Rights Lab is key partner in new Modern Slavery Policy Centre announced by Prime Minister

Tuesday, 09 July 2019
The Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham will be an integral partner in a new cutting-edge policy and evidence centre announced by the Prime Minister today.

The Prime Minister announced the investment of £10 million of public funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Priorities Fund to create an ambitious new Policy and Evidence Centre on Modern Slavery and Human Rights.

Led by UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the new centre will bring together academics, including those from the Rights Lab, with businesses and NGOs to drive forward and share knowledge, and improve collaboration both at home and overseas, to further strengthen our response to the problem of modern slavery.

As both Home Secretary and Prime Minister I have endeavoured to shine a light on this hidden crime, to speak out for victims and put modern slavery firmly on the domestic and international agenda. There is much we can be proud of in our progress so far, but we need to accelerate our efforts, better share knowledge and build on our expertise. That is why…I am pleased to support new, innovative research to inform global efforts to end this barbaric crime by 2030.”
Prime Minister Theresa May

The centre will be a consortium of universities and Independent Research Organisations with a track record in world-class work on modern slavery. As well as the Rights Lab, the partners in the consortium are the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Wilberforce Institute at Hull University, the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool, the Bonavero Institute on Human Rights at Oxford University and the Alan Turing Institute in London.

Professor Zoe Trodd, Director of the Rights Lab, said: "The Rights Lab was delighted to work with the AHRC over the past year on the conceptualisation of this new Policy and Evidence Centre. We are very much looking forward to working with our large Nottingham-based team of the world's leading antislavery scholars and our amazing NGO, corporate and policy partners around the world to ensure that the centre delivers purposeful new work in support of our shared antislavery goals.

“We are excited to continue developing the prototype of our Rights Lab Modern Slavery Evidence Unit (MSEU) into the important policy engagement work of this new centre, and to build out from our Rights Lab programmes in Data & Measurement, Survivors & Cultures, Communities & Society, Law & Policy, and Business & Economies to collaborate on the new centre’s priority areas.”

Sarah Kerr, Director of the Rights Lab's MSEU, who will also be leading Nottingham’s involvement, said: "MSEU is excited to join forces with the UKRI Policy and Evidence Centre on Modern Slavery and Human Rights in its aim to improve the evidence base for antislavery work by policymakers and legislators. 

“Our team of specialists in policy engagement, monitoring & evaluation, and corporate antislavery leadership is looking forward to collaborating closely with the other partners to ensure that the new Centre has a transformative effect on legal and policy responses to modern slavery."

Professor Todd Landman, Rights Lab Executive Director and Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham, said: “From its inception in late 2016, the Rights Lab has been crafted to address the pressing challenge set by the UN to end modern slavery by 2030. Our research, outreach and impact across all five of our university faculties has created a truly transdisciplinary response to this urgent problem.

“From the individual stories of survivors to our mapping of slavery sites with satellite technology, our values-based research approach uses the latest cutting-edge analytical tools to help end modern slavery. We look forward to working in collaboration with the Centre’s other partners, and are particularly pleased to see the focus on funding research and policy engagement at universities outside of London and Oxbridge.”

Sir Bernard Silverman, Rights Lab Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics, and Former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office, said: “It is vitally important that policy in this key area is informed by the best possible evidence. Strong evidence is what makes policy effective. The UK is a world leader both in research and in modern slavery action and legislation, and this centre is an exceptional opportunity to bring those two strengths together and attract the best minds from different fields to focus on this problem.”

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Zoe Trodd in the Rights Lab, at the University of Nottingham at

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Phone: 0115 748 4417

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Quicklink fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at Jubilee campus. For further information please contact a member of the Press Office on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
C Floor, Pope Building (Room C4)
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798