Research Division Briefing
 

Welcome to the Research Division e-Briefing

LSEThe Research Division e-Briefing is produced by the Research Division| and the Press and Information Office|.

This edition features a special round up section highlighting key research news from the past year, plus details of the recently announced 'What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth', which aims to significantly improve the use of evidence in the design and delivery of policies for local economic growth and employment.

This is the final briefing for this academic year. We will be back with more research news and funding opportunities in October 2013. If you have colleagues who would like to receive this bulletin and may not at present, please email pressoffice@lse.ac.uk|. If you would like to feature a research story, award, or opportunity in this newsletter in the next academic year, please email Michael Nelson, Research Division, at m.w.nelson@lse.ac.uk|.

Lastly, the Research Division and the Press Office wish you all a very relaxed and resourceful summer!

 
 
 

Summer 2013

 
 

News

LSEREF Update

Final preparations are in hand for the School’s submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in November. The REF system now contains staff and research output data and Heads of Departments and Managers have been asked to check these records for accuracy.

Over the next few weeks the Library will be busy scanning book chapters and collecting books for the REF, and the Research Division will - amongst other things - be concentrating on finalising around seventy impact case studies. Any further REF news will be sent to HoDs over the summer months.

LSEResearch Development Initiative

Within the last year, the Research Division has created a new Research Development Team as a response to the key challenges set by the School. These challenges are to help maintain the quality of research proposals and increase success rates by better targeting of the various funding opportunities.

The Research Development Team will work with departments and centres to identify the opportunities for research funding which provide the most appropriate support for research in particular fields. As one of the initial steps, the two Research Development Managers (RDMs), Aygen Kurt-Dickson and Ana Alvarez-Serra, will continue working with departments to develop their internal funding plans, whilst information on the external funding landscape and policies are kept up-to-date and fed into the LSE community regularly.

The RDM team is also working more closely with colleagues in the Corporate Relations Unit (CRU) and the Foundation Partnerships (FP) Team to ensure that there is an overview of all funding sources; CRU covering funding information from the corporate world and the FP Team providing funding information from the philanthropic organisations. The RDMs aim to establish a sustainable, collaborative and a synchronised approach to research funding support in LSE. With these in mind, the RDMs will attempt to match the most appropriate funding opportunities to individual research ideas, and provide expert support for submitting research funding applications to external bodies.

LSENew 'What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth' announced

LSE, the Centre for Cities and ARUP have been chosen to take forward a new independent research centre, the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth.

The Centre, which is funded by the ESRC, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Communities and Local Government, aims to significantly improve the use of evidence in the design and delivery of policies for local economic growth and employment. It will be led by LSE and will be directed by Professor Henry Overman, the current director of the Spatial Economics Research Centre at LSE.

By working to better understand which approaches have successfully delivered local economic growth, the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth will provide policymakers with the evidence and insights they need to drive growth in the future. The Centre will be launched in late September, when a more detailed overview of future work will be available. More|

Jonathan LeapeSenior appointments made to International Growth Centre

Dr Jonathan Leape (pictured) has been appointed as Executive Director of the International Growth Centre (IGC). He will start his new position on 1 September. Dr Ibrahim Stevens has also been appointed as Country Programme Director and will start on 1 August.

The IGC, which is based at LSE in partnership with the University of Oxford, provides independent and demand-led growth policy advice directly to governments based on rigorous analysis and frontier research. It is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Leape said: “I am absolutely delighted. This is a tremendous opportunity and I welcome the challenge of leading the Centre through its next phase, working with our international partners to achieve the sustained economic growth that is vital to lifting millions of people out of poverty.”

Dr Stevens said: “This is a fantastic opportunity, working on important projects, which will have a significant and positive impact on the lives of millions in the developing world.” More|

Fawaz GergesMiddle East Centre Director change

Professor Fawaz Gerges (pictured) will step down as Director of the Middle East Centre (MEC) on 31 August 2013. He will return full-time to the Department of International Relations to concentrate on teaching and research.

