Economic and Social Research Council
ESRC announces winners of national science writing competition: Better Lives
Winners have been announced for a national science writing competition organised by the Economic and Social Research Council, called Better Lives. Finalists were in attendance at an awards ceremony at the British Academy in London on 4 April 2019.
The ESRC, in partnership with SAGE Publishing, was running its third student writing competition and ESRC-funded PhD students were asked to explain how their research has an impact on improving the lives of people. Two winners were picked from 12 finalists with 117 applicants entering the competition in total.
The winners were: Ian Ross, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with his article Better Lives with better toilets and Rosie Cowan, Queen’s University Belfast with her article Notes on a G-string.
Rosie Cowan’s article outlines her research’s attempt to improve the treatment of rape complainants by the criminal justice system through the use of mock juries to investigate attitudes to rape in Northern Ireland. The article draws its name from women’s bloodstained underwear being brandished in courts to infer intention and in a manner where it can feel like the victim is the one on trial.
Ian Ross’s article explores his research into improving the lives of 1.4 billion people who use a toilet that does not meet World Health Organisation standards for ‘basic’ toilets. Ian’s research is based on developing a measure of sanitation-related quality of life that can be used to compare investment options when money is spent by governments. The research is part of the MapSan Trial supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Miranda Nunhofer, Vice President, Editorial Journals SAGE Publishing said: “As both a publisher of the social sciences and a vocal advocator, dedicated to working with the academic community to champion the value of the social science disciplines, SAGE Publishing is delighted be supporting the ESRC’s writing competition– awards which both highlight creative thinking from emerging voices and underscore the important value that social science research holds.”
Entrants were encouraged to use their imagination to write 800 words that would capture the interest of the public, engage people with their research and demonstrate their writing and communication skills.
Professor Shamit Saggar, Director, The University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute, and a judge for the competition said: "The judging panel of the 2019 Better Lives competition examined many excellent examples of work that showed the very best of ESRC-supported doctoral research that was both intellectually strong and highly focused on tackling real-world practical social problems. The finalists amply demonstrated that social science matters in shaping evidence-led solutions. Investment in doctoral research is therefore vital and reflects the seriousness in our ambitions as a society to drive prosperity and social cohesion."
The competition celebrates and fosters the writing skills of the next generation of social scientists, while engaging the public with the incredible breadth and depth of social science research taking place throughout the UK.
Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC recently said:
“The winners’ entries are a celebration of the work and writing of researchers who have told their stories in a compelling and engaging way. Writing about research in language that connects with the general public is a vital skill for all researchers to develop today, and we saw much evidence of it in this competition. There were important findings on sensitive issues and experiences; and the writers employed a range of writing styles to discuss their research, humanising and personalising it in the process.”
Latest News from
Economic and Social Research Council
UK Climate Resilience town hall meeting16/09/2019 15:25:00
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Met Office invite applications to attend a town hall meeting focused on UK Climate Resilience in London (venue to be confirmed) on Thursday 3 October 2019.
UK contribution to social science research on climate change 'significant'13/09/2019 14:25:00
The UK makes a significant contribution to social science research on climate change but important research gaps remain, a comprehensive review of UK-funded research in this area finds.
Pre-announcement: Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources research programme09/09/2019 12:25:00
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) would like to announce the timetable for a new £12.4m research programme on the Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (SMMR), delivered in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Marine Scotland.
Mental health, civil rights and workplace tech receive £25 million boost04/09/2019 09:25:00
Centres driving advances in social research – such as in mental health treatment and prevention, and civil rights and engagement – received a boost yesterday as the government unveiled £25 million for social science research.
UK joins forces with international experts to tackle global challenges09/08/2019 16:05:00
UK researchers and innovators will work with counterparts across the planet to tackle global challenges such as Ebola outbreaks, the impact of subpolar ocean currents on global climate, and the effect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on society and individuals’ happiness and wellbeing following a major funding announcement.
Pre-announcement: ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge Research Director and Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme05/08/2019 15:25:00
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has now announced its plan for delivering the Healthy Ageing Challenge, an investment of £98 million to enable businesses, including social enterprises, to develop and deliver products, services and business models that will be adopted at scale which support people as they age.
Winners of the ESRC 2019 Celebrating Impact Prize announced10/07/2019 14:33:00
Researchers whose work has made a real difference to society or the economy were celebrated at the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual Celebrating Impact Prize awards ceremony at the Royal Society on 9 July.
Productivity institute: expressions of interests invited10/07/2019 10:43:00
As part of the ESRC’s Transforming Productivity Research priority, expressions of interest are being invited from researchers at eligible research organisations to develop bids for a productivity institute.
Prime Minister announces cutting-edge modern slavery research centre10/07/2019 09:25:00
Modern slavery traps over 40 million people worldwide and costs the UK economy more than £3 billion a year. A new research centre, yesterday announced by the Prime Minister, will focus on prevention, victim recovery, supply chains and law enforcement to help put an end to this crime.