Category / REF Subjects

New Sociology book by BU’s Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim

Congratulations to Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, on the publication of her book East Asian Mothers in Britain: An Intersectional Exploration of Motherhood and Employment.   This book focus on how Chinese, Japanese and Korean mothers in the UK make sense of their motherhood and employment. It addresses questions such as: “What are the intersecting factors that shape these women’s identities, experiences and stories?”

Contributing further to the continuing discourse and development of intersectionality, this book examines East Asian migrant women’s stories of motherhood, employment and gender relations by deploying interlocking categories that go beyond the meta axes of race, gender and class, including factors such as husbands’ ethnicities and the locality of their settlement. Through this, Dr. Lim argues for more detailed and context specific analytical categories of intersectionality, enabling a more nuanced understanding of migrant women’s stories and identities.

The book is published by Palgrave Macmillan (hardcover ISBN978-3-319-75634-9), see website: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783319756349

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

 

Dr Eliza Watt’s Contribution to the UN GGE 2015 Norms Proposal

Dr Eliza Watt Commended on Her Excellent Contribution to the Commentary on the UN Group of Government Experts 2015 cyber norms proposal coordinated by Leiden University’s Hague Programme for Cyber Norms

In response to rapidly emerging threats and risks relating to state behaviour in cyberspace the United Nations Group of Government Experts (UN GGE) issued in 2015 a list of recommendations of responsible state behaviour. Three years later, Leiden University’s Hague Program for Cyber Norms successfully concluded its commentary project on these recommendations, titled ‘Civil Society and Disarmament 2017: Voluntary, Non-Legally Binding Norms for Responsible State Behaviour in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies: A Commentary’ (the Commentary).

Dr Eliza Watt, a Bournemouth University law lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Conflict, Rule of Law and Society (CRoLS), was invited to take part in the consultation process and to contribute to the commentary on UN GGE 2015 Recommendation 13(e). The Recommendation calls upon states to guarantee full respect for human rights ensuring the secure use of ICTs. Dr Watt made a valid contribution to the Commentary, including the analysis of the scope of application of human rights treaties in cyberspace, in particular the extraterritorial obligations of states under these treaties and the extent of states’ obligations when conducting cyber surveillance activities. She has also provided a synthesis on the proposal by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE) regarding its multilateral ‘non-spy’ treaty put forward in 2015. In addition, Dr Watt also recognized the need for a clear definition and distinction being made in law between cyber surveillance and cyber espionage. Her other contributions related to the issues of data protection, focusing on the CoE  2001 Additional Protocol  to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows. Her recommendation in this context related to the CoE Draft Modernized Convention on the Automatic Processing of Personal Data published in 2016 as representing perhaps the only prospect for a universal standard in the field of data privacy.

Dr Watt has been commended for her ‘excellent contribution to the Commentary’ by one of its co-authors, Dr Barrie Sander of Leiden University.

New GCRF-funded study in South Asia

A new multidisciplinary project in South Asia, run between two of Bournemouth University’s Faculties, has recently been funded.  The cross-faculty project “Scoping Study to understand the maternal health ageing and wellness in rural India to develop a grass-root centre addressing these issues” has Dr Shanti Shanker (Psychology) as its principal investigator in collaboration with Prof Edwin van Teijlingen (Human Sciences & Public Health).   These BU lead researchers have been working in India and Nepal for more than a decade.

This project was recently awarded £76k from the HEFCE GCRF (Higher Education Funding Council for England, Global Challenge Research Funds) Call, at Bournemouth University.  The project will be running from 2017 to 2021 between Maharashtra, India, Nepal and the UK.  This important research initiative  aligns closely with Bournemouth University’s strategic plan around South Asia through Connect India.  Connect India is BU’s hub of practice which focuses on the world’s most populated areas and a global region which is developing rapidly in many ways.

New BU mental health paper published

Congratulations to FHSS students Folashade Alloh and Igoche Onche who found out today that their ‘Mental health in low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC): Going beyond the need for funding’ has been accepted for publication by the editors of Health Prospect.  The paper is co-authored by FHSS staff Dr Pramod Regmi, Prof Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr Steven Trenoweth. Health Prospect is an Open Access journal.