Professor Gerges writes: "It has been a great pleasure directing the Centre in the three years since its foundation and I am proud of its growth and achievements in this time. The Centre has already acquired a reputation for research excellence and independence. We have a first-rate group of scholars from the region and elsewhere affiliated with the Centre, and their research will make a critical difference in the field of Middle East studies. Our public events series has contributed to broadening the debate at LSE and in the wider community. The Centre has provided significant financial support to postgraduate students as well as intellectual training and mentoring. Equally important, the Centre has established an organisational and intellectual umbrella that integrates academics who research the Middle East at LSE. I will continue to be engaged with the work of the MEC and to help promote its further growth and development."

Dr Toby Dodge, Reader in the Department of International Relations, will act as Interim Director of the Middle East Centre from 1 September 2013. Recruitment for a permanent Director of the Centre will begin in the autumn of 2013.

LSELSE to lead global debate on emerging nations

LSE will lead a global debate in early 2014 about the role of emerging nations on the world stage.

This is part of a new strategic partnership the School has forged with the development bank for Latin America, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF).

CAF-funded research led by Dr Chris Alden from LSE’s Department of International Relations into the growing importance of China, India, Latin America and Africa on a global scale will form the basis of an international conference hosted by LSE next year.

The funding will also support a three-month postdoctoral fellowship within LSE’s Department of International Relations, as well as a postgraduate scholarship for students from CAF’s 18 member states. More|

LSENew Democratic Audit blog launched

Democracy and human rights in the UK is the focus of a new blog, launched this week by Democratic Audit, based at LSE.

The blog is the first of several new initiatives from Democratic Audit following its transfer from the University of Liverpool earlier this year. One of Britain’s leading NGOs tracking the health of democracy, human rights and freedoms in an evidence-based way, Democratic Audit is hosted within LSE's Department of Government and co-directed by Dr Jonathan Hopkins and Professor Patrick Dunleavy.

Democratic Audit, which already receives over 700 visitors per day, will pay particular attention to issues around elections, political parties, Parliament, government, human rights, civil liberties and freedoms.

Professor Patrick Dunleavy, said: "The quality of democratic institutions and the vitality of democratic processes can never be taken for granted. We are interested in the widest range of evidence-based contributions, including the political theory of democratic reform and improvement for mature liberal democracies, and comparisons of UK with other countries on democratic quality."

For more information, visit www.democraticaudit.com| or follow it on Twitter @DemocraticAudit. Democratic Audit is run by Sean Kippin and Richard Berry who can be contacted at democraticaudit@lse.ac.uk|.

LSEAltmetric indicator added to LSE Research Online

LSE Research Online has announced that all publications will now have their Altmetric score made public.

Altmetrics - or alternative metrics - is a system that tracks and scores the impact scholarly articles have on social media, traditional media and in online reference-management systems.

The relationship between altmetrics and the measure of research impact is of increasing interest to the bibliometric community, and has been explored in a recent Spanish study| due to be published later this year. To find out how items are rated, visit the 'How we measure attention'| of the Altmetric website.

LSE Research Online is an open access collection of research produced by LSE researchers. To update your publications in LSE Research Online, email lseresearchonline@lse.ac.uk|.

Dorothee WierlingDorothee Wierling becomes Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor 2013-14

The German Historical Institute London, the International History Department of LSE, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Düsseldorf have awarded the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship for the research sphere "Germany in Europe 1890-2000".

From Tuesday 1 October Professor Dr Dorothee Wierling (pictured), Deputy Director of the Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, will spend a year in the role teaching at LSE and researching at the German Historical Institute London.

Her Inaugural Lecture, to be given on Tuesday 22 October, is entitled “Local Agents - Global Players. Hamburg Coffee Merchants in the 20th Century”. More|

LSEESRC and ACCA Sign Joint Agreement

A Memorandum of Concordat has been signed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The strategic agreement seals a relationship where the two organisations have worked in partnership over several years on a number of initiatives - such as diversity, pensions, social responsible investment and climate change - which have generated impact among a range of stakeholders within academia and business. More|

LSEAHRC and ESRC drop PhD support from open research calls

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the ESRC have announced that they will only support PhD students in strategic areas.

The Councils say that, from 1 November 2013, no funding will be provided for project-linked students on applications to the ESRC’s responsive-mode research grants scheme and the AHRC’s open-call research grants scheme. More|

LSEBSPS annual conference 2013

The British Society for Population Studies (BSPS) annual conference will be held at the University of Swansea from 9-11 September.

