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26 Projects, page 1 of 3

  • Canada
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • UKRI|ESRC

10
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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/J019631/1
    Funder Contribution: 25,068 GBP
    Partners: LU, NUIG, Leach Rhodes Walker Architects, Manchester City Council, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, OU, University of Alberta, Max Planck, UvA, MMU...

    The World Health Organization (WHO) model of 'age-friendly cities' emphasizes the theme of supportive urban environments for older citizens. These defined as encouraging 'active ageing' by 'optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age' (WHO, Global Age-friendly Cities, 2007). The goal of establishing age-friendly cities should be seen in the context of pressures arising from population ageing and urbanisation. By 2030, two-thirds of the world's population will reside in cities, with - for urban areas in high-income countries - at least one-quarter of their populations aged 60 and over. This development raises important issues for older people: To what extent will cities develop as age-friendly communities? Will so-called global cities integrate or segregate their ageing populations? What kind of variations might occur across different types of urban areas? How are different groups of older people affected by urban change? The 'age-friendly' city perspective has been influential in raising awareness about the impact of population ageing. Against this, the value of this approach has yet to be assessed in the context of modern cities influenced by pressures associated with global social and economic change. The IPNS has four main objectives: first, to build a collaborative research-based network focused on understanding population ageing in the context of urban environments; second to develop a research proposal for a cross-national study examining different approaches to building age-friendly cities; third to provide a systematic review of data sets and other resources of relevance to developing a research proposal on age-friendly cities; fourth, to develop training for early career resarchers working on ageing and urban issues. The network represents the first attempt to facilitate comparative research on the issue of age-friendly cities. It builds upon two meetings held at the Universities of Keele and Manchester in 2011 that sought to establish the basis for cross-national work around the 'age-friendly' theme. The IPNS represents brings together world class research groups in Europe, Hong Kong and North America, professionals concerned with urban design and architecture, and leading NGOs working in the field of ageing. A range of activities have been identified over the two-year funding period: (1) Preparation of research proposals for a cross-national study of approaches to developing age-friendly urban environments. (2) Two workshops to specify theoretical and methodological issues raised by demographic change and urbanisation. (3) A Summer School exploring links between data resources of potential relevance to the ageing and urbanisation theme and which might underpin research proposals. (4) Master classes for network members from key researchers in the field of urbanisation and ageing. (5) A workshop with a user-based theme developing older people's participation in research on building age-friendly communities. (6) Themed workshops (face-to-face and via video-link) to identify research and policy gaps drawing on inter-disciplinary perspectives The IPNS will be sustained in a variety of ways at the end of the funding period. A collaborative research proposal as well as one to maintain the network will be major outputs from the project and work with potential funding bodies will continue after 2014. Dissemination activities will continue through professional networks, symposia at major international conferences, and involvement in expert meetings. The project will continue to be advertised through the maintenance of a website maintained by the host UK HEI. The project will continue to make a contribution to policy development around the theme of age-friendly cities, notably with the main NGOs working in the field.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K000594/1
    Funder Contribution: 46,937 GBP
    Partners: Ateneo de Manila University, UBC, University of Glasgow, Philippine Education Theater Association, PWC-BC

    Developed in a four-year partnership between geographers, migrant advocacy organisations and professional theatre artists, this proposed research seeks to generate substantive, transnational debate on the policies of temporary migrant labour and the politics of domestic caregiving in the United Kingdom, Canada and Philippines. Our work responds directly to the way the old paradigm of permanent immigrant settlement is giving way to temporary or circular migration, and we engage issues related directly to Canada's Live-In Caregiver Program and the current restructuring of immigration policy in the United Kingdom. We suggest the scope of our knowledge exchange (KE) activities is necessary because labour migration from the global south to global north is a transnational issue, and as such, we must reconfigure the scale at which discussions of justice, rights, care and need take place. This project represents an unusual and creative instance of knowledge exchange that disseminates conventional social science in a novel way. We are proposing to take a testimonial theatre production (entitled Nanay) to Manila to bring the experiences of Filipino caregivers into conversation with debates happening within the Philippines. Written as a knowledge vehicle, Nanay transforms traditional qualitative research transcripts into testimonial theatre; our script is based entirely on verbatim monologues taken from interviews conducted over a fifteen year period with Filipino domestic workers, their children, employers, and nanny agents. As social scientists, we turned to testimonial theatre because its embodied quality offers space in which to encourage audiences to think about the world differently, to temporarily suspend judgment, and to extend the terrain of political discussion on temporary migrant labour and the ethics of care in productive ways. The project thus offers one instance where social science has been translated in order to devise affective ways of putting research into greater public debate. Following our KE activities in the Philippines, we will conduct a series of public forums in the cities of Glasgow, London, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. These forums will be designed to bring together policy makers, migrant advocacy groups, and researchers in order for us to report on the debates that took place in the Philippines, and to facilitate dialogue on immigration policy and the precarity of migrant workers in the United Kingdom and Canada. In the Philippines, we will be working with members of the Ateno de Manila University; in Canada, we will continue our long-standing partnership with the Philippine Women Centre of British Columbia; and in the United Kingdom, these activities will be orchestrated in collaboration with the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum, and Migration Network, and London's Kalayaan centre. Our development of innovative KE pedagogy and collaborations with advocacy groups is motivated by the desire to create new ways to affect change and to produce opportunities in which we can model (and not just profess) a more egalitarian space for political debate.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/J010707/1
    Funder Contribution: 70,671 GBP
    Partners: Cardiff University, Forum of Federations

