Research undertaken by social science researchers in Wales was celebrated this week at the launch of a new publication – ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences 10: Wales’ -published by the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science.
The publication comprises 14 case studies of research carried out by Welsh institutions which have influenced national and international governments, as well as highlighting the benefits of social science research on public policy.
The publication features studies from the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Swansea, and South Wales, and covers research areas including shifting attitudes in favour of Welsh devolution, public sector pay, dementia treatment through Cognitive Stimulation Theory, and reducing smoking uptake in teenagers through peer support.
Impact from Welsh research has been far reaching. The Food Dudes programme, developed at Bangor University, has been rolled out successfully in many places across the UK, increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables children are happy to eat and displacing other, less healthy foods from the diets of both children and their parents’ diets.
It has also achieved significant global impact. Professor Fiona Brookman from the University of South Wales, who will speak at the launch, explored the culture and practices of homicide investigations with officers from Britain and the United States. She devised a new way of judging the success of investigations, leading to changes in how homicide units in the US and around the world conduct murder probes and engage with families and local communities.
Other research topics include: combating human trafficking; new approaches to fighting the ‘war on drugs’, and; protecting human rights for young people in Wales.
Home to just nine of the UK’s 109 Higher Education Institutions, Welsh universities have pioneered innovative social science research on a global scale on a broad range of topics, from public health, to international financial markets and quality of life in the workplace.
The booklet was launched on Wednesday 25th November by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford, AM, at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, before an audience of policy makers, civil servants, AMs and social scientists.
The booklet is the tenth in the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series, and is a joint collaboration between the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), and The Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences (RIASS). These booklets are produced by the Academy of Social Sciences and the Campaign for Social Science to demonstrate the power of social science research to improve lives.
Other speakers and panellists at the launch included: Minister for Business and Budget, Jane Hutt, AM; Ceridwen Roberts OBE FLSW FAcSS; Professor Fiona Brookman, Deputy Director of the Centre for Criminology, University of South Wales; and Professors David Blackaby of the Labour Economics Section, University of Swansea.