More than 70% of the global mental health burden occurs in many low-and middle-income countries (LMIC). The paper discusses mental health issues in LMIC under different themes such as abuse and mental illness, cultural influence on mental health, need for dignity in care, meeting financial and workforce gaps and the need for national health policy for mental health sector. The paper highlights that mental health education and health care services in most LMIC is poorly resourced; however, there is an urgent need to address issues beyond funding that contribute to poor mental health. In order to meet the increasing challenge of mental health illness in LMIC, there is a need for effort to address cultural and professional practices that contribute to poor mental health among individuals. The authors argue that mental health should be integrated into primary health care in LMIC. Creating awareness on impact of some cultural attitudes/practices will encourage better uptake of mental health services and increase the ease of discussing mental health issues in these countries which will contribute to reducing stigma faced by mental health patients.

Government areas of research interest

Did you know that government departments publish their areas of research interest?  This is a guide to where research funds might go, and is useful if you are thinking about policy impact.

The collection is here, and four new ones have been added today:

The DCMS one says “It is designed to encourage researchers and academics to explore those topics that could be of benefit to DCMS and our sectors and act as a starting point for future collaboration.”

There are strategic themes and long lists of specific questions – if you’re working on any of these, you might want to read our blog from earlier today and contact the policy team. 

Dr Alison Cronin’s book on economic crime published

Congratulations to Dr Alison Cronin on the publication of her book, “Corporate Criminality and Liability for Fraud” by Routledge which builds on her PhD thesis. Taking a rational reconstruction of orthodox legal principles, and reference to recent discoveries in neuroscience, Alison reveals some startling truths about the criminal law, its history and the fundamental doctrines that underpin the attribution of criminal fault. With important implications for the criminal law generally, the focus of the book is the development of a theory of corporate criminality that accords with the modern approach to group agency. Alison puts forward the theoretical and practical means by which companies can be prosecuted, where liability cannot or should not be attributed to its individual directors/ officers.

Political Updates

 A smorgasbord of content for you this week – rifle through to find the topics most of interest to you. We’ve got: pollinators, research integrity, mental health, nursing news, plastic waste, several new funded competitions from the Government, praise for the arts and creative sectors, smart energy systems, immersive technologies, the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges, tackling social challenges, Guidance from Innovate UK and on Horizon 2020, an important survey on international students, new Royal Society Fellows, an article on the AI brain drain, and the forthcoming Environmental Principles and Governance Bill. Enjoy!

 

Pollinators

On Tuesday Ben Bradley (Conservative, Mansfield) made his case for a Private Members’ Bill to make provision about the protection of pollinators. Permission to progress the Bill was granted and our regional MP Oliver Letwin will take part in presenting the bill.

 

Research Integrity

Sam Gyimah was interviewed for the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee investigation into research integrity. The committee heard that universities should be held responsible for the full compliance of upholding standards of research integrity but the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation declined to assert that funding should be dependent on this. Other topics covered included concordant sign up, self-assessment and disclosure in clinical trials. Read the full summary of the session provided by Dods Consultants here.

 

Mental Health

The Commons Education, Health and Social Care Committees have published their response to the inquiry on young people’s mental health: The Government’s Green Paper on mental health: failing a generation.   An oral parliamentary question was also asked on the topic on Tuesday:

Q – Helen Whately: I welcome the Green Paper on mental health in schools, which was published earlier this year, but it does prompt a question about the mental health of students in further and higher education. Does my right hon. Friend have any plans to look into that issue? If he does not, may I urge him to do so?

A – Jackie Doyle-Price: I thank my hon. Friend for her question and her continued industry on these matters. As she mentioned, the Green Paper outlined plans to set up a new national strategic partnership focused on improving the mental health of 16 to 25-year-olds. That partnership is likely to support and build on sector-led initiatives in higher education, such as Universities UK’s #stepchange project, whose launch I attended in September. The strategy calls on higher education leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority, to take a whole-university approach to mental health and to embed it across policies, courses and practices.

 

Nursing Places

Nursing has been in the news again this week. A series of oral parliamentary questions reveal the Government’s unwavering approach towards nurse training and on Wednesday there was a debate on the Government’s plans to remove funding from post-graduate converters into nursing (announced in February). The removal affects the two-year course for those who hold degrees in other subjects. It is controversial as this is the fastest way to train a registered nurse and there is currently a shortage of 40,000 nurses in England. The change brings the post-graduate courses in line with the undergraduate nurse training which has already lost the NUS bursary and now falls under the student loan system.

The Commons debate was secured as a result of opposition pressure, following a report by the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, which referenced evidence submitted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The RCN arranged for a number of student nurses, who currently receive post-graduate funding, to visit parliament during April to meet MPs and peers and explain what financial support has meant for them.

