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18 November 2005 PR 05/112

World leading role in social policy wins Loughborough its fifth Queen’s Anniversary Prize

It was announced last night that Loughborough University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2005. It is the fifth time the University has captured one of the prestigious awards – an achievement equalled only by Oxford.

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding educational achievement in areas of service and benefit to the nation. The 2005 Prize has been awarded to Loughborough in recognition of its outstanding and widely respected work in evaluating and helping develop social policy-related programmes, such as those for cared for children, social security policy, crime prevention, education initiatives and young carers.

Concentrated within the Department of Social Sciences, the University’s social policy related research is held in high regard, both by its peers for its intellectual value and by its beneficiaries at all levels.

The excellence of the research work undertaken has been independently verified, and this high quality is achieved in all three aspects of the work – intellectual enquiry, the development of new methodologies, and the application of findings.

Relevance to practice and to national and local policy development are key characteristics. Emphasis is placed on the dissemination of research and the development of practical tools to aid social policy. Much of the research has direct relevance for Government: researchers within the department have worked or are currently working with two-thirds of Government departments on social policy-related issues. Research is also conducted in partnership with local authorities, and the voluntary and charity sectors.

“We are thrilled at this recognition for our research in social policy,” said Professor Peter Golding, Head of the Department of Social Sciences. “We take great pride in the combination of academic rigour and innovation with real impact on the quality of people’s lives and on policy making which are the characteristics of our social policy research. This is recognised by senior policy makers both here and internationally, and this prize is an outstanding reward for a lot of hard effort and top quality research.”

Loughborough has been outstandingly successful in the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes scheme:

Her Majesty The Queen will make the official presentation of the 2005 Prize at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February 2006.


Ends –

For further information contact:

Hannah Baldwin, Head of PR, Loughborough University,
T: 01509 222239, E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  1. Photographs of the University’s work in social policy are available from the Public Relations Office, T: 01509 222224.

    Interviews with staff can be arranged – please contact Hannah Baldwin, Public Relations Office, T: 01509 222239, E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk

  2. The following additional information is enclosed

    • Background information on social policy research at Loughborough University
    • Examples of current and recent social policy related research projects
    • Quotes from letters of support

  3. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities. The National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students, and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough's income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded four Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.


Background information

Social policy research at Loughborough University is concentrated within the Department of Social Sciences – a large and expanding inter-disciplinary department with a substantive track record of success in research and teaching spanning five decades.

Founded in 1967, the department has developed a wide-ranging portfolio of social policy research supported by an outstanding team of experienced and creative researchers. There is an unusually broad mix of expertise represented among the department’s staff, many of whom are international leaders in their fields.

In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the department received the highest possible 5* rating and in an independent assessment of its teaching quality the department was awarded a near perfect score of 23 out of 24.

The department has four research centres, which include the Centre for Research in Social Policy, the Centre for Child and Family Research, and the Midlands Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice. There are also six research groups including the Young Carers Research Group.

The Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP)
Established in 1983, CRSP has 22 researchers and a support team of six. Its research has four main themes: poverty and social exclusion; work and welfare trajectories; policy evaluation; and the administration and delivery of welfare services. It has a national and international reputation for high quality applied policy research.

The Midlands Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice (MCCCJ)
Founded in 1990, the MCCCJ is the focal point for crime-related research at Loughborough University. Its staff undertake research in areas such as crime prevention, policing, drug policy, and the criminal justice system. Much of the Centre’s work concentrates on evaluating the effectiveness of current crime-related policies and suggesting new methodologies to those battling against crime.

The Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR)
Established in 2001 by Professor Harriet Ward and Professor Saul Becker, the Centre aims to develop and deliver programmes of research that inform, influence and support policy and practice for children, families and their communities.

Young Carers Research Group (YCRG)
Founded in 1992, the YCRG conducts research, evaluation and consultancy on all matters relating to children with caring responsibilities – young carers – in order to advance knowledge and inform the development of health and social care policy and good practice.


Examples of current and recent social policy related research projects


Quotes from letters of support

“Looking in particular at the EU regulations Dr Roberts and his colleagues in the CRSP play an important part in supporting the development of UK government proposals to the European Commission, or equally important, of UK reaction to proposals from the Commission itself.

“Of many examples, I can cite the important contribution of Dr Roberts and his colleagues through their quantitative research in this field to the European Commission’s proposals to expand the personal scope of the EU regulations to include third country nationals. This was particularly valuable in helping formulate a UK position to this important and significant proposal; the provisions have now been enacted in a form which is entirely satisfactory to the UK.

