Vision / Society and communities

Society and communities

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Our discoveries inform policy affecting every UK citizen, from informing laws that safeguard children online, to tackling misogyny, improving road safety and protecting consumers. We help nurture young democracies, strengthen international justice and build fairer societies.

Professor Amanda Griffiths

Breaking the menopause taboo to improve the working world for women

New guidelines introduced in workplaces around the world as a result of Professor Amanda Griffiths’ research are changing the working lives of women.

A person using a phone

Safe space: protecting children online

Making the internet a safer place by putting young people at the heart of policy


Misogyny against women and girls is everyone’s responsibility

Loretta Trickett and Louise Mullany talk about how Misogyny against women and girls is everyone’s responsibility

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See bike, say bike: why safer drivers talk to themselves

Thousands of road deaths could be prevented by asking drivers to talk to themselves

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Cutting the cost of quick credit

Professor John Gathergood was instrumental in the reform of consumer credit rules – saving borrowers more than £600 million in the process

The word Leadership highlighted in pink

School leadership studies: improving outcomes for pupils across the globe

Professor Christopher Day’s work on successful school leadership has impacted thousands of school leaders, teachers and pupils around the world

Piper's Crisps packets at a picnic

How science is making a tasty profit for global crisp manufacturer

Flavour chemist Ian Fisk and his colleagues have helped transform processes at Piper’s Crisps, increasing customer satisfaction and enabling the brand to expand into new markets.

A group of young professionals working together

Informing policy development to promote employee wellbeing in Europe and beyond

Poor mental health and wellbeing at work is one of the leading causes of sickness absence, costing the global economy billions of pounds. Guidance for employers developed by Dr Aditya Jain and Professor Stavroula Leka is having a positive impact on tackling this challenge across the world.

Haiti postage stamps

A new revolution

A study into the legacy of Haiti’s revolution two centuries ago is informing research helping to secure a more inclusive, diverse and equitable society in Britain.

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Capturing the power of data

The notion of using social science for good drives the narrative of our work.

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The Trojan Horse Affair

When 21 Birmingham schools were investigated over fears about Islamic education it made national headlines. Professor John Holmwood’s work explores how the fallout from the case is continuing to shape debate.

Stamps in a passport

Combating corruption

Paul Heywood’s research is shaping the agenda of the global fight against corruption. He explains how we can loosen its grip, while policymakers reflect on his contribution

Delegates sat across a panel

Strengthening democracy

A landmark study of party politics in Europe is shaping constitutional reform in Georgia

Photograph of Dr Rachael Clawson

Drawing back the veil

The ‘My Marriage, My Choice’ project looks at how people with learning disabilities are being forced into marriages they might not understand.

Abstract cluster of people

Listen to survivors

The voices of the survivors of slavery have largely gone unheard in the creation of antislavery policies and programmes - The Survivor Alliance is redressing this

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What would he tell you about his zoo?

The University of Nottingham has developed a new tool for zoos to help address one of their more elephantine challenges: welfare in captivity

Science experiment in front of school children

Teaching the teachers: improving education

Facundo Albornoz’ research improved training of secondary school teachers in Argentina and is influencing the global debate on the best and most cost-effective approaches to improve education

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Slavery survivor voices shape anti-slavery action

Inside the Rights Lab, more than 100 University of Nottingham academics have created the world’s leading research platform for ending slavery

Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling

Improving the quality and professionalism of civil servants and strengthening democracy

By assisting countries in the Western Balkans to reform their civil service and overcome cronyism and political patronage, Professor Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling is helping states move towards integration with the European Union.

Cuban flag

Viva Cuba!

How Che Guevara inspired a world-leading authority

A prisoner

Life work

A landmark global study is informing policy and debate on life imprisonment

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Professor Doreen Boyd is using satellites to fight slavery from space

Professor Doreen Boyd is using satellite imagery and her expertise in remote sensing to help end modern slavery

Young person looking into a laptop screen in a dark room

The battle against children’s unsupervised screen time

Lockdown highlights the challenges of ensuring the rights of children are protected in the digital world.