 

Michael Lawton, who received the NHS post-graduate bursary and is currently working as a registered nurse, said: “Without the bursary I couldn’t have applied and I wouldn’t be in a career I love, giving patients the great care they deserve. I know I make a difference every day.

MPs I’ve spoken to are shocked at how many hours we do in clinical placement. By removing the bursary, the Government is asking people to pay to work on placements to keep the NHS afloat and that isn’t right.

Current post-graduate nursing student Georgie Ellmore-Jones said:

“After my undergraduate degree I was already in a lot of debt. When I looked at pursuing a career in nursing and saw it was funded, it made it more certain in my mind that I wanted to do it. At post-graduate level many of the students have families and children to look after so adding more debt will only discourage potential students.”

 

On Tuesday there were a series of oral questions on nursing to the Minister for Health (Stephen Barclay), his answers reveal the Government’s thinking towards nurse training.

Q – Gill Furniss (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) & (Lab) Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) (Lab/Co-op) & Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) (Lab/Co-op): What assessment he has made of the effect of the withdrawal of NHS bursaries on applications for nursing degrees.

A – The Minister for Health (Stephen Barclay): Nursing remains a strong career choice, with more than 22,500 students placed during the 2017 UCAS application cycle. Demand for nursing places continues to outstrip the available training places.

Q – Gill Furniss: Figures from the Royal College of Nursing show that applications have fallen by 33% since the withdrawal of bursaries. At the same time, the Government’s Brexit shambles has led to a drastic decline in EU nursing applications. How many years of such decline do we have to see before the Secretary of State and the Minister will intervene?

A – Stephen Barclay: What matters is not the number of rejected applicants, but the increase in places—the number of people actually training to be a nurse. The reality is that 5,000 more nurses will be training each year up to 2020 as a result of the changes.

Q – Stella Creasy: The NHS already has 34,000 nursing vacancies. Given that there has been a 97% drop in nursing applications from the EU and that studies show that nearly half of all hospital shifts include agency nurses, will the Minister at least admit that cutting the bursary scheme has been a false economy for our NHS?

A – Stephen Barclay: It is not a false economy to increase the supply of nurses, which is what the changes have done. Indeed, they form part of a wider package of measures, including “Agenda for Change”, pay rises and the return to practice scheme, which has seen 4,355 starters returning to the profession. More and more nurses are being trained, which is why we now have over 13,000 more nurses than in 2010.

Q – Grahame Morris: I respectfully remind the Minister that this is about recruitment and retention. The RCN says that we can train a postgraduate nurse within 18 months, which is a significant untapped resource, so why are the Government planning to withdraw support from postgraduate nurses training, too?

A – Stephen Barclay: We have a debate involving postgraduate nursing tomorrow, but the intention is to increase the number of such nurses by removing the current cap, which means that many who want to apply for postgraduate courses cannot find the clinical places to do so. That is the nature of tomorrow’s debate, and I look forward to seeing the hon. Gentleman in the Chamber.

Q – Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con):  Will my hon. Friend, on top of the degree nursing apprenticeships, rapidly increase the nursing apprenticeship programme so nurses can earn while they learn, have no debt and get a skill that they and our country need?

A – Stephen Barclay: My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to signpost this as one of a suite of ways to increase the number of nurses in the profession. As he alludes to, there will be 5,000 nursing apprenticeships this year, and we are expanding the programme, with 7,500 starting next year.

Q – Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne) (LD): With every reputable independent body showing very clearly that we have a staffing crisis in the NHS nursing profession, can the Minister explain how cutting bursaries actually improves the situation?

A – Stephen Barclay: I am very happy to do so. We are removing the cap on the number of places covered by the bursaries and increasing the number of student places by 25%, which means that there will be 5,000 more nurses in training as a result of these changes.

Q – Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) (SNP): The Secretary of State’s removal of the nursing bursary and introduction of tuition fees have resulted in a 33% drop in applications in England. In Scotland, we have kept the bursary, a carer’s allowance and free tuition, which means that student nurses are up to £18,000 a year better off, and indeed they also earn more once they graduate. Does the Minister recognise that that is why applications in Scotland have remained stable while in England they have dropped by a third?

A- Stephen Barclay: The hon. Lady speaks with great authority on health matters, but, again, she misses the distinction between the number of applicants and the number of nurses in training. It is about how many places are available, and we are increasing by 25% the number of nurses in training. That is what will address the supply and address some of the vacancies in the profession.