There will be a full programme of simultaneous strand sessions of submitted papers, and proposals or abstracts for papers and posters are invited across the entire demographic and population studies spectrum. There is a strand for 'interdisciplinary papers' for those which do not appear to fit existing strands, and submissions of quantitative and qualitative papers are welcome. More|

LSETop downloads on LSE Research Online for June

The most downloaded items on LSE Research Online| in June 2013 were as follows:

1. Prins, Gwyn et al (2010) The Hartwell Paper: a new direction for climate policy after the crash of 2009|. Institute for Science, Innovation & Society, University of Oxford; LSE Mackinder Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. (1853 downloads).

2. Anheier, Helmut K. (2000) Managing non-profit organisations: towards a new approach|. Civil Society Working Paper series, 1. Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 0753013436 (1004 downloads).

3. Cho, Seo-Young, Dreher, Axel and Neumayer, Eric (2013) Does legalized prostitution increase human trafficking?| World development, 41 . pp. 67-82. ISSN 0305-750X (894 downloads).

4. Livingstone, Sonia (2008) Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: teenagers' use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression|. New media & society, 10 (3). pp. 393-411. ISSN 1461-4448 (816 downloads).

5. Bowling, Ben and Phillips, Coretta (2003) Policing ethnic minority communities|. In: Newburn, Tim, (ed.) Handbook of policing. Willan Publishing, Devon, UK, pp. 528-555. ISBN 9781843920199 (593 downloads).

Total downloads for June 2013: 75,160.

 
 
 

Research round-up

Below is a selection of School research news over the last academic year:

LSEAt the beginning of the year, LSE launched two new ESRC-funded research centres. The Centre for Macroeconomics| brings together a group of world class experts to carry out pioneering research on the global economics crisis and help design policies to alleviate it. Chaired by LSE’s Nobel Prize-winning economics professor, Christopher Pissarides, the new Centre encompasses experts from LSE, UCL, University of Cambridge, the Bank of England, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, and other leading global institutions.

The Systemic Risk Centre| studies the risks that could trigger the next financial crisis. The Centre undertakes economic analysis of the fundamental risks to the financial system, based on an interdisciplinary approach. It brings together experts from finance, economics, computer science, political science, law and the natural and mathematical sciences.

LSELSE Health also received a major award from the European Commission|. The Commission awarded the €3 million research grant under the 7th Framework Programme, to enable the School to lead a consortium to advance and strengthen the methodological tools and practices relating to the application and implementation of Health Technology Assessment.

LSEIn February, LSE developed it’s highly regarded relationship with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai to establish a major research programme on gender equality|. LSE's relationship with TISS, established in 2007, has been supported by the Jamsetji Tata Trust, which provided a £1.8 million to fund joint research projects and the exchange of faculty members and PhD students between TISS and LSE's India Observatory.

LSE and TISS are working towards building on this collaboration with a focus on women's issues. The Tata Trust is keen to support a joint programme of research, advocacy and action to create a safe and enabling environment towards achieving gender equality in India. The programme involves an action research initiative that would input to strengthening existing public institutions and policy to respond to gender issues. This will involve further exchanges of research students, alongside the clear input into policy.

LSEAt the end of Lent term, the UK government announced a major £51 million investment to the International Growth Centre| (IGC) to enable it to expand its work from 12 to 15 countries. The IGC, which is based at LSE in partnership with the University of Oxford, provides independent and demand-led growth policy advice directly to governments based on rigorous analysis and frontier research.

The £51 million investment enables the IGC to continue operations in existing partner countries across South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but also to expand its work through a renewed focus on key growth concerns. The IGC has already helped governments in Pakistan, Rwanda, Bihar and Bangladesh to reform their tax structures in order to boost revenue collection and has assisted governments in Ghana, Zambia and Mozambique to work towards harnessing wealth from their mineral resources.