    The knowledge exchange will facilitate the development of a network of policy makers and practitioners who will work with social science researchers to analyse and respond to the challenges of performance assessment in public services. A series of studies of performance assessment in public services over the last decade have identified the hitherto largely untapped potential for policy learning between countries (Nutley et al. 2011). Our knowledge exchange activities will aim to facilitate policy learning between the UK, Canada and Australia. It will use theoretical frameworks developed in the course of previous research - in particular, regime theory and the concept of theories of improvement which underpin assessment frameworks (Downe et al. 2010), the alternative co-operative versus competitive approaches (Fenna 2010), and the UK experience of 'voluntary' comparative benchmarking (Grace 2010) - to apply to current challenges including reductions in public expenditure and the issue of how to assess innovation and the capacity for continuous change and improvement. The proposed programme will apply these concepts to assist policy makers and practitioners in analysing and addressing current challenges in the UK and internationally. It will offer five inter related sets of activities: 1. International events - we will convene three international conferences, one each in the UK, Canada and Australia. The conferences will bring together policy makers and practitioners from the UK as well as OECD-type federal countries and the EU to learn from each other. The events will: - Raise awareness of the knowledge exchange at senior levels. - Encourage policy transfer and debate between countries. - Generate feedback into the wider programme of international learning and comparison. - Help design the UK seminars. - Help to identify and motivate key stakeholders to be involved in future events. - Inform the policy briefing on best practice. After each event the applicants will write a summary of the main emerging issues and lessons learnt which will be fed back both to individual participants and to their organisations, to help encourage knowledge exchange. 2. Seminars - we will use our excellent networks built from previous research, to work with a small group of policy makers/practitioners in each country of the UK to co-produce the design of the seminars and the participant list - three in England and one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each seminar will involve 15 to 20 participants including senior policy makers, public services practitioners and academics. The seminars will provide opportunities for facilitated analyses of existing approaches to performance assessment and the challenges currently facing policy makers and practitioners. As with the conferences, the applicants will write up a summary of the seminars for distribution to all participants. 3. Network - the conferences and seminars will create a network of policy makers, practitioners and researchers who will be invited to inform the design and co-produce subsequent research on the effectiveness of emerging performance assessment frameworks. 4. Policy Briefing - this will provide a review of international performance assessment written specifically for a policy and practitioner audience and distributed widely via the web, professional associations and other media. It will draw on existing research knowledge and will draw together lessons from the conferences and seminars to highlight best practice from across the world. 5. Dissemination exchange workshops - these will draw upon early versions of the policy briefing involving one of the research team delivering presentations at pre-existing events of professional, local government, and consumer bodies. We will deliver ten workshops across the four countries (five in England, two each in Scotland and Wales and one in Northern Ireland).

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K011138/1
    Funder Contribution: 144,591 GBP
    Partners: AGE UK, KI, University of Toronto, SFU, University of Sheffield, Sanctuary Care (Sanctuary Housing Assoc)

    As people across the world live longer, there is a growing need to support active ageing so that the extra years of life can be lived as well as possible. The potential of technology to assist people in all aspects of their lives is increasingly being recognised. Ambient Assistive Living (AAL) technologies refer to items that people can use in their everyday lives to make life easier and help them manage their daily activities. To enable the maximum number of people to benefit from current and future AAL technologies requires not only a good understanding of the needs of older adults but also a comprehensive analysis of how they view technology, their attitudes towards using it and how they make decisions about purchasing and using technology. Social and cultural factors can influence these issues and so this project aims to work with older adults across three different countries to explore their needs, attitudes and behaviour towards novel technologies. The project team brings together experts in gerontology, engineering, occupational therapy and psychology from the UK, Canada and Sweden to work with older adults to address their current and future needs for technology to support them to live their lives as well as possible. The project comprises several complementary elements that will be carried out in parallel within the three countries. The first element is a user needs analysis to examine the older adults' requirements in relation to AAL technologies, including those people who need support with cognitive activities, physical activities or motor activities. The findings from this stage will determine the development of novel AAL technologies in the next stage to address various aspects of daily life, such as shopping or cooking, supporting people with activities they need to remember, such as taking medication and keeping in touch with people. These novel technologies will be piloted with older adults in each of the three countries to examine how they respond to and explore them to inform future developments. Additionally, we will look at how to support people to learn to use new technologies and incorporate them into their lives to help them live as well as possible.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/T015195/1
    Funder Contribution: 133,706 GBP
    Partners: Coventry University, SFU, University Lodz, Federal University of Amazonas, Warsaw School of Economics

    Increasing concerns over the environmental impact of plastic single-use packaging have reached a critical juncture. Mumbai-one the largest cities in India-implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags, plastic cups and plastic bottles, with a stiff penalty (5000 rupees) or up to three months in jail for those vendors caught selling these products (Dhillon, 2018). From a corporate initiative, IKEA, has recently adopted biodegradable packaging made from mycelium (mushroom), which mimics the texture of polystyrene (Lempert, 2018). With growing awareness of the negative environmental impacts of petroleum-based packaging, the trend towards adopting bio-based products has increased. Currently, the highest demand for bio-based packaging is situated within the food industry. In a recent meeting of the World Economic Forum, it is claimed that biodegradable packaging is good for the economy and the environment. However, while bio-based packaging may be seen as a "disruptive innovation", there is a lack of studies exploring the social and environmental implications of this product. For example, bioplastic packaging is hard to distinguish from its plastic counterpart, resulting in contamination and waste management issues at a municipal level (UNEP, 2015). As such, the adoption of this product becomes a "wicked problem" as it is seemingly impossible to solve due to the numerous interdependent factors that simultaneously impact solutions. To address this issue, four research partners consisting of the UK, Canada, Brazil and Poland, will implement four collaborative social innovation labs. A social innovation methodology is critical to better understand how bio-based packaging innovation will impact the environment and diverse stakeholders across the supply chain, especially as it relates to food security, waste infrastructure, formal and informal waste collectors, consumers, vendors, food producers, and policymakers.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K001973/1
    Funder Contribution: 163,724 GBP
    Partners: University of Glasgow, University of Alberta, UCLA