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Misogyny matters

It’s been three years since Professor Louise Mullany and colleagues started working with Nottinghamshire Police as they became the first force in the world to classify misogyny as a hate crime. She reflects on the far-reaching impact.


The business of Brexit

It is the biggest change in the UK political landscape for more than half a century. But what will be the true impact of Brexit on British business?

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Every person counts

The world is witnessing its fourth major antislavery movement, and there are good reasons to hope it will be the last.

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Keeping the plane in the air: EU regulation in the Brexit era

Dr Simon Roberts, a leading international expert on the free movement of people across the EU, explains why the role has never been more important.

A river

How a river scientist resolved a 150-year-old border dispute

A border dispute that rumbled on for more than 150 years was finally resolved thanks to the expertise of river scientist Colin Thorne


Touch-screen educational technology is transforming lives

Innumeracy and illiteracy costs the global economy £120 billion. Innovative digital technology is being used by children in the UK and around the world to acquire these vital skills

Laptop and books

‘Yet I Alive!’: COVID-19 and the future of the novel

From Defoe to Zoom, storytelling evolves – but the urge to connect will always be with us,

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Integrated, agile evidence from social scientists is helping policymakers respond to Covid-19

The ability to supply reliable business data in almost real-time limits the damage caused by uncertainty and is helping the UK plan for recovery

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Roadmap to accountability: Overcoming barriers to justice in Liberia (part one)

On 18-19 July 2019, the University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre brought together Liberian stakeholders and international experts in Monrovia for a historic Legislative Conference on Accountability for Past Crimes in Liberia

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An academic working in government: reflections from a Chief Scientific Adviser

Professor Paul S Monks (Leicester University) shares his thoughts and reflections three months into assuming his role as Chief Scientific Adviser during an unprecedented time

Boris Johnson making a live Covid-19 announcement

Trust: a challenge for our times

One of the questions you might have asked yourself in the last few months is: when is someone or something trustworthy, and how can I tell?

One of the female participants talking about her family life

Our stories: exploring UK family lives

Exploring the lives of marginalised families through digital networks

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Sharing knowledge is key to fully understanding the impact of Covid

Introducing a blog series on the University of Nottingham’s ongoing research contribution to the Covid-19 effort

PPE: surgical masks and hand sanitizer on a table

Single sourcing

With billions spent on new contracts for PPE, the pandemic has put government procurement practice under intense scrutiny

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Covid-19, mass unemployment and structural change

The pandemic is accelerating irreversible shifts already under way in the UK economy

Woman working on a till wearing PPE

A year on: working class women and work during the Covid-19 pandemic

The pandemic has further exposed deep gender and class inequalities, say professors Tracey Warren and Clare Lyonette, and the government must act if we are to rebuild a fairer society

A male and female police officer in uniform

Hiding in plain sight: County Lines during Covid-19

Lockdown makes the exploitation of young people by drug dealers harder to detect. Dr Ben Brewster’s research is helping police and safeguarding agencies respond

People queueing for a Covid test in China

Cities and communities after the pandemic

Cities and communities after the Covid-19 pandemic

A geometric map

Researching economic recovery after the virus

Policymakers must address the profoundly uneven impact of Covid-19 on communities, sectors and regions across the UK

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Covid-19 and lessons for teaching and learning

Universities have already moved to online lectures. Now’s the chance to really shake-up how we deliver education

Liberian flag

Roadmap to accountability: Overcoming barriers to justice in Liberia (part two)

Overcoming barriers to post-conflict justice in Liberia, which has experienced two violent civil wars between 1989 and 2003 has been a key aspect of Professor Olympia Bekou’s work.

