Policy@Sussex is a bridge between policy relevant social science research across several departments of the University of Sussex and the policy makers, influencers and shapers who act on evidence. A strong interdisciplinary approach and rigorous academic research offers innovative insights on current policy challenges.
Lecturer in Accounting (University of Sussex Business School).
On 15 October 2017, an American actress, Alyssa Milano, tweeted: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet”.
Everyone knows what happened next. The Twitter message went viral and triggered one of the largest contemporary movements against abuse of power, assault and harassment. This social movement is continuous and ongoing, digital and global, uniting and encouraging thousands of women and men to speak out and act against sexual harassment and assault.
The problem of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace is complex and needs to be tackled from many different directions.
Dr Goncharenko commenced a research project in November 2018 that aimed to understand how the #MeToo movement transformed the public perception of accountability for abuse of power in the workplace and caused the development of new social and regulatory mechanisms to hold organisations and individuals to account.
Lecturer in Energy Policy (SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit) University of Sussex.
With the development of renewable energy sources, decentralised energy production is becoming more prevalent and its rapid expansion is disrupting politics in the energy sector.
Generated off-grid and produced close to where it will be used – rather than at a large plant elsewhere and sent through the national grid – decentralised energy can include micro-renewables, heating and cooling as well as geothermal, biomass or solar energy. Schemes can serve a single building, a whole community or be built out across an entire city.
As renewable energy communities capture market share, they are disrupting ownership of a sector that has traditionally been controlled by a relatively small number of profit-maximizing firms with increasing political conflict between new entrants and incumbent regime actors.
Dr Marie Claire Brisbois, as part of The Powershifts Project is examining the impact of renewable energy communities – a specific form of decentralised energy – on politics and markets. The first stage of the research used three case studies to understand whether and how political power is shifting and the implications of this change.
The key findings are:
Renewable energy communities are beginning to collectively shift political power
Renewable energy communities are building technical and political capacity, forming strategic political coalitions, and are increasingly enmeshed with local authorities
Where policy and regulatory frameworks are supportive of renewable energy communities, their expansion is leading to controlled growth of distributed electricity generation ownership. Where policy frameworks are unsupportive, this growth is present but ad hoc and often subversive
The expansion of renewable energy communities has implications for the overall fairness, stability and security of power systems.
Dr Brisbois is currently soliciting survey responses for Phase 2 of the Powershifts Project from policymakers and regulators who work on issues related to decentralised energy.
Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives a significant magnitude of
discretion to local enforcement agents to decide what counts as anti-social
behaviour and how to implement their powers. The 2014 Act was designed to be
flexible and to enable local agents to tackle a range of local issues. However,
this flexibility can result in the inconsistent implementation of the law and
allow local enforcement agents to use these measures as a means of indirectly
criminalising certain kinds of behaviour whilst targeting specific social
groups. To prevent this, it is important to ensure that these measures are used
appropriately and target only behaviour that really has a negative effect on
other people’s quality of life.
Digital transformations are creating great
opportunities but also challenges for modern labour markets. Supporting and
steering transformations while reducing disruption is a pertinent policy
challenge. While discussions must address the technological anxiety and
declining working conditions associated with advances in AI and automation,
they should also consider how digital transformations could reduce unemployment
and underemployment, and increase prosperity and inclusion at the European
The RAC’s Be Phone Smart campaign reported that drivers using phones caused 2263 crashes between 2013 and 2017. However, most such campaigns focus on hand-held mobile phone use rather than hands-free. Research carried out by Dr Graham J. Hole (University of Sussex) with Dr Gemma F. Briggs and Dr Jim A. J. Turner (Open University) reveals overwhelming evidence that – contrary to popular assumption – driving while having a phone conversation using hands-free technology is no safer than using a hand-held phone.
Over 80% of studies into phone use have now shown significant performance degradation, with hands-free phone use causing the same dangerously high levels of distraction as hand-held phone use. Drawing from their own research, as well as numerous studies by other academics and public bodies, this policy brief debunks some common misconceptions around the safety of hands-free phone use, and examines some potential solutions for tackling the problem.
In 2014, the African Union adopted the Science, Technology
and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024). The first 10-year part of
the Union’s longer-term Agenda 2063, 2019 marks the strategy’s halfway point,
and an opportune time to take stock and evaluate its performance so far.
However, the STISA-2024’s original timeline did not incorporate a mid-term
Dr Chux Daniels (SPRU) has been working with the African Observatory for Science, Technology and Innovation (AOSTI) and other key stakeholders to develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework, which will be used to gather and analyse key data from STISA-2024’s first five years of implementation. In this policy brief, Dr Daniels outlines the strategy’s priority areas and objectives, why an M&E framework is necessary, and presents key considerations and recommendations for its development.
Blood disorders – such as anaemia, menstrual disorders and HIV/AIDS – are often ‘hidden’ from view, to both those who suffer from and those who treat them. They are complex health issues, often perceived in terms of weakness or stigma, especially in poor, rural, urban and migrating populations.
A new international network at the University of Sussex, led by Professor Janet Boddy (School of Education and Social Work), Dr Hayley MacGregor (Institute of Development Studies) and Professor Maya Unnithan (Department of Anthropology), aims to bring together international and national research expertise to establish a set of analytic and methodological instruments to address the social, economic and health burden of hidden blood-related conditions such as anaemia in lower- and middle-income countries. The research will initially focus on Bangladesh, India, Ghana and the UK, and is the subject of a new research brief: ‘Narrating blood – the impact of hidden blood-related conditions’.
Pre-natal sex selection – the attempt to control the sex of offspring before birth – is a contentious issue. In 2012, concerns arose that prenatal sex-selective abortions were occurring in the UK, and since then the topic has been on the parliamentary and public health agenda.
A new ESRC-funded project, outlined in this research brief, is investigating generational shifts in family dynamics with regards to son preference and gender roles among families of Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani origin in the UK. The research involves Prof Maya Unnithan and Dr Ben Kasstan (University of Sussex) and Dr Sylvie Dubuc and Dr Bernice Kuang (University of Reading).
Accurate, accessible and timely marine weather forecasts are
of crucial importance in planning and conducting fishing safely around the
world, yet this essential information is not easily accessible to artisanal
fishers from the South-West Coast of India, and as a result there are persistently
weather-related accidents resulting in loss of earnings, equipment and
A new policy brief explores why incidents relating to adverse weather conditions are still so commonplace on the South-West Coast of India, and suggests ways these incidents could be reduced. The brief is based on research by an interdisciplinary team from the University of Sussex, who studied two fishing villages in the district – Anchuthengu and Poonthura – between February and September 2018.
The report, based on a study published in Nature Energy in May 2018, identifies car dealerships and sales personnel as major obstacles to the spread of EVs due to sales personnel misinforming customers or not mentioning EVs at all. The researchers document that a lack of knowledge on EV specifications and taxation schemes, as well as the lack of incentives to sell EVs are key factors influencing slow EV sales. Read more ›