    With rapid globalisation, cross-cultural communication is integral to modern society, with mutual understanding of emotions key to successful social interaction. Yet, some cultures misinterpret facial expressions, challenging the widely accepted 'universal language of emotion.' My research aims to understand the complexities of cross-cultural emotion communication. Focusing on the decoding of facial expressions, I showed in Current Biology that East Asian (EA) groups misinterpret facial expressions due to a culture-specific decoding strategy that selects ambiguous eye information. Refuting universality, my work elicited worldwide interest (Discovery Channel Magazine, National Geographic, BBC News Front Page). In Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, I then showed that Western Caucasian (WC) and EA groups mentally represent emotions using distinct expressive features. Building on these data further, I used state-of-the-art facial animation technology to construct 4-D mental models of the 6 basic facial expressions of emotions in each culture. Here, I show culture-specific patterns of facial signals (i.e., EA signal emotional intensity with early eye activity) and that emotion is not universally organized into 6 basic categories. These data refute universality, highlighting the need to bridge knowledge gaps. During the grant, I aim to bridge these gaps by conducting the following set of experiments: 1. Conceptual landscape of emotions. The 6 basic emotions are not universal, but WC-specific. Using hierarchical semantic network reconstruction tools, I will map the conceptual organisation of emotion words to reveal the main emotion categories central for social interaction in WC and EA culture. 2. Spectrum of culture-specific facial expressions. Using the emotion terms above and the 4-D facial animation platform, I will reconstruct 4-D models of a spectrum of socially relevant facial expressions in each culture. Using established analysis tools I will precisely identify the facial signals that characterise culture-specific facial expressions. 3. Cross-cultural emotion recognition. Current facial expression stimuli are recognised only by WC cultures, so do not universally represent emotion, limiting knowledge of cross-cultural emotion communication. Providing a broad spectrum of culture-specific 4-D facial expression models will greatly improve current stimuli, including the first ever set of EA valid facial expressions. Thus, I will conduct a previously impossible fully balanced examination of same- and other-culture facial expression recognition, using eye-tracking to identify the facial signals supporting emotion recognition and creating confusion across cultural boundaries. 4. In-group advantage. The 4-D stimuli can flexibly interchange race of face with cultural emotions (e.g., EA emotion on a WC face). By isolating the effects of two group identifiers (race and cultural emotions) on emotion recognition, I will address key questions in the in-group advantage theory. Applications & Benefits. My data will have broad implications for science and society. Science. Providing a full account of cross-cultural emotion communication will bridge knowledge gaps and re-ignite key Social Psychology topics. Improved stimuli will advance research on emotion processing at the behavioural and brain level. More broadly, Computer Science (e.g., Human-Robot Interaction) will gain practical benefits from improved models of human emotion, extending to the commercial gaming industry and the digital economy in developing avatars and companion robots. Society. Worldwide interest in my research shows that society highly values cross-cultural interactions. Providing advice on culture-specific emotions will improve social communication, fostering healthy relations across society. My data will make a timely contribution to the rapidly evolving communication needs of society with great benefits for the economic performance of the UK.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/X010864/1
    Funder Contribution: 503,043 GBP
    Partners: University of Kent, Forum of Federations

    Negotiated peace settlements are at the cornerstone of international relations, peace-making, and democratic governance. In conflict zones and deeply divided societies around the world, from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Burundi to Cyprus and Syria, international third-party conflict mediators frequently recommend power-sharing between rival ethnic groups as a means of ending wars and building peace. Yet we still know very little about whether past and current proposals (e.g., by the UN) are seen as acceptable from a citizens' perspective or about how precisely to negotiate, implement, and adapt the most advantageous trade-offs among parties in conflict. Answering these questions is critical to ensure the durability of peace processes, the consolidation of democracy, and potentially the restoration of multi-ethnic societies. In INCLUSIVEPEACE, we propose a comparative and multi-methods research program that investigates how power-sharing settlements emerge, perform, and evolve. We specifically aim to address two common critiques in the study of power-sharing settlements focusing on adoptability and adaptability. First, power-sharing settlements cannot be easily negotiated and adopted and are often negotiated between political elites, excluding the wider society. Secondly, when they are adopted, parties struggle to renegotiate, adapt, or even identify their most problematic provisions, while citizens are given little opportunity to effect change in the new political arrangement. We will address these critiques by using qualitative approaches, including archival research and elite interviews as well as quantitative methods, including experiments and longitudinal public opinion surveys focusing on citizens, community leaders, and government policies in six representative cases around the world.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/T015365/1
    Funder Contribution: 161,773 GBP
    Partners: Université Concordia, Heidelberg University, Carleton University, VUA, University of the Arts London, Tate

    Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation is a collaborative research project and transnational platform designed to foster more resilient public cultures and institutions to address the challenges of populist nationalisms and global migrations in pluralist democracies. This project focuses on the global dimensions of contemporary public culture and applies its findings on social innovation in the higher education, museum, and cultural sectors. It proposes worlding (Heidegger 2002 [1950];Spivak 1985; Hunt 2014; Cheah 2016) or the situated-ness of world-making, as an activating concept and analytical tool. Going beyond current top-down models of "inclusion," "diversity" and other representations of the "global," the concept of worlding grounds the global within local worlds and allows entangled histories to emerge, opening pathways to decolonize "universal" Western narratives and epistemologies. Through a series of academies in collaboration with public institutions (National Gallery of Canada; Tate Modern; National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands; Tate Modern; Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin) this project is designed to enable transatlantic, multisectoral and public knowledge sharing between those working in and on different geocultural contexts. Worlding Public Cultures will culminate in a website of baseline data, two peer-reviewed volumes and two collaboratively written white papers on pedagogy and curating in a global context. Furthermore, it will play an important role in developing the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network. Ultimately, by conducting research on and for institutions of public culture, this project will be an agent of social innovation that impacts how the global is theorized, making concrete recommendations for the education and museum sectors and, ultimately, contributing to the creation of a more resilient society with more elastic models of social cohesion through changes in public discourse.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/S012567/1
    Funder Contribution: 6,348,700 GBP
    Partners: McGill University, DePaul University, KCL, Central Inst of Mental Health Mannheim

