a member of the ESRC Research Committee. Although much of the time my skills as an economist and former policymaker were the most useful in helping the work of the committee, I was really there to try and represent the voluntary sector and see if we could get more research about the way civil society works funded, carried out and communicated. Continue reading

Genetics, technology, security and justice: the social life of DNA

matthias-wienroth-150Dr Matthias Wienroth is researcher and knowledge broker at the interface of the sociology of science and technology, public and policy engagement, ethics, and governance studies. He is part of the FP7 European Forensic Genetics (EUROFORGEN) Network of Excellence and Research Fellow at Northumbria University; he is also Visiting Researcher at the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre, Newcastle University.

Here, in the latest of our biosocial blog series, he discusses the role of DNA and the research discussed in the ESRC-funded seminar series ‘Genetics, technology, security and justice: Crossing, contesting and comparing boundaries’

DNA evidence is often portrayed as vital to criminal investigations and trials. Just over 30 years ago, in 1984, Alec Jeffreys and his team at Leicester University discovered DNA profiling. In its first application it helped to exonerate one suspect and then build the case for the conviction of another. Today, DNA analysis is often perceived to be the ‘gold standard’ for evidence. Continue reading

Application and award success rates – what the data tells us

Alex 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 highlights why we publish our application and award data, and what conclusions we might be able to draw from it.

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You may have noticed that we’ve just published a new set of application and award data showing the number of applications and awards from each research organisation (RO) that has applied for ESRC funding in the last five financial years. The set also contains similar data on numbers of applications and awards based on the research disciplines used to classify grants. Continue reading