Q – Dr Whitford: Workforce is a challenge for all four national health services across the UK, but, according to NHS Improvement, there are 36,000 nursing vacancies in England, more than twice the rate in Scotland. The Minister claims that more nurse students are training, but in fact there were 700 fewer in training in England last year, compared with an 8% increase in Scotland. The key difference is that in Scotland we are supporting the finances of student nurses, so will the Government accept that removing the nursing bursary was a mistake and reintroduce it?

A – Stephen Barclay: The distinction the hon. Lady fails to make is that in England we are increasing the number of nurses in training by 25%; we are ensuring that nurses who have left the profession can return through the return-to-work programme; and we are introducing significant additional pay through “Agenda for Change”. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon) said, we are also creating new routes so that those who come into the NHS through other routes, such as by joining as a healthcare assistant, are not trapped in those roles but are able to progress, because the Conservative party backs people who want to progress in their careers. Healthcare assistants who want to progress into nursing should have that opportunity.

Q – Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Lab): When defending the decision to scrap bursaries, the Secretary of State said that, if done right, it could provide up to 20,000 extra nursing posts by 2020. Well, that figure now looks wildly optimistic, with applications down two years in a row. Is it not time that Ministers admitted they have got this one wrong and joined the Opposition in the Lobby tomorrow to vote against any further extensions to this failed policy?

A – Stephen Barclay: If Members vote against the policy tomorrow, the reality is that they will be voting for a cap on the number of postgraduate nurses going into the system, and therefore they will be saying that more people should be rejected—more people should lose the opportunity to become nurses—because they want to have a cap that restricts the supply of teaching places.

 

Plastics

The Government have announced a new research and innovation hub to tackle plastic waste in the oceans.

 

Arts Projects Support for the North

The PM spoke on Tuesday to praise Britain’s arts sector:

But of course, the value of culture and creativity lies not only in its economic strength. Just as important is the less tangible contribution that it makes to our national life. The work you do brings joy to millions. It fosters unity, gives us a common currency. It helps to define and build our sense of national character.

“Without culture […] society is but a jungle”. Your work is a vital part of our national life and our national economy, and I am absolutely committed to supporting it.

Our ambitious sector deal for the creative industries, announced just before Easter, will see a further £150 million invested by government and industry, spreading success and making the sector fit to face the future.

She also announced a £3 million fund of new money to support creative projects within the Northern Powerhouse region on Tuesday. Offering a mix of grants and loans, the social investment fund will be open to non-profit, community-based organisations that deliver a positive social impact.

Full speech here.

 

Smart Energy Systems

The Government announced £41.5 million funds for design and trial of of new business models that intelligently link supply, storage and demand in heating, power and transport. Thee Innovate UK competition has two elements: up to £40 million is available for 3 smart energy system demonstrators, while up to £1.5 million is available for studies into new, smarter approaches to local energy.

 

Audiences of the Future – Commercial opportunities in the creative industries

The Government has announced a funding competition – Audience of the future: demonstrators opening Monday 21 May. £16 million will be invested in 4 large scale creative industries demonstrator projects (£5-£10 million each) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It aims to explore future global, mass market, commercial opportunities in the creative industries. Primarily this will be through pre-commercial collaboration at scale. Projects should significantly improve the current state of art in their field. The projects must explore new ways of communication with mass audiences (100,000+) using new immersive technologies and experiences that are a significant advancement on the state of art in the chosen area. The high level of innovation and scale should be capable of transforming the sector and replicable across the creative industries. The project should generate audience and consumer information that could be used to test the viability of new business models. The Government suggests that areas with strong potential could include moving images, access to live sporting events, visitor experiences in museums and galleries, and music and theatre performance.  See here for more information.

A further £1 million is available for early-stage projects (£20-60k) that seek to understand customer needs for immersive experiences and the tools needed to deliver them. Early-stage projects should use human-centered design and look at audience behaviour to develop ideas for new products and services. Particular areas could include:

  • advancing the state-of-the-art with immersive experiences that are desirable and fit-for-purpose
  • producing high-quality immersive content cheaper, faster and in a way that is more accessible
  • improving physical devices such as eyewear and controllers, or haptic feedback
  • new digital platforms and services to deliver immersive content

See here for more information on the early-stage projects.

Resolving Social Challenges

On Thursday Oliver Dowden (Minister for Implementation) announced a series of competitions for tech firms to develop solutions tackling current social challenges.  While the initiatives focus on the business sector some of the topics are interesting. Each contributes to the Government’s Grand Challenges – the data economy; clean growth; reducing plastic waster, tackling loneliness and healthy ageing and the future of mobility – the competition is designed to incentivise Britain’s tech firms to come up with innovative solutions to improve public services.