    The ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health will bring about significant advancements in our understanding of how social, economic and cultural transformations affect mental health. Mental health is a priority for governments and policy makers, in areas ranging from economic productivity to community cohesion and individual wellbeing. It is also intrinsically social: the factors that promote mental health or lead to mental health problems lie in our societies, our schools, our workplaces, our communities, and in the nature of our contemporary social lives. The impacts of social contexts, inequalities, and experiences on mental health differ by social group and vary geographically. We are living through a period of rapid and far-reaching change, in our environments (physical, social, virtual), social organisation (including issues around urbanisation, cohesion, exclusion, marginalisation and disadvantage), technological change (and its impact on relationships and employment), and social policy in the contexts of education, work and welfare. Yet we do not know enough about which dimensions of our social, economic, cultural and personal lives affect our mental health, how, or by what means they might be modified. As such, we do not have evidence-based policies to address these challenges and to understand the nature and role of particular social and economic stressors on mental health, nor an understanding of the individual and social factors that enhance resilience. The Centre will bring together expertise across social science, epidemiology, psychiatry, neuroscience, patient and public involvement, and policy analysis, to ask: What are the consequences for mental health, positive and negative, of major contemporary social transformations? What social, economic and health policies can support improvements in individual and community resilience to mental health problems? We will pose, respond to and answer these and other key questions through coordinated programmes of theoretically-informed, empirically-evidenced, interdisciplinary research. These will be defined and delivered in partnership with affected communities, mental health service users, government departments, local authorities, schools and colleges, community organisations, mental health charities, and social and economic policy makers. We will collaborate with leading research groups working on these issues in other countries, and with existing UKRI-funded research infrastructure. We will evaluate existing interventions, apply novel concepts, and develop innovative methods for understanding the relationship between mental health and social experiences. The Centre will carry out programmes of research across three key areas where social, cultural and economic transformations have produced substantial challenges, and which could benefit from intervention: 1) rising mental health problems among young people; 2) increasingly unequal rates of mental health problems in disadvantaged communities; and 3) the negative effects on mental health of changes in the security of work and the provision of welfare. For each, we will seek to understand mental health trajectories (how problems develop over the life course), ecologies (how social and material environments influence outcomes), and vulnerabilities and resiliencies (why some individuals and groups in adverse social contexts experience mental health problems while others do not). Our research will identify the factors that amplify or attenuate the impact of social transformation on mental health, and the social, economic and health policies that can support mental health in individuals and populations. We will train a new generation of genuinely interdisciplinary social scientists equipped with the knowledge, the skills and commitments to help governments, policy makers and communities, not just to better support those with mental health problems, but to create mentally healthy societies for the future.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/N000501/2
    Funder Contribution: 98,615 GBP
    Partners: York University Canada, NTU, Newcastle University, University of Cambridge

    Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) are a diverse group of developmental brain conditions that cause difficulties in communication, social interaction, unusually narrow interests and difficulties adapting to change. One in 100 people (700,000 in the UK) have an ASC, most of whom are adults. A majority of the total economic cost of ASC to the UK is spent on supporting adults (£25 billion out of a total of £28 billion), with 36% of this cost attributable to lost employment opportunities (Knapp et al. 2009). The individual and social costs of ASC in adulthood are also high, with research showing poor outcomes in terms of educational attainment, unemployment (Howlin, 2000), and high rates of depression (32%), suicidal thoughts (66%) and suicidal behaviours (35%) (Cassidy et al. 2014). The latest reports from the ESRC Centre for Economic Performance, and the Chief Medical Officer, describe the high individual, social and economic costs of leaving mental health problems such as depression untreated. However, there are no valid measures of depression or suicide risk for adults with ASC, despite evidence that these are common problems (Cassidy et al. 2014; Segers and Rawana, 2014). Measures for typically developing adults are not appropriate for adults with ASC, who tend to interpret questions literally (Happe et al. 1995), and have difficulty verbalising their emotional experiences (Bird et al. 2010). Depression and suicidality also manifest differently in ASC; inflexible thinking and impulsivity may increase risk (Cassidy et al. 2014). In addition to lack of appropriate measures, research progress is also hampered by the lack of a data set that includes enough adults with ASC to effectively evaluate their rates of depression and suicidality on a national scale; the UK adult psychiatric morbidity survey (2007) only included 19 adults with ASC. The lack of research and appropriate measures have had a profoundly negative impact on adults with ASC; 1) it is not possible to conduct detailed research into the nature, risk or protective factors for depression or suicidality in adults with ASC; 2) it is not possible to effectively assess their depression or suicide risk in clinical practice; 3) without the knowledge base or assessment tools, new theories and effective evidence based treatments cannot be developed or evaluated; 4) we cannot effectively evaluate the prevalence of depression or suicidality on a national scale, in order to inform effective government policy. Hence, adults with ASC are not currently able to access evidence based assessment or therapies for depression or suicidality, despite being at potentially high risk. This research project will address these fundamental issues by developing the first empirically validated measures of depression and suicidality for adults with ASC, for use in a national survey. This will form the first nationally representative dataset containing rates of depression and suicidality in adults with ASC in the UK, made available for secondary analysis. These objectives will be achieved by creating synergy between psychiatrists and clinicians involved in ageing, autism, suicide, mental health and risk assessment research, across internationally recognized institutions (Universities of Coventry, Newcastle, and Cambridge). This research will build on my previously published research, which has utilized big data to explore the health and behaviour of adults with ASC, including the first large-scale clinic study of depression and suicidality in adults with late diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (a high functioning subgroup on the autism spectrum) (Cassidy et al., 2014). This project will enable me to foster a new inter-disciplinary mixed-methods approach to the study of mental health in ASC, which I will continue to lead beyond the funding period.

