The use and treatment of animals in the provision of our food, clothing
and other raw materials, as well as in the areas of medical research,
sport and entertainment, polarises public opinion and provokes extreme
views. Research by Professor Robert Garner on the ethics and politics of
animal protection has provided a springboard for political debate and
decision making both in the UK and internationally. In particular,
Garner's work has impacted upon the debate within the animal protection
movement, and has helped to shape aspects of government policy on animal
welfare issues in general, most notably on the UK Government's approach to
the issue of whaling, and DEFRA's approach to the ethics of using wild
animals in circuses.
Research carried out by the Department of Sociology at the University of
Aberdeen into the
nature and extent of communal division in societies emerging from conflict
— particularly in
Northern Ireland — has directly benefitted policy makers and community
personal briefings and exposure on influential electronic media. The
research findings have
also benefitted action groups, peace practitioners, churches and other
civil society groups in
Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and elsewhere through workshops and training
they have raised awareness and understanding and stimulated debate through
purposeful use of online media outlets.
Research on the historian Herodotus, the history of the Achaemenid
Persian empire, and the complex relationship between Greek and Persian
worlds in the Classical period has had an impact in two main ways:
Professor David Feldman's research has influenced thinking about
antisemitism, racism and multiculturalism among a range of organisations
and policy makers. Since becoming first director of the Pears Institute
for the Study of Antisemitism in 2010, he has shaped its development by
pursuing a distinctive course of public engagement, with partners such as
the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, underpinned by the
insights of his research over two decades. As a result, he and the Pears
Institute are recognised as significant forces shaping public discourse
and policy thinking on issues related to antisemitism.
This case study assesses the impact of a series of knowledge exchange and
public engagement projects undertaken in London and Northern Ireland
between 2009 and 2013. These projects have made innovative applied use of
a substantial body of research into modern British and Irish religious
history conducted in the Unit.
This activity has:
In 2003, Professor Nick Bostrom published a ground-breaking article
entitled `Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?', in which he advanced
arguments to suggest that it is more than just a sceptical hypothesis that
we might be living in a computer simulation, it is almost certainly the
case. This article generated considerable interest, both within the
philosophical study and beyond it. It inspired: a popular `wiki site'
devoted to the idea; a highly acclaimed play World of Wires
(winner of the 2012 Obie Award for Best Direction), which ran in New York
and Paris in January and November 2012 respectively; a very successful
novel Bedlam, published early in 2013; and another novel The
Simulator, published in July 2013.
The impact within this case study is two-fold. Firstly through the
dissemination of her research, which focuses on the political, cultural
and economic interactions, co-operation and conflict between Muslim and
Christian communities in the early modern Mediterranean world, Dr Claire
Norton seeks to create impact by challenging current negative media
stereotypes of Muslims and Islamic cultures. This has been achieved
through a variety of public lectures, academic and more popular
publications, media appearances and pedagogical workshops with teachers.
Beneficiaries of the impact include interested members of the public,
teachers, schools, and -academic community stakeholders - both religious
and non-religious. Secondly Norton is currently working with teachers with
the aim of converting academic research into subject knowledge and usable
classroom resources, thus enabling teachers to integrate knowledge of
Islamic cultures into mainstream educational contexts with the aim of
challenging negative misconceptions.
In 2008 the Philosophy Department decided to organise its impact strategy
around the research activities of the Essex Autonomy Project (EAP). EAP
research has been conducted in two distinct strands with different
research outputs and impacts. This case study summarises the impact of our
work concerning the legal concept of best interests decision-making.
Through EAP public policy roundtables, EAP technical reports, and through
work with public organisations and public officials, EAP research has
informed professional and public discussion of the law of best interests,
has had impact in the development of public policy guidelines for
implementing legal requirements, and has played a role in the review and
reform of existing regulatory frameworks.
Dr Robert Beckford's research triangulates black liberation theology,
documentary film and racial justice practice. It has constructively
influenced the racial justice strategies in different settings and
contributed to civil society by challenging social assumptions and
cultural values. The case study demonstrates how Dr Beckford's research on
Biblical exorcism as a socio-political trope is translated into a
political resource by highlighting the empowerment and motivation for a
working group, working for equalities in the local community (Birmingham
Race Action Partnership, Bringing Hope), a black Pentecostal
church ministry and the empowerment of black workers at the Brighton and
Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Research carried out at the University of Exeter into the ancient
religious traditions reflected in
biblical texts has been at the centre of two major TV documentary series.
Advised and, for one
series, written and presented by the main researcher, Francesca
documentaries contributed to the content and delivery of public
broadcasting and greatly extended
public understanding of the evidence concerning foundational aspects of
the Jewish and Christian
faiths. These documentaries, each episode of which was seen by over 1.5
million viewers, became
the subject of intense public debate, generating much discussion and
response in both national
and international media. Stavrakopoulou, dubbed "the BBC's new face of
religion" by the
Telegraph, also communicated the research in numerous other
broadcasts and public events.