“… I can only say that the work of the CRSP does make a real difference to the implementation of social policy in our field, to the benefit of our many customers living outside of the UK.”

Derek Coulthard MBE, International Pensions Centre, Department for Work and Pensions

 

“Recognition of young carers, their problems, experiences and identification of possible solutions was difficult to achieve. Society at large simply could not believe that there were so many children and young people whose lives were restricted by the need to provide care for someone else, usually a parent. The research and subsequent publicity, produced by (the University) made a most significant contribution, not only to increasing the knowledge about young carers but to changing the attitudes. Enabling young carers to speak up and speak out was a most important aspect of the research and this in turn enabled more young carers to identify themselves and thus receive assistance.”

Baroness Pitkeathley OBE, House of Lords (former Chief Executive of Carer’s UK)

 

“Barnardos has… via the LAC Project Australia, enabled in excess of sixty Australian government and non-government child welfare agencies to implement Looking After Children by providing forms and materials, training, and ongoing support. In 2004, the lives of approximately 8,500 Australian children and young people have been directly affected by social work case management using Looking After Children, a strong measure of the influential impact of the University’s continuing policy research…

“We have… been enabled by the CCFR research to exert influence on Australian bureaucracies and legal systems to adopt an outcome focussed child welfare approach.”

Louise Voigt, Chief Executive and Director of Welfare, Barnardos Australia

 

“It has been my pleasure over the last few years to observe the social policy work of the Department and its enormous value to society… I believe that the social policy researchers within the Department have a strong story to tell. The Department is skilled in identifying and championing marginalised groups and in achieving significant improvements in the delivery of social policy to these groups. The excellent quality research emanating from the Department makes a real difference to the policy authors, practitioners and the end recipients and it can be characterised by its relevance. I am thinking here in particular of the outstanding work done to help young carers and children living in extreme poverty.

“The research within the Department has impressive diversity and its reputation for excellence is well deserved. As a politician I am well placed to confirm how influential it has been on the crafting of new government policy, working as it does in area of great concern to the government.”

Dawn Primarolo MP, HM Treasury

 

“This is a relatively new field of work, and the work of the Young Carers Research Group has been pivotal in developing young carers’ services and influencing government policy. The many pieces of research that the Group has produced have been conspicuous for their usefulness to practitioners and their focus on hearing the voices of young carers and their families, which has been empowering for this marginalised group. The Group’s research into the ‘whole family’ approach to working with young carers has had a profound influence on service development across the UK and the Group has always taken a partnership approach to working with practitioners. The Group has undertaken pioneering research into the areas of children whose parents suffer from mental ill health and young carers’ transitions to adulthood, areas about which little was known and which are now receiving attention from service planners and policy makers.

“I believe that the voluntary sector in the UK would not enjoy its current status as a recognised and widely consulted world leader in young carers work had it not been for the contributions of the Young Carers Research Group.”

Alex Fox, Young Carers Development Manager, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers

 

“The University’s contribution to important issues such as developing evidence-based, multi-disciplinary assessment of the needs of vulnerable children has national and international significance. Research-based practice and procedure, as developed by the University in collaboration with the Department of Health, will shape how all the statutory organisations work together and try to ensure that we do not have another Victoria Climbié tragedy. The work of the University is directly contributing to the development of national, electronic records for children and has shaped the policy developments coming from DFES and DoH in these areas.

“The work of the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice has provided important evidence about offending patterns of young people and strategies to promote preventative measures and ways of successfully diverting young people away from the criminal justice system. As a Director of Social Services, and also in my role on behalf of the Association of Directors of Social Services in promoting evidence-based practice, I have always valued and been impressed by the practical, down to earth nature of research and development activities at the University. Sometimes, academic research can be too self serving and self indulgent. This is not the case with (the University). It is very practical, of the highest quality and shot through with realism.”

David Johnstone, Director of Social Services, Devon County Council

 

“The combination of skills and expertise in the team was very valuable as the emphasis of the research is related to social inclusion, an area of research in which the University is particularly strong. The team... have been a pleasure to work with and have made my role as Project Manager all the easier! The professional approach of the team has meant that delivery targets have always been met and contact with other professionals as well as disabled participants at projects, many of whom have severe mental health problems or learning difficulties, has been exemplary.

“I hope that Thrive can look forward to working further with the University in more research into social and therapeutic horticulture – a field in which, despite its use over many centuries, there is still a marked lack of grounded evidence.”

Tim Spurgeon, Advisory Services Manager, Thrive

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