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26 Projects, page 1 of 3
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/J019631/1
    Funder Contribution: 25,068 GBP
    Partners: LU, NUIG, Leach Rhodes Walker Architects, Manchester City Council, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, OU, University of Alberta, Max Planck, UvA, MMU...

    The World Health Organization (WHO) model of 'age-friendly cities' emphasizes the theme of supportive urban environments for older citizens. These defined as encouraging 'active ageing' by 'optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age' (WHO, Global Age-friendly Cities, 2007). The goal of establishing age-friendly cities should be seen in the context of pressures arising from population ageing and urbanisation. By 2030, two-thirds of the world's population will reside in cities, with - for urban areas in high-income countries - at least one-quarter of their populations aged 60 and over. This development raises important issues for older people: To what extent will cities develop as age-friendly communities? Will so-called global cities integrate or segregate their ageing populations? What kind of variations might occur across different types of urban areas? How are different groups of older people affected by urban change? The 'age-friendly' city perspective has been influential in raising awareness about the impact of population ageing. Against this, the value of this approach has yet to be assessed in the context of modern cities influenced by pressures associated with global social and economic change. The IPNS has four main objectives: first, to build a collaborative research-based network focused on understanding population ageing in the context of urban environments; second to develop a research proposal for a cross-national study examining different approaches to building age-friendly cities; third to provide a systematic review of data sets and other resources of relevance to developing a research proposal on age-friendly cities; fourth, to develop training for early career resarchers working on ageing and urban issues. The network represents the first attempt to facilitate comparative research on the issue of age-friendly cities. It builds upon two meetings held at the Universities of Keele and Manchester in 2011 that sought to establish the basis for cross-national work around the 'age-friendly' theme. The IPNS represents brings together world class research groups in Europe, Hong Kong and North America, professionals concerned with urban design and architecture, and leading NGOs working in the field of ageing. A range of activities have been identified over the two-year funding period: (1) Preparation of research proposals for a cross-national study of approaches to developing age-friendly urban environments. (2) Two workshops to specify theoretical and methodological issues raised by demographic change and urbanisation. (3) A Summer School exploring links between data resources of potential relevance to the ageing and urbanisation theme and which might underpin research proposals. (4) Master classes for network members from key researchers in the field of urbanisation and ageing. (5) A workshop with a user-based theme developing older people's participation in research on building age-friendly communities. (6) Themed workshops (face-to-face and via video-link) to identify research and policy gaps drawing on inter-disciplinary perspectives The IPNS will be sustained in a variety of ways at the end of the funding period. A collaborative research proposal as well as one to maintain the network will be major outputs from the project and work with potential funding bodies will continue after 2014. Dissemination activities will continue through professional networks, symposia at major international conferences, and involvement in expert meetings. The project will continue to be advertised through the maintenance of a website maintained by the host UK HEI. The project will continue to make a contribution to policy development around the theme of age-friendly cities, notably with the main NGOs working in the field.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K000594/1
    Funder Contribution: 46,937 GBP
    Partners: Ateneo de Manila University, UBC, University of Glasgow, Philippine Education Theater Association, PWC-BC

    Developed in a four-year partnership between geographers, migrant advocacy organisations and professional theatre artists, this proposed research seeks to generate substantive, transnational debate on the policies of temporary migrant labour and the politics of domestic caregiving in the United Kingdom, Canada and Philippines. Our work responds directly to the way the old paradigm of permanent immigrant settlement is giving way to temporary or circular migration, and we engage issues related directly to Canada's Live-In Caregiver Program and the current restructuring of immigration policy in the United Kingdom. We suggest the scope of our knowledge exchange (KE) activities is necessary because labour migration from the global south to global north is a transnational issue, and as such, we must reconfigure the scale at which discussions of justice, rights, care and need take place. This project represents an unusual and creative instance of knowledge exchange that disseminates conventional social science in a novel way. We are proposing to take a testimonial theatre production (entitled Nanay) to Manila to bring the experiences of Filipino caregivers into conversation with debates happening within the Philippines. Written as a knowledge vehicle, Nanay transforms traditional qualitative research transcripts into testimonial theatre; our script is based entirely on verbatim monologues taken from interviews conducted over a fifteen year period with Filipino domestic workers, their children, employers, and nanny agents. As social scientists, we turned to testimonial theatre because its embodied quality offers space in which to encourage audiences to think about the world differently, to temporarily suspend judgment, and to extend the terrain of political discussion on temporary migrant labour and the ethics of care in productive ways. The project thus offers one instance where social science has been translated in order to devise affective ways of putting research into greater public debate. Following our KE activities in the Philippines, we will conduct a series of public forums in the cities of Glasgow, London, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. These forums will be designed to bring together policy makers, migrant advocacy groups, and researchers in order for us to report on the debates that took place in the Philippines, and to facilitate dialogue on immigration policy and the precarity of migrant workers in the United Kingdom and Canada. In the Philippines, we will be working with members of the Ateno de Manila University; in Canada, we will continue our long-standing partnership with the Philippine Women Centre of British Columbia; and in the United Kingdom, these activities will be orchestrated in collaboration with the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum, and Migration Network, and London's Kalayaan centre. Our development of innovative KE pedagogy and collaborations with advocacy groups is motivated by the desire to create new ways to affect change and to produce opportunities in which we can model (and not just profess) a more egalitarian space for political debate.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/J010707/1
    Funder Contribution: 70,671 GBP
    Partners: Cardiff University, Forum of Federations

