Taking a stand against bullying: Addressing mental health problems from within

by Louise Arseneault

Many people have childhood memories of being pushed around and being punched by other pupils when we felt you couldn’t retaliate. They may also remember being the topic of nasty rumours or being excluded by others. Unfortunately, being bullied is not an unusual experience, even today.

Similar to maltreatment, bullying involves abusive behaviours where it is more difficult for the victims to defend themselves. But in contrast to maltreatment, these abusive behaviours are perpetrated by others of the same age. The research I have been conducting for the past 15 years – alongside great collaborators – emphasises the importance of moving away from the common perception that bullying is a just an unavoidable part of growing up.

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How to collaborate with local government – lessons from LARIA

Jasmin 150pxJasmin Fox-Skelly is a freelance science writer based in Cardiff. She writes for publications such as New Scientist, BBC Earth and Sky at Night.

Jasmin recently spoke to academics who attended the LARIA conference in May, asking them about their ‘tips for collaboration’ with local government.

Earlier this year the ESRC funded five academics from UK universities to attend the Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) conference.

LARIA is a membership body for analysts and policy officers working in local government across the UK – the city, metropolitan and borough councils that deliver public services to citizens in a particular area. The LARIA annual conference is an opportunity for people working in the public sector (local government, local authorities and councils) to come together and talk about what research they are doing, what challenges they are facing, and share tips and guidance on best practice.

The ESRC-sponsored academics attending the conference were able to learn about how ‘the other side works’ – in other words, what research needs public sector organisations have, what sort of research they do, whether there are any differences or similarities in the way they work, and if there are any opportunities for collaboration. Continue reading

The nuclear option

andy-stirlingAndy Stirling, professor of science and technology policy at the University of Sussex and co-director of the ESRC-funded STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability), argues that social science can play a vital role in unpicking policy arguments to challenge the real reasons behind nuclear energy decisions

Social science can play many useful roles in controversies over science and technology. The tricky bit is that what counts as ‘useful’ in any policy debate will often depend on the perspective. After all, it is inherent to democracy that different values and interests yield contrasting conclusions. This is especially so in controversies like the current one bubbling away around intense UK Government commitments to nuclear power. Continue reading