LSEIn April, LSE academic Professor Mike Savage published details of a new model of the British class system; the largest survey of the British class system ever carried out. The Great British Class Survey|, which was a collaboration between BBC LabUK, LSE and the University of Manchester, examined the shape of the British class system today. The focus was to determine if traditional ideas of a working, middle and upper class still apply in contemporary Britain. The survey revealed a new structure of seven social divisions, ranging from an 'advantaged and privileged' elite to a large 'precariat' of poor and deprived people.

LSETowards the end of the academic year, LSE academics released the results of another major research programme into the wealth gap in Great Britain. Wealth in the UK: distribution, accumulation, and policy| found that tax, benefit, care, housing, and education policies are inconsistent and fail to narrow the wealth gap.

“Looking across tax and social policies, it is hard to discern a consistent pattern for the treatment of wealth and savings,” explained Professor John Hills, director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE. “Our research shows that there are very sharp differences in treatment between people. Some are strongly encouraged and helped by the tax system to accumulate wealth in particular forms, while others face strong disincentives from means-testing to do so. People can even face both at the same time. These systems often reinforce wealth inequalities, rather than narrow them.” The research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation with support from the Economic and Social Research Council.

 
 
 

Funding opportunities

Candidates interested in applying for any of the opportunities below should email rescon@lse.ac.uk| (unless otherwise stated).

LSEESRC Pilot Urgency Grants Mechanism

The Urgency Grants Mechanism is a pilot launched by ESRC, on behalf of RCUK, to enable researchers to respond to urgent or unforeseen events (for example the August 2011 UK riots), where there is a strong case for immediate research. Submission of an urgent research grant proposal is only permitted if relying on other funding opportunities would clearly result in a missed opportunity to undertake economic or social research of high scientific importance or work of economic and societal impact that meet ESRC priorities. Applicants must submit a project outline, clearly stating the ESRC lead discipline area of the project. More|

NIHR Themed Call: preventing the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance

Deadline: Various
The call is for research into the evaluation of public health measures, health care interventions and health services to reduce the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance and consequent morbidity. More|

LSEESRC Retails Sector Initiative 2013

Deadline: 21 August 2013
A £2.5 million initiative for collaborative projects to undertake research and knowledge exchange activities that will maximise the impact of social and economic research in the retail sector. The ESRC is working with the Technology Strategy Board to engage with the 4,000 businesses in its community, and to deliver a programme of retail-themed Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. More|

AHRC Digital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities - Big Data Projects Call

Deadline: 12 September 2013
The AHRC is inviting proposals for projects to explore Big Data from an Arts and Humanities perspective. Types of projects funded under this call could make use of existing big data, generate new big data or create tools so that arts and humanities researchers, or indeed anyone, can navigate and dissect big data and make use of it in their research or everyday lives. Applications are invited for smaller projects of up to £100,000 and larger projects of up to £600,000. Awards should last for a maximum of 15 months and will be expected to start on 1 January 2014. More|

LSEESRC National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI): third call for research proposals

Deadline: 13 September 2013
NAEDI is a UK-wide initiative to promote earlier diagnosis of cancer and thereby improve survival rates and reduce cancer mortality. More|

Research Committee Seed Fund

Deadline: 27 September 2013
The Research Committee Seed Fund (RCSF) will shortly be replaced by the Research Infrastructure and Investment Funds. In the meantime, staff are still welcome to apply to the RCSF for funding up to £25,000. Staff are strongly encouraged to contact Daniel Fisher in the Research Division, at d.fisher@lse.ac.uk| or on ext 3727 if they are interested in the scheme. More|

LSEThe National Humanities Centre Fellowships

Deadline: 1 October 2013
A total of 40 residential fellowships for advanced study in the humanities are available during the academic year. The Centre seeks to provide at least half salary and also covers travel expenses to and from North Carolina for fellows and dependents. Applicants must hold doctorate or equivalent scholarly credentials. Applications from outside the US are welcomed. More|

Fellowships at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Deadline: 1 October 2013
These support scholars and artists who wish to be in residence at the Radcliffe Institute and pursue an independent project in the humanities and social sciences and in the creative arts. Stipends are funded up to US$70,000 for one year with additional funds for project expenses. More|

LSEAHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Deadline: 3 October 2013
These awards are intended to encourage and develop collaboration between higher education institution departments and non-academic organisations and businesses by providing opportunities for doctoral students to gain experience of work outside an academic environment. More|

Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorships

Deadline: 10 October 2013
These Fellowships enable distinguished academics based overseas to spend between three and twelve months at a UK university to enhance the skills of academic staff or the student body within the host institution. The awards provide a maintenance grant and economy travel costs to and from the UK - requests for associated costs, if justified by the programme, may also be requested. More|

 
 
 

Recent awards

Sandra JovchelovitchProfessor Sandra Jovchelovitch (pictured), Department of Social Psychology, has received £216,155 from the LSE Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The main objective of this project is to develop further a platform for dialogue between multiple stakeholders in the UK and Brazil based on LSE research about social development in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Since 2009 the Department of Social Psychology has led a pioneering research partnership studying how grassroots initiatives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are using cultural activities, identity and the imagination to regenerate public spheres and construct positive futures for young people at risk of drugs, violence and drug trafficking wars. Through this research the School is engaging with government, academics, NGOs, businesses and grassroots activities in Brazil and the UK, constructing the foundations for what is now an innovative and rewarding opportunity for knowledge exchange.

Danny QuahProfessor Danny Quah (pictured), LSE IDEAS, has been awarded £140,186 from the LSE Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF): The LSE Commission on Diplomacy will assess the government’s progress towards achieving its strategic objectives, in a collaborative process that draws on LSE research and the evidence of policymakers and opinion formers. The primary audience for the Commission’s work will be the international affairs and business communities both in the UK and in the emerging powers addressed by the Commission. In the UK, the Commission will seek to stimulate a wider public debate about the purpose of British foreign policy.

Professor Quah has also been awarded £20,000 from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. This is a contribution towards one hearing related to the Gulf as part of the Commission on UK Foreign Policy.

 
 
 

Outcomes

See LSE Research Online| for more LSE research outputs and deposit your work to lseresearchonline@lse.ac.uk|.

LSEConservatives would gain most from changing the voting system for European Elections

The Conservatives could beat UKIP and be neck-and-neck with Labour in next year’s European elections if the voting system were changed from “closed-list” to “open-list”, according to new research from LSE.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by LSE and the Electoral Reform Society, showed that if the elections were held today under the existing “closed-list system” Labour would win 30 per cent, UKIP 25 per cent, Conservatives 23 per cent, Greens 12 per cent, and Liberal Democrats 10 per cent.

However, one group of respondents was asked to vote under an “open-list” system, in which respondents could vote for individual candidates rather than lists of candidates presented by parties. Under this alternative system, Labour received 31 per cent (1 percentage point better), Conservatives 28 per cent (+5), UKIP 19 per cent (-6), Lib Dems 12 per cent (+2), and Greens 10 per cent (-2). More|

LSESchizophrenia is costing Japanese economy £15 billion a year

Schizophrenia is costing the Japanese economy more than £15 billion a year in health care, unemployment and suicides, according to new research published this month.

Researchers from Tokyo and LSE say Japan’s ageing population and the high cost of treating schizophrenia patients is imposing “a tremendous societal burden” on the world’s third-largest economy.

As an illness, schizophrenia is often overshadowed by depression and anxiety-related disorders, which are far more prevalent in Japan but actually have lower direct costs, according to a new paper recently published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. More|

LSEParental responses to children's online risks differ across Europe

New research on children’s online risk and parenting practices across Europe reveals that a potentially negative pattern is developing in some countries that either limits children’s engagement or does not prevent risk of harm.

The report, published on Monday 22 July by EU Kids Online at LSE, explores how parental responses to children's online use differs according to country and how this translates to children's online safety.

Researchers found that European countries divide into four main groups, based on children’s risk profiles: supported risky explorers; semi-supported risky gamers; protected by restrictions; and unprotected networkers. More|

LSEComplaints about nuisance calls tripled in two years

Nuisance calls in the UK have been growing at an alarming rate and the regulations designed to protect consumers from them are failing to halt the rise, according to a new report from LSE.

The report, part of the LSE Media Policy Project, examined official complaints mechanisms and public surveys about nuisance calls. It found that while the costs to offending companies for making such calls is dropping, the negative impact on society, the economy and individuals is increasing.