    The knowledge exchange will facilitate the development of a network of policy makers and practitioners who will work with social science researchers to analyse and respond to the challenges of performance assessment in public services. A series of studies of performance assessment in public services over the last decade have identified the hitherto largely untapped potential for policy learning between countries (Nutley et al. 2011). Our knowledge exchange activities will aim to facilitate policy learning between the UK, Canada and Australia. It will use theoretical frameworks developed in the course of previous research - in particular, regime theory and the concept of theories of improvement which underpin assessment frameworks (Downe et al. 2010), the alternative co-operative versus competitive approaches (Fenna 2010), and the UK experience of 'voluntary' comparative benchmarking (Grace 2010) - to apply to current challenges including reductions in public expenditure and the issue of how to assess innovation and the capacity for continuous change and improvement. The proposed programme will apply these concepts to assist policy makers and practitioners in analysing and addressing current challenges in the UK and internationally. It will offer five inter related sets of activities: 1. International events - we will convene three international conferences, one each in the UK, Canada and Australia. The conferences will bring together policy makers and practitioners from the UK as well as OECD-type federal countries and the EU to learn from each other. The events will: - Raise awareness of the knowledge exchange at senior levels. - Encourage policy transfer and debate between countries. - Generate feedback into the wider programme of international learning and comparison. - Help design the UK seminars. - Help to identify and motivate key stakeholders to be involved in future events. - Inform the policy briefing on best practice. After each event the applicants will write a summary of the main emerging issues and lessons learnt which will be fed back both to individual participants and to their organisations, to help encourage knowledge exchange. 2. Seminars - we will use our excellent networks built from previous research, to work with a small group of policy makers/practitioners in each country of the UK to co-produce the design of the seminars and the participant list - three in England and one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each seminar will involve 15 to 20 participants including senior policy makers, public services practitioners and academics. The seminars will provide opportunities for facilitated analyses of existing approaches to performance assessment and the challenges currently facing policy makers and practitioners. As with the conferences, the applicants will write up a summary of the seminars for distribution to all participants. 3. Network - the conferences and seminars will create a network of policy makers, practitioners and researchers who will be invited to inform the design and co-produce subsequent research on the effectiveness of emerging performance assessment frameworks. 4. Policy Briefing - this will provide a review of international performance assessment written specifically for a policy and practitioner audience and distributed widely via the web, professional associations and other media. It will draw on existing research knowledge and will draw together lessons from the conferences and seminars to highlight best practice from across the world. 5. Dissemination exchange workshops - these will draw upon early versions of the policy briefing involving one of the research team delivering presentations at pre-existing events of professional, local government, and consumer bodies. We will deliver ten workshops across the four countries (five in England, two each in Scotland and Wales and one in Northern Ireland).

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K011138/1
    Funder Contribution: 144,591 GBP
    Partners: AGE UK, KI, University of Toronto, SFU, University of Sheffield, Sanctuary Care (Sanctuary Housing Assoc)

    As people across the world live longer, there is a growing need to support active ageing so that the extra years of life can be lived as well as possible. The potential of technology to assist people in all aspects of their lives is increasingly being recognised. Ambient Assistive Living (AAL) technologies refer to items that people can use in their everyday lives to make life easier and help them manage their daily activities. To enable the maximum number of people to benefit from current and future AAL technologies requires not only a good understanding of the needs of older adults but also a comprehensive analysis of how they view technology, their attitudes towards using it and how they make decisions about purchasing and using technology. Social and cultural factors can influence these issues and so this project aims to work with older adults across three different countries to explore their needs, attitudes and behaviour towards novel technologies. The project team brings together experts in gerontology, engineering, occupational therapy and psychology from the UK, Canada and Sweden to work with older adults to address their current and future needs for technology to support them to live their lives as well as possible. The project comprises several complementary elements that will be carried out in parallel within the three countries. The first element is a user needs analysis to examine the older adults' requirements in relation to AAL technologies, including those people who need support with cognitive activities, physical activities or motor activities. The findings from this stage will determine the development of novel AAL technologies in the next stage to address various aspects of daily life, such as shopping or cooking, supporting people with activities they need to remember, such as taking medication and keeping in touch with people. These novel technologies will be piloted with older adults in each of the three countries to examine how they respond to and explore them to inform future developments. Additionally, we will look at how to support people to learn to use new technologies and incorporate them into their lives to help them live as well as possible.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/T015195/1
    Funder Contribution: 133,706 GBP
    Partners: Coventry University, SFU, University Lodz, Federal University of Amazonas, Warsaw School of Economics

    Increasing concerns over the environmental impact of plastic single-use packaging have reached a critical juncture. Mumbai-one the largest cities in India-implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags, plastic cups and plastic bottles, with a stiff penalty (5000 rupees) or up to three months in jail for those vendors caught selling these products (Dhillon, 2018). From a corporate initiative, IKEA, has recently adopted biodegradable packaging made from mycelium (mushroom), which mimics the texture of polystyrene (Lempert, 2018). With growing awareness of the negative environmental impacts of petroleum-based packaging, the trend towards adopting bio-based products has increased. Currently, the highest demand for bio-based packaging is situated within the food industry. In a recent meeting of the World Economic Forum, it is claimed that biodegradable packaging is good for the economy and the environment. However, while bio-based packaging may be seen as a "disruptive innovation", there is a lack of studies exploring the social and environmental implications of this product. For example, bioplastic packaging is hard to distinguish from its plastic counterpart, resulting in contamination and waste management issues at a municipal level (UNEP, 2015). As such, the adoption of this product becomes a "wicked problem" as it is seemingly impossible to solve due to the numerous interdependent factors that simultaneously impact solutions. To address this issue, four research partners consisting of the UK, Canada, Brazil and Poland, will implement four collaborative social innovation labs. A social innovation methodology is critical to better understand how bio-based packaging innovation will impact the environment and diverse stakeholders across the supply chain, especially as it relates to food security, waste infrastructure, formal and informal waste collectors, consumers, vendors, food producers, and policymakers.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/K001973/1
    Funder Contribution: 163,724 GBP
    Partners: University of Glasgow, University of Alberta, UCLA

