Phone hacking, sleaze and cash for questions — corruption in our systems of governance and public bodies has eroded faith in politicians and other senior public figures over recent years. The UK sees its political class as untrustworthy, to the detriment of our economic prosperity, life satisfaction and levels of political engagement.
New research taking place at The University of Nottingham is set to tackle this perception of poor governance, as part of a European Commission research programme into the factors which promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. The €7.9m Anticorruption Policies Revisited: Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenges of Corruption project will investigate the causes of corruption; how corruption can be measured; and the impact of corruption on different aspects of human wellbeing.
The project spans 21 research partners across 16 EU countries, and is led by the Quality of Government Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden. Paul Heywood, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Sir Francis Hill Professor of European Politics at The University of Nottingham, will lead one of the UK-based partners. With colleagues from the University of Birmingham, he will focus on:
- corruption and good governance from both a global and continental perspective
- accountability and transparency in both civil society and administrative responses, as well as accountability mechanisms within policy performance
- translating the research into evidence-based policy.
The five-year project will launch in Gothenburg in May, when Professor Heywood will spend a week at the Quality of Government Institute as a visiting professor. The research will include surveys, interviews and documentary analysis, spanning the fields of political science, economics, sociology, law and history and leading to working papers and policy documents.
“Corruption is one of the biggest issues facing governments around the world today,” said Professor Heywood. “The Arab Spring was driven by citizen discontent with corrupt governments, and public perception of corruption is one of the biggest challenges for the Chinese government.
“It’s a problem in both developed and developing countries, damaging the economy, diverting resources, affecting confidence and trust in politicians — people see no value and no point in being engaged in the political process.
“Not only will this project examine the causes, measurement and analysis of corruption, it will translate the research into concrete, evidence-based policy suitable for use across governments and public bodies worldwide.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
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