Comparing regulator data, the report shows that complaints to both Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service more than tripled between April 2011 and April 2013. While some forms of “cold” or unsolicited calls are legal, the data also indicates that illegal forms of nuisance communication, such as excessive automated calls or unsolicited text messages make up a significant part of the problem.

Claire Milne, Visiting Senior Fellow in the LSE Department of Media and Communications, and the report’s author, said: “The elderly and disabled may suffer more than the average person because they are more likely to be at home and may have difficulty reaching the phone or be susceptible to those calls that are forms of fraud.” More|

LSEHow can we get clean and affordable energy for all?

"Only general prosperity can produce widespread consent for emissions reductions, and only affordable energy for all can deliver prosperity."

How to square this circle is the vital topic of a new paper published on Thursday 11 July. THE VITAL SPARK: innovating clean and affordable energy for all was coordinated by LSE and is co-authored by 20 leading experts in energy and climate change issues from England, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Canada, Germany and the USA, all members of the Hartwell group.

It is now known that Kyoto Protocol-type policy had no noticeable effect on reducing humanity's carbon footprint. Despite this failure, the report argues, we can still hope for a transition towards a high energy, low-carbon economy in which clean, safe and affordable energy is available to all.

THE VITAL SPARK does not describe ‘how to do energy innovation successfully’, because no single prescription can fit all circumstances. Instead, the authors propose 11 building blocks that are the necessary conditions for success in the energy transition that humanity needs so badly for so many reasons. Some may be tough for today’s policy-makers to accept but the co-authors argue that all are essential. More|

LSEStatin use linked to few side effects

Statins - the popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs used widely to prevent recurrent heart disease and a first event - appear to cause few side effects, according to new research conducted by Huseyin Naci from LSE Health, Jasper Brugts from Erasmus Medical Center and Professor Tony Ades from the University of Bristol.

In their paper, published in Circulation: cardiovascular quality and outcomes, Naci and colleagues conducted the largest meta-analysis on statin side effects to date, reviewing data from 135 previous drug studies to evaluate the safety of the seven statins on the market. They concluded that "as a class, adverse events associated with statin therapy are not common".

The researchers noted that simvastatin and pravastatin, the generic names of the brands Zocor and Pravachol, were found to have the best safety profile in the class. This is particularly true when patients were prescribed low to moderate doses of those statins, said the study’s lead author Huseyin Naci, a doctoral candidate at LSE and research fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Population Medicine. More|

LSESocial housing tenants fear being displaced as house values skyrocket

Long-established social housing tenants living in some of the wealthiest areas of inner London fear the city’s escalating house prices could push them out of the areas they have lived in for generations.

The gentrification of their boroughs, rising living costs and changing communities are troubling low-income residents, according to an LSE report.

The report, commissioned by Octavia Housing, documents how social housing tenants feel about living in Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea.

The changing face of their neighbourhoods is fuelling their fears about the impact of welfare reforms, public spending cuts and job losses.

LSE’s findings endorse the social value of mixing high and low-income residents in expensive neighbourhoods, but also expose tenants’ fears for the future. More|

LSEAnti-depressant use in Europe increases by 20 per cent

The increasing uptake of anti-depressants across Europe in recent decades has coincided with a gradual decline in suicide rates over the same period, according to a new report published in the Public Library of Science.

Between 1995 and 2009, the use of antidepressants across Europe increased by almost 20 per cent per year on average, with a corresponding 0.8 per cent annual reduction in the suicide rate.

Researchers, including David McDaid from LSE, say that data collected from 29 European countries over three decades provides “strong evidence” that anti-depressants are playing a key role in treatment strategies for depression.

However, other factors can also come into play, such as a country’s GDP, cultural mores and access to psychological services. The report finds no consistent relationship between suicide rates and alcohol consumption, divorce, or employment rates. More|

LSEDid Labour's social policy programme work?

Labour’s increased social spending delivered major improvements to services and social outcomes but wider inequalities persisted, according to a new LSE report.

The report, Labour’s Social Policy Record: policy, spending and outcomes 1997-2010, assesses Labour’s record on social policy, including health, education, early years, neighbourhood renewal, benefits and pensions. It is a comprehensive analysis of Labour’s social policy record and the first phase in the Social Policy in a Cold Climate series of papers looking at the effect of political and economic change on social policy, poverty and equality.