    With rapid globalisation, cross-cultural communication is integral to modern society, with mutual understanding of emotions key to successful social interaction. Yet, some cultures misinterpret facial expressions, challenging the widely accepted 'universal language of emotion.' My research aims to understand the complexities of cross-cultural emotion communication. Focusing on the decoding of facial expressions, I showed in Current Biology that East Asian (EA) groups misinterpret facial expressions due to a culture-specific decoding strategy that selects ambiguous eye information. Refuting universality, my work elicited worldwide interest (Discovery Channel Magazine, National Geographic, BBC News Front Page). In Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, I then showed that Western Caucasian (WC) and EA groups mentally represent emotions using distinct expressive features. Building on these data further, I used state-of-the-art facial animation technology to construct 4-D mental models of the 6 basic facial expressions of emotions in each culture. Here, I show culture-specific patterns of facial signals (i.e., EA signal emotional intensity with early eye activity) and that emotion is not universally organized into 6 basic categories. These data refute universality, highlighting the need to bridge knowledge gaps. During the grant, I aim to bridge these gaps by conducting the following set of experiments: 1. Conceptual landscape of emotions. The 6 basic emotions are not universal, but WC-specific. Using hierarchical semantic network reconstruction tools, I will map the conceptual organisation of emotion words to reveal the main emotion categories central for social interaction in WC and EA culture. 2. Spectrum of culture-specific facial expressions. Using the emotion terms above and the 4-D facial animation platform, I will reconstruct 4-D models of a spectrum of socially relevant facial expressions in each culture. Using established analysis tools I will precisely identify the facial signals that characterise culture-specific facial expressions. 3. Cross-cultural emotion recognition. Current facial expression stimuli are recognised only by WC cultures, so do not universally represent emotion, limiting knowledge of cross-cultural emotion communication. Providing a broad spectrum of culture-specific 4-D facial expression models will greatly improve current stimuli, including the first ever set of EA valid facial expressions. Thus, I will conduct a previously impossible fully balanced examination of same- and other-culture facial expression recognition, using eye-tracking to identify the facial signals supporting emotion recognition and creating confusion across cultural boundaries. 4. In-group advantage. The 4-D stimuli can flexibly interchange race of face with cultural emotions (e.g., EA emotion on a WC face). By isolating the effects of two group identifiers (race and cultural emotions) on emotion recognition, I will address key questions in the in-group advantage theory. Applications & Benefits. My data will have broad implications for science and society. Science. Providing a full account of cross-cultural emotion communication will bridge knowledge gaps and re-ignite key Social Psychology topics. Improved stimuli will advance research on emotion processing at the behavioural and brain level. More broadly, Computer Science (e.g., Human-Robot Interaction) will gain practical benefits from improved models of human emotion, extending to the commercial gaming industry and the digital economy in developing avatars and companion robots. Society. Worldwide interest in my research shows that society highly values cross-cultural interactions. Providing advice on culture-specific emotions will improve social communication, fostering healthy relations across society. My data will make a timely contribution to the rapidly evolving communication needs of society with great benefits for the economic performance of the UK.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/X010864/1
    Funder Contribution: 503,043 GBP
    Partners: University of Kent, Forum of Federations

    Negotiated peace settlements are at the cornerstone of international relations, peace-making, and democratic governance. In conflict zones and deeply divided societies around the world, from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Burundi to Cyprus and Syria, international third-party conflict mediators frequently recommend power-sharing between rival ethnic groups as a means of ending wars and building peace. Yet we still know very little about whether past and current proposals (e.g., by the UN) are seen as acceptable from a citizens' perspective or about how precisely to negotiate, implement, and adapt the most advantageous trade-offs among parties in conflict. Answering these questions is critical to ensure the durability of peace processes, the consolidation of democracy, and potentially the restoration of multi-ethnic societies. In INCLUSIVEPEACE, we propose a comparative and multi-methods research program that investigates how power-sharing settlements emerge, perform, and evolve. We specifically aim to address two common critiques in the study of power-sharing settlements focusing on adoptability and adaptability. First, power-sharing settlements cannot be easily negotiated and adopted and are often negotiated between political elites, excluding the wider society. Secondly, when they are adopted, parties struggle to renegotiate, adapt, or even identify their most problematic provisions, while citizens are given little opportunity to effect change in the new political arrangement. We will address these critiques by using qualitative approaches, including archival research and elite interviews as well as quantitative methods, including experiments and longitudinal public opinion surveys focusing on citizens, community leaders, and government policies in six representative cases around the world.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/T015365/1
    Funder Contribution: 161,773 GBP
    Partners: Université Concordia, Heidelberg University, Carleton University, VUA, University of the Arts London, Tate

    Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation is a collaborative research project and transnational platform designed to foster more resilient public cultures and institutions to address the challenges of populist nationalisms and global migrations in pluralist democracies. This project focuses on the global dimensions of contemporary public culture and applies its findings on social innovation in the higher education, museum, and cultural sectors. It proposes worlding (Heidegger 2002 [1950];Spivak 1985; Hunt 2014; Cheah 2016) or the situated-ness of world-making, as an activating concept and analytical tool. Going beyond current top-down models of "inclusion," "diversity" and other representations of the "global," the concept of worlding grounds the global within local worlds and allows entangled histories to emerge, opening pathways to decolonize "universal" Western narratives and epistemologies. Through a series of academies in collaboration with public institutions (National Gallery of Canada; Tate Modern; National Museum of World Cultures, the Netherlands; Tate Modern; Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin) this project is designed to enable transatlantic, multisectoral and public knowledge sharing between those working in and on different geocultural contexts. Worlding Public Cultures will culminate in a website of baseline data, two peer-reviewed volumes and two collaboratively written white papers on pedagogy and curating in a global context. Furthermore, it will play an important role in developing the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange (TrACE) network. Ultimately, by conducting research on and for institutions of public culture, this project will be an agent of social innovation that impacts how the global is theorized, making concrete recommendations for the education and museum sectors and, ultimately, contributing to the creation of a more resilient society with more elastic models of social cohesion through changes in public discourse.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/S012567/1
    Funder Contribution: 6,348,700 GBP
    Partners: McGill University, DePaul University, KCL, Central Inst of Mental Health Mannheim