The forthcoming challenges:

  • Identifying terrorist still imagery (Home Office). Home Office research shows that more than two-thirds of terrorist propaganda disseminated online is still imagery. This project will support both Government analysis of, and broader efforts to remove, this harmful material.
  • Tracking waste through the waste chain, submitted by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). A new technological approach could help record, check and track waste, helping boost productivity, reduce costs, and protect both human health and the environment.
  • Tackling loneliness and rural isolation, submitted by Monmouthshire Council. The government recognises that rural transport is vital to local communities, and businesses. A technological solution, exploiting vehicles with spare capacity could support rural economies.
  • Cutting traffic congestion, submitted by Department for Transport (DfT). Greater collection and new analysis of data could help target interventions to cut congestion.
  • Local authorities have large numbers of council vehicles crossing their areas every day. If they can be equipped with innovative data capture systems, they could understand potholes, litter, recycling, parking, air quality and more in real-time, every day, for no added cost. This could mean reduced service delivery costs and better local services.

The first of these competitions opens on Monday 14 May and runs for six weeks, with the remaining competitions being launched in subsequent months. Tech firms bidding to the fund will have free rein to create truly innovative fixes. Winning companies will be awarded up to £50,000 to develop their ideas.

 

Guidance

Innovate UK have released general guidance for grant applicants, including applying for a business innovation grant, funding rules and participation levels.

The Government have released guidance on Horizon 2020: what it is and how to apply for funding.

International Students

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has been tasked by the Government to assess the impact of international students. Previously they asked for evidence of impact from the HE sector with much response from HE institutions but little response from international students themselves. To redress this evidence gap the MAC have issued a survey directly to students. Universities have been asked to disseminate this survey and encourage their students to complete it. Here is the link.

Environmental Principles and Governance Bill

Michael Gove has announced the introduction of the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, which will “ensure environmental protections will not be weakened as we leave the EU.” It will introduce a new body to hold the Government to account for environmental outcomes. Subject to consultation, the new body could specifically be responsible for:

  • providing independent scrutiny and advice on existing and future government environmental law and policy;
  • responding to complaints about government’s delivery of environmental law; and
  • holding government to account publicly over its delivery of environmental law and exercising enforcement powers where necessary.The Government is also consulting on an intention to require minister to produce a “statutory and comprehensive policy statement setting out how they will apply core environmental principles as they develop policy and discharge their responsibilities”. The new Bill will also ensure Government’s continue to have to regard environmental principlesRoyal SocietyArtificial Intelligence
  • The Financial Times has an article: UK universities alarmed by poaching of top computer science brains.
  • Wonkhe report that: 50 new Royal Society Fellows and Foreign Members have been elected to join the existing c.1,600. They are all scientists, engineers, and technologists who are from, or living and working in, the UK and the Commonwealth. New additions include Jim Al-Khalili, Michelle Simmons and Elon Musk, with David Willetts the Honorary Fellow,. Of the 50 12 are women.
  • The consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on Thursday 2 August. The draft will be published in the Autumn, and the Bill will be introduced in the second session of this parliament.

Best wishes,

Sarah

Grant Development & Writing Retreat 10 – 12 September 2018

 

 

 

Do you have a great idea for research in health, social care or public health?

Would you or your team benefit from protected time and expert support to develop your idea into a competitive funding application?

Research Design Service South West (RDS SW) are offering a unique opportunity for health, social care and public health professionals across England to attend a three-day residential Grant Development & Writing Retreat – 10-12 September 2018, School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury.

Applications are invited from individuals or teams of two or three people, at least one of whom must be a health, social care or public health professional working in England. Successful applicants will be offered a free place at the retreat which will include food and accommodation*.The purpose of the Retreat is to give busy professionals dedicated time to rapidly progress their research proposal.

If you think your research team would benefit from protected time and expert support, you can apply to attend the Retreat by submitting a standard form which is available from your local RDS office, hosted by BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) on the 5th floor of Royal London House. Feel free to pop in and see us, call us on 61939 or send us an email.

If in doubt, please contact the coordinating centre at rds.sw@nihr.ac.uk

Delegates are encouraged to work on their projects with local RDS staff before applying to attend the Retreat. The views of the RDS will play an important part in deciding which teams will be invited to attend. It is crucial, therefore, that teams work closely with their local RDS advisers when preparing their applications. It is advisable for teams considering attending the Retreat to contact their local RDS office as early as possible.

