Prosperity & Resilience

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Sarah von Billerbeck, Fiona Ross, Teresa Tavassoli, Kim Watson, Clare Watt

The University of Reading secured nearly £10m of research awards in the second quarter of 2017/18, latest figures show.

Projects worth £9.8 million were given the go-ahead, with funding from UK research councils, government, industry and charities adding to the total.

The following are among those winning awards between November 2017 and January 2018:

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Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing humanity. While we will all feel its impact, it hits hardest the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet. To mark the UN World Day of Social Justice 2018, we highlight our new Reading Centre for Climate and Justice which was launched last month by Mrs Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Image by Asian Development Bank licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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By Dr Federico Faloppa, Lecturer in Italian Studies


Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne (P31) rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton

Ahead of the General Election that will take place on 4 March this year, President Sergio Mattarella urged all parties to keep their electoral promises realistic, practical and responsible, and notably, to calm down.

In his New Year’s speech, Mattarella attempted to remind the campaigning parties, and the general public, that jobs and the economy are “the primary and most serious social issue, especially for the young.”

However, it seems that the advice has fallen on deaf ears. Not only are Italian election campaigns dominated by unfulfillable promises, but they are also presenting immigration as Italy’s biggest concern: the perfect scapegoat not to tackle the real problems of the country, and to cover for main parties’ political failure to offer Italians decent socio-economic prospects. Read the rest of this entry »

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Despite numerous initiatives to tackle educational inequalities and encourage social mobility, little has changed in the past 50 years. Here, Dr Carol Fuller, Associate Professor at Reading’s Institute of Education invites you to join her at a symposium in Westminster on 27 February which she hopes will help change the way policy-makers think about education.

Turning education policy on its head

Our research shows that activities that build confidence, resilience and self-efficacy outside the classroom can make a real difference in the classroom. But despite a wealth of evidence and research, activities like these are not part of the formal curriculum. And education policy-makers remain transfixed with attainment figures and grades.

On the 27 February, I will be joined by education experts and practitioners at a symposium in Westminster to figure out why the educational attainment gap between “the haves” and “the have nots” shows no change.

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Reading was fifth in the UK for funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Researchers at the University of Reading won a record amount of research funding from the UK Research Councils in 2016/17, a new analysis has shown.

Funding for Reading-led research projects from the six main research councils increased to £14.5 million in 2016/17, up by more than 40% from 2015/16.

The success was highlighted by an analysis of Research Council success rates by Times Higher Education (THE).

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By Lydia Messling, University of Reading

Is it fair that climate change has the worst effects in areas that contributed to the problem the least?

It isn’t just polar bears being affected by climate change – people all over the world are already being negatively affected by changes to the climate, from droughts, flooding, and ruined harvests.

That’s not fair. Particularly as these communities had no role in making the problem in the first place. Fast forward a few years, and the environmental situation for our children’s children is not looking too peachy either… but could it look green?

If we changed the way we thought about climate change instead of it being ‘just a problem for science to solve’ to a problem about social justice, could we come up with a solution that addresses injustice that would help these communities and climate change at the same time? Can fairness create a green future?

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By Professor Rosa Freedman, Professor of Law, Conflict and Global Development, University of Reading

United Nations flag

The vast majority of the over 100,000 UN uniformed peacekeeping personnel perform their jobs with courage, dedication and professionalism. Yet those who do commit sexual offences bring shame on the entire UN system and betray the trust of those that they have been sent to protect.

There is a need for system-wide reform to ensure that such abuses cannot again occur with widespread impunity. University of Reading researchers and Keeping Children Safe are forming a proposal for such reform (details on our website) and the project will be showcased during our ESRC Festival of Social Science events next week.

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By Dr Yota Dimitriadi, Institute of Education, University of Reading

The pain and fear of death is a topic that unites us all.

Generous funding by the ESRC is allowing us to put together a community event during the upcoming Festival of Social Science to discuss the unspoken ‘D’ word.

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The first edition of the Prosperity and Resilience theme’s newsletter was recently sent out. It showcases the research of our newest Research Division, Global Development, which brings together researchers from four of the University’s Schools – Agriculture and Policy Development; Archaeology, Geography, and Environmental Sciences; Law; and Politics, Economics and International Relations – with a common interest in issues of global development.

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