    The ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health will bring about significant advancements in our understanding of how social, economic and cultural transformations affect mental health. Mental health is a priority for governments and policy makers, in areas ranging from economic productivity to community cohesion and individual wellbeing. It is also intrinsically social: the factors that promote mental health or lead to mental health problems lie in our societies, our schools, our workplaces, our communities, and in the nature of our contemporary social lives. The impacts of social contexts, inequalities, and experiences on mental health differ by social group and vary geographically. We are living through a period of rapid and far-reaching change, in our environments (physical, social, virtual), social organisation (including issues around urbanisation, cohesion, exclusion, marginalisation and disadvantage), technological change (and its impact on relationships and employment), and social policy in the contexts of education, work and welfare. Yet we do not know enough about which dimensions of our social, economic, cultural and personal lives affect our mental health, how, or by what means they might be modified. As such, we do not have evidence-based policies to address these challenges and to understand the nature and role of particular social and economic stressors on mental health, nor an understanding of the individual and social factors that enhance resilience. The Centre will bring together expertise across social science, epidemiology, psychiatry, neuroscience, patient and public involvement, and policy analysis, to ask: What are the consequences for mental health, positive and negative, of major contemporary social transformations? What social, economic and health policies can support improvements in individual and community resilience to mental health problems? We will pose, respond to and answer these and other key questions through coordinated programmes of theoretically-informed, empirically-evidenced, interdisciplinary research. These will be defined and delivered in partnership with affected communities, mental health service users, government departments, local authorities, schools and colleges, community organisations, mental health charities, and social and economic policy makers. We will collaborate with leading research groups working on these issues in other countries, and with existing UKRI-funded research infrastructure. We will evaluate existing interventions, apply novel concepts, and develop innovative methods for understanding the relationship between mental health and social experiences. The Centre will carry out programmes of research across three key areas where social, cultural and economic transformations have produced substantial challenges, and which could benefit from intervention: 1) rising mental health problems among young people; 2) increasingly unequal rates of mental health problems in disadvantaged communities; and 3) the negative effects on mental health of changes in the security of work and the provision of welfare. For each, we will seek to understand mental health trajectories (how problems develop over the life course), ecologies (how social and material environments influence outcomes), and vulnerabilities and resiliencies (why some individuals and groups in adverse social contexts experience mental health problems while others do not). Our research will identify the factors that amplify or attenuate the impact of social transformation on mental health, and the social, economic and health policies that can support mental health in individuals and populations. We will train a new generation of genuinely interdisciplinary social scientists equipped with the knowledge, the skills and commitments to help governments, policy makers and communities, not just to better support those with mental health problems, but to create mentally healthy societies for the future.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/N000501/2
    Funder Contribution: 98,615 GBP
    Partners: York University Canada, NTU, Newcastle University, University of Cambridge

    Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) are a diverse group of developmental brain conditions that cause difficulties in communication, social interaction, unusually narrow interests and difficulties adapting to change. One in 100 people (700,000 in the UK) have an ASC, most of whom are adults. A majority of the total economic cost of ASC to the UK is spent on supporting adults (£25 billion out of a total of £28 billion), with 36% of this cost attributable to lost employment opportunities (Knapp et al. 2009). The individual and social costs of ASC in adulthood are also high, with research showing poor outcomes in terms of educational attainment, unemployment (Howlin, 2000), and high rates of depression (32%), suicidal thoughts (66%) and suicidal behaviours (35%) (Cassidy et al. 2014). The latest reports from the ESRC Centre for Economic Performance, and the Chief Medical Officer, describe the high individual, social and economic costs of leaving mental health problems such as depression untreated. However, there are no valid measures of depression or suicide risk for adults with ASC, despite evidence that these are common problems (Cassidy et al. 2014; Segers and Rawana, 2014). Measures for typically developing adults are not appropriate for adults with ASC, who tend to interpret questions literally (Happe et al. 1995), and have difficulty verbalising their emotional experiences (Bird et al. 2010). Depression and suicidality also manifest differently in ASC; inflexible thinking and impulsivity may increase risk (Cassidy et al. 2014). In addition to lack of appropriate measures, research progress is also hampered by the lack of a data set that includes enough adults with ASC to effectively evaluate their rates of depression and suicidality on a national scale; the UK adult psychiatric morbidity survey (2007) only included 19 adults with ASC. The lack of research and appropriate measures have had a profoundly negative impact on adults with ASC; 1) it is not possible to conduct detailed research into the nature, risk or protective factors for depression or suicidality in adults with ASC; 2) it is not possible to effectively assess their depression or suicide risk in clinical practice; 3) without the knowledge base or assessment tools, new theories and effective evidence based treatments cannot be developed or evaluated; 4) we cannot effectively evaluate the prevalence of depression or suicidality on a national scale, in order to inform effective government policy. Hence, adults with ASC are not currently able to access evidence based assessment or therapies for depression or suicidality, despite being at potentially high risk. This research project will address these fundamental issues by developing the first empirically validated measures of depression and suicidality for adults with ASC, for use in a national survey. This will form the first nationally representative dataset containing rates of depression and suicidality in adults with ASC in the UK, made available for secondary analysis. These objectives will be achieved by creating synergy between psychiatrists and clinicians involved in ageing, autism, suicide, mental health and risk assessment research, across internationally recognized institutions (Universities of Coventry, Newcastle, and Cambridge). This research will build on my previously published research, which has utilized big data to explore the health and behaviour of adults with ASC, including the first large-scale clinic study of depression and suicidality in adults with late diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (a high functioning subgroup on the autism spectrum) (Cassidy et al., 2014). This project will enable me to foster a new inter-disciplinary mixed-methods approach to the study of mental health in ASC, which I will continue to lead beyond the funding period.