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 ›
Despite increasing understanding that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is important for achieving economic growth and reaching development goals, STI in sub-Saharan Africa still suffers from research policy, management and funding challenges. A new policy brief, based on research led by Professor Joanna Chataway (SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit), explores the economic and political context in which Science Granting Councils (SGCs) in sub-Saharan Africa function, the challenges they face and how these can be overcome.
The Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) was set up to support SGCs in fifteen sub-Saharan countries. The research examined SGCs in five case study countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Senegal. The brief investigates the recurring key themes and issues which were evident across case studies such as the role of governments, human resources and the private sector. Read more ›
Dr Dimitra Petrakaki (Department of Business and Management) has released a policy brief exploring the moderation of patient feedback on the online platform ‘Care Opinion’. The brief presents results from in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with twelve employees of Care Opinion in 2017.
Care Opinion offers patients the chance to share their experience of healthcare encounters with peers and to feedback to healthcare providers. Patients’ feedback takes the form of a story that is moderated prior to being published on the platform and subsequently becomes publically available. The moderation process involves patient stories being tagged with keywords and given a score to assess their level of criticality. Read more ›
Dr. Sambit Bhattacharyya (Department of Economics) has released a policy brief exploring the impact of the world’s largest public works program – the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) – on agricultural wages across 19 Indian states.
The MGNREGS scheme grew from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), passed in 2005 by the Government of India’s Ministry of Law and Justice. The Act is a labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee employment to those in rural areas. As part of the MGNREG scheme, households in rural regions are provided with at least 100 days of wage employment carrying out unskilled manual work. Read more ›
In light of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy’s ambitious goals, Dr Michael Hopkins (SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit) sets out to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the UK’s medical innovation ecosystem in a new policy brief.
Drawing on research findings published in his book Science, the State and the City (Owen, Hopkins. 2016), Dr Hopkins looks at the success of US biotech firms to understand where the UK’s life sciences industry is falling short.