The University of Nottingham has appointed three top scholars who will use quantitative approaches to Social Science research and teaching as part of a national programme to increase the number of Social Science graduates in the UK.
The three new appointments in the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences are part of Nottingham’s commitment to the Q-Step programme – a national initiative designed to develop social science students' quantitative skills, which are needed to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research.
A number of Schools within the Faculty were awarded Affiliate status of the programme last year, which recognises the strength in quantitative methods within the University’s teaching, and underlines its commitment to enhancing students' career prospects and to help increase the number of social science graduates with quantitative skills.
Investing in quantitative capacity
Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences, said:
“These appointments represent a clear commitment from the Faculty of Social Sciences to invest in our quantitative capacity in ways that provide inter disciplinary training in quantitative approaches to social scientific analysis grounded in sociology, political science, and geography.
“Our new appointees are all engaged in cutting edge research that uses innovative quantitative approaches to study contemporary problems that are of interest to stakeholders outside the academy. We look forward to welcoming them later this year.”
Shortage of social scientists
The UK has a shortage of social science graduates with the quantitative skills needed to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research. Yet these skills are increasingly in demand from employers across all sectors such as in government, business and charities.
The Q-Step programme was developed as a strategic response to the shortage and is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The aim of the Q-Step programme is to increase the number of quantitatively trained social scientists so that they can address the growing number of issues that require these skills, and to offer broader training that opens up a wider range of job prospects for social science students.
The new appointments for Nottingham are:
Dr Antony Chum who will be Assistant Professor in Quantitative Method in Human Geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS).
Dr Chum’s research interests are to understand the influence of built environments on chronic diseases and related risk factors, and to develop and evaluate strategies to build healthier cities and communities. His work addresses the urgent need to develop novel methods to represent the complexities of human behaviour and the built environment. These methods enable researchers to build strong evidence to guide healthy planning policies. Drawing on the disciplines of urban and health geography, environmental and social epidemiology, and GIS, his work aims to inform public policy and the practice of urban planning, architecture, and urban design to promote urban health.
Dr Scott Moser who will be Assistant Professor in Quantitative Methods in Politics and International Relations
Dr Moser is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and has experience teaching Social Science methods at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in both the UK and the US. Dr Moser’s research interests are focussed on one central issue in the Social Sciences: how groups do and should choose collective outcomes. He researches both the structural aspects of collective decision-making (voting theory) as well as informal aspects of collective decision-making (heresthetic manipulation – the strategic manipulation of issue dimensions). While his research questions are largely formal and abstract in nature, there are very concrete applications of this work which can be seen in the substantive area of institutional change in the UK House of Commons over the 19th century, for example by applying theoretical social choice insights to the enactment of the Second Reform Act.
Dr Nora Wikoff who will be Assistant Professor in Quantitative Methods in Sociology and Social Policy
Dr Wikoff ’s is a recent graduate from Washington University in Saint Louis (2015) with a PhD in Social Work, with research and teaching expertise in quantitative research methods, labour markets, life-course criminology, inclusive asset-building policy, and policy analysis. Dr Wikoff’s research to date has focused on re-entry issues facing former prisoners in the US, where roughly 700,000 people are released from state and federal prisons each year. Former prisoners in the UK face many similar challenges. Thus she believes her central research questions to be clearly relevant, and to have important policy implications, in the UK.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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