The deadline for submission of this form is 12noon, Wednesday 6 June 2018.

 * excludes travel to/from Canterbury.

Find out more about the Retreat.

AiMM researcher provides expert opinion

With the imminent arrival of General Data Protection Regulation and continued fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the misuse of people’s personal data and privacy has become a topic of strategic importance for governments, regulators and businesses alike.

Conor O’Kane, from the Advances in Media Management (AiMM) research group, has been researching the use of ‘privacy seals’ as a means to enable individuals to better control their personal data. His work continues to resonate with the popular press who have sought out his expert opinion in order to demystify the key issues surrounding data protection. His latest piece in the Daily Mirror argues that the use of a privacy seal would be an important step in rebuilding our public trust.

Enhance your Impact in Preparation for the REF

The Research and Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO) through the Research & Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF) has a number of workshops in the coming months to assist you in developing and enhancing the impact that you can make with your research, with particular reference to the REF.

Please follow the links above to find out more and to book. You will then receive a meeting request giving the room location. Many of these events have input from external presenters; please ensure that you are in the room and ready to commence at the given start time.

If you would like to discuss impact outside these workshops, please contact the RKEO Knowledge and Impact Team.

Publication by BU midwifery student

Rebecca Weston, BU student midwife, on the publication of her article: ‘When all you want to do is run out of the room…‘  Rebecca published this reflective piece in May issue of the journal The Practising Midwife.  She wrote it shortly after having been involved in “a traumatic, sudden and heart-breaking event in practice”.   Reflection is certainly beneficial in experiential learning, developing critical thinking and integrating midwifery theory and practice.

It is my pleasure to wrote this BU Research Blog to congratulate Rebecca today on the International day of the Midwife

Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

Political News (w/e 4 May 2018)

 

Environment Minister  Thérèse Coffey made an announcement on funding for microplastics research

Digital media experts discuss internet regulation

The Commons Select Committee have opened an inquiry into the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Contact the Policy Team if you’d like to contribute to BU’s response to this inquiry.

The Foreign Affairs Committee held an evidence session questioning academics on the responsibility to protect and humanitarian intervention.

 

Key personnel changes:

Which? – Peter Vicary-Smith to stand down as Chief Executive.

Cancer Research UK – Michelle Mitchell to replace Harpal Kumar as Chief Executive in the summer.

Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards – Stuart Dollow appointed as Chair from 1st June for three years.

Care Quality Commission – Ian Trenholm to replace David Behan as Chief Executive in July.

 

Have a lovely weekend!

Beyond Snapchat: unaccompanied refugee children’s media experiences in Sweden

Sweden in March: snow, wind and temperatures of 2-3 °C. The perfect time for doing field work. “How do you cope with this weather?” – I asked the president of the Ensomkommandes Förbund organisation, a 23-year old young woman from Afghanistan. „Well, if one has to choose between being safe or being cold, I’m sure that most people will choose this freezing weather”- she replied with a smile. I couldn’t have agreed more.

We met at the community center of her NGO that was opened for unaccompanied refugee youth in Southern Sweden. The center is managed mostly by unaccompanied young refugees, and it offers a range of courses, from Swedish to photography or modern dances. It is also a popular place to meet with friends after school.

I was in Sweden for the second phase of the EU-funded Marie Curie project on how displaced children (aged 14-18) use digital technology and (social) media. If during my first trip to the Netherlands, I got to know the work of guardians/mentors and Eritrean music and cuisine, in Sweden I could pinpoint better the impact national and local policies have on asylum-seeking young refugees. Sweden has been in the spotlight recently as it was criticised by international organisations for not enhancing enough the protection of asylum seekers. Moreover, its Finance minister recently declared that she regrets her government’s decision to let more than 160,000 refugees into Sweden, as integration is not working. While the migration debate is quite heated, one has to acknowledge the type of support given to unaccompanied refugee children. From access to digital technologies, private and public housing and a myriad of services/programmes offered by NGOs and volunteers, probably many other EU countries would have a lot to learn from this Nordic country.

As in the case of the Netherlands, I was overcome by the dedication of the mentors and the volunteers who work tirelessly for these children. I also learned a lot from the young people themselves: about ambition, hope and hard work in trying to build up a new life. We talked about apps and social media, and meanwhile we shared stories about food and home and sometimes, struggles.

The next phase of the research will take place in Italy, the country with the biggest share of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

I am much indebted to Patrik and his team, Mahboba and Malmö municipality for their support.

Photo credit: the author and Ensomkommandes Förbund.