Guidelines for pedestrian crossing speeds may disadvantage older people

Elizabeth Webb

Elizabeth Webb is a lecturer in gerontology at the University of Southampton, a member of the ESRC’s International Centre for Lifecourse Studies and principal investigator of an ESRC grant to investigate causes and consequences of caregiving in later life. She has an interest in older people’s physical capability and use of transport.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is consulting on new draft guidelines on environmental changes which should be made to support people to be physically active. The consultation caught my eye, since it directly relates to some ESRC funded research I recently published with colleagues.

The draft NICE guidelines state that local authorities should ensure pedestrian crossings give people with limited mobility enough time to cross the road. This is a laudable aim, however I want to emphasise that the current guidelines for crossing speeds don’t just disadvantage people who would be thought of as having limited mobility, but a large majority of the UK’s older population.

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Social science research can address the challenges mental health poses for our society

Louise Arseneault 150px.jpgLouise Arseneault, Professor of Developmental Psychology at King’s College London, was appointed to the new role of ESRC Mental Health Leadership Fellow in autumn 2016.

Throughout the three year fellowship, Professor Arseneault will play a vital role in championing the role of the social sciences within mental health research.

This is an exciting time for people involved in mental health research. There hasn’t been such interest around the importance and relevance of mental health in society for a long time. And this is especially exciting for me as the ESRC Mental Health Leadership Fellow. Continue reading

Making the world a happier place

Professor Lord Richard Layard directs the Wellbeing Programme at the ESRC Centre for Economic Performance, and has made major contributions on unemployment, inflation, inequality and post-Communist reform. Author of the influential book Happiness, he currently works on how to produce a happier society and advises the UK government on mental health policy.

Professor Lord Richard Layard

Why did you pursue an academic career?

I never meant to. I was teaching in a comprehensive school and going to evening classes at the London School of Economics (LSE). Through the LSE connection I was asked to be the research officer for the Robbins Committee (Committee on Higher Education, 1961), and after that I was offered a research job at LSE. Continue reading

From research to creating social change through art and engagement

Celia Kitzinger (University of York) and Jenny Kitzinger (Cardiff University) Co-Directors of the Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre and joint winners of the ESRC’s Outstanding Impact in Society Award, 2015.

Professor Jenny Kitzinger and Professor Celia Kitzinger

Running into the office last week carrying a bundle of eight foot bamboo poles, along with a picnic blanket, an iron and a bag of sand, we reflected on the changing role of the academic. Continue reading