The next phase will look specifically at the longer term effects of the financial crash and include up-to-date data on social policy under the coalition government. This will be published in 2015.

The report found that where Labour targeted investment, outcomes improved. Increases in spending facilitated a reduction in rates of child and pensioner poverty, shorter hospital waiting times, improved teacher-pupil ratios and improvements in neighbourhood facilities. But some issues which were not targeted saw little progress. Poverty for working age people without children rose and there was no real change in overall levels of income inequality, while wage inequalities grew at the top. More|

LSEMuseums out of touch when catering for people with disabilities of sight

British museums are putting too much focus on touch based exhibitions which do not provide a truly inclusive experience for many visitors with disabilities of sight, and should, instead, be using a mix of visual, non-visual and enhanced visual media, an academic from LSE has argued.

In a paper published in a special issue of the Disability Studies Quarterly, Dr Simon Hayhoe, a Centre Research Associate in the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences at LSE, examines the philosophical, political and religious roots behind touch focused exhibitions which are favoured by British museums as a way to cater for people who have disabilities of sight.

He argues that the theories behind these exhibitions can be traced back to the Enlightenment, when discussions stereotyped people with disabilities of sight as completely blind, having no visual memory and being entirely disinterested in visual culture and visual elements of society. Although understanding has moved on since then, museums are still too focused on touch based exhibitions as the primary way to communicate the artworks to these visitors. More|

LSESurrogacy in the EU

The European Parliament commissioned a study via LSE Enterprise to analyse the existing and possible legal approaches to surrogacy, a practice on the rise around the world and increasingly carried out across national borders.

The issues arising from surrogacy arrangements include contractual law, parental status and the welfare and civil status of the child, with accompanying health policy implications, financial, gender and power dynamics. What medical services are the surrogate mother entitled to in a country where surrogacy is illegal? How can the child’s rights to know its parents be balanced with the biological mother’s or donor’s right to anonymity? Who are the child’s legal parents? What is its nationality?

The report was written by Laurence Brunet of Université Paris, Janeen Carruthers from the University of Glasgow and four LSE researchers: Konstantina Davaki of LSE Health, Derek King from PSSRU, Claire Marzo from the European Institute and Julie McCandless from the Department of Law. More|

David StainforthMaking Sense of Uncertainty

Dr David Stainforth (pictured) and Professor Leonard Smith of LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Time Series, have contributed to a report by Sense About Science which challenges the idea that uncertainty in research is a reason for people to worry about the reliability of findings.

The report, entitled Making Sense of Uncertainty, was launched on Thursday 27 June at the World Conference of Science Journalists. The researchers say that if policy makers and the public are discouraged by the existence of uncertainty, we miss out on important discussions about the development of new drugs, taking action to mitigate the impact of natural hazards, how to respond to the changing climate and to pandemic threats.

Dr David Stainforth said: "Uncertainty is simply part of our understanding. Sometimes the details matter, sometimes they don’t, but uncertainty is not a barrier to taking good decisions. Nor is it unfamiliar. We all take decisions under uncertainty every day." The full report can be found here|.

Matthew HallHow experts gain influence

A paper co-authored by Dr Matthew Hall (pictured), a lecturer in the Department of Accounting, has been published in the latest edition of the Harvard Business Review.

The paper, which was written alongside Professor Anette Mikes of the Harvard Business School and Professor Yuval Millo of the University of Leicester, argues that functional leaders should develop four specific competencies in order to increase their impact.

The authors studied three sets of risk managers at two UK banks from 2006-11 and noted differences in how the managers used and shared their expertise. They found that influence comes from four competencies: trailblazing, toolmaking, teamwork, and translation. The managers who combined all four had the greatest visibility and impact. The paper can be found here|.

 
 
 

Information

To find out more about research opportunities, contact the Research Development Team at rescon@lse.ac.uk|.

To give feedback on this newsletter contact Nicole Gallivan, LSE Press Office, at n.gallivan@lse.ac.uk| or on ext 7582 or Michael Nelson, Research Division, at m.w.nelson@lse.ac.uk| or on ext 5221.

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