A hand wearing clinical gloves holding a wedding ring

Forced marriage and lockdown in the UK

Dr Helen McCabe's research explores the impact of Covid-19 on those vulnerable to, or already experiencing forced marriage

Cambodian garment workers commuting to work in a factory in Phnom Penh, March 2021, by Thomas Cristofoletti/Ruom. Copyright Thomas Cristofoletti/Ruom.

A year on: Economic and health crises converge in Cambodia’s garment industry

Building back better social and health protection in the global garment industry after Covid-19

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System leadership in disruptive times: robust policy making in school trusts in England

Research has given new insights into the robustness and resilience of school trusts in supporting their students, staff and communities during the pandemic

Farm workers in a field

Evaluating the risk of labour exploitation among migrant workers in the UK during Covid-19

Researchers at the University of Nottingham evaluate the risk of labour exploitation among migrant workers in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic

Hand washing in action

Empowering vulnerable communities to fight Covid-19: the case of Zimbabwe

Researchers and NGOs are helping the displaced and marginalised to better protect themselves against the pandemic

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Communicating with Generation Z

How Government fell short in its Covid-19 messaging for vulnerable young people – and how it can improve

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Going viral: quantum perceptions in a post-Covid world

Dr Thomas Legendre imagines a post-Covid future in his coming book, Spring Fever

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Beyond impact

The Knowledge Exchange Framework.

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What is distancing doing to our social lives and wellbeing?

An international study to inform government response to the pandemic and understand its societal impact.

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Covid-19: However good the science, you need good politics too

Stephen Meek looks at how the UK’s response to the pandemic highlights the complex relationship between science and politics

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Improving financial opportunities for all

Nottingham has some of the UK’s highest levels of household debt, but a new partnership, chaired by Shaun French, is helping to change that

Image of soldiers

Not just for the generals – Advising Nato on hybrid warfare

Hybrid war was recently the subject of the first ever overseas speech by a Director General of MI5. It has long fascinated Dr Andrew Mumford and his research has influenced UK and Nato policymakers.

Bahar Tunçgenç

‘We’re all in this together’: Why our friends and family were the most powerful driver in our pandemic behaviour

An international study of behaviour during the pandemic led by Dr Bahar Tunçgenç found people were far more likely to comply with the rules if their friends and family did

Dr Sharon Clancy

Learning for life

Discover how adult education transformed Dr Sharon Clancy's life as well as her father's, a Derbyshire miner.

London street sign

Policymakers and academics

The head of the Policy Profession of the UK Civil Service reflects on building mutual understanding with academics

Frederick Douglas Mural

Black History Month: reflecting on Roots/Routes

Black Studies encourages innovative ways of thinking about research, narratives and belonging, says Dr Hannah Robbins

Man cycling down an empty high-street

The economy after Covid-19

John Gathergood, Professor of Economics, argues that the Covid-19 crisis has most likely brought forward economic structural change not expected until the 2040s, while pushing the government finances into their worst state since the 1940s

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Viral democracy: Covid-19 and elections

Governments seeking legitimacy for a post-virus future must avoid delaying elections and ensure voters can safely take part

mosaic face

Ending slavery after Covid-19

A recovering world can learn from the anti-slavery movement's innovations in supporting marginalised communities

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After the virus: building a more resilient and fairer society

Introducing reflections and debate from our researchers on the challenges, as well as opportunities, of a post-Covid-19 world

Animal cells

Unique techniques reducing animal experiments

How technician Nicola De Vivo uses caesium to help steer away from the use of animal cells

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Quantum physics, metal and me

The ‘Iron Maiden’ compound is an especially energetic form of the metal that has been the backdrop to many hours slaving over a scanning probe microscope.

Child using a tablet

Education after Covid-19

Professor Simon McGrath explores the potential for education to adapt post Covid-19


Policy Impact and Public Engagement Awards

Policy Impact and Public Engagement Awards

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Covid-emocracy: challenges and lessons from the US Election

Challenges and lessons from the 2020 US Election