Loughborough geographer joins Government’s new College of Experts

Loughborough University’s Dr Sarah Mills has joined the College of Experts – a new Government initiative that aims to give policymakers better access to independent expertise and guidance.

The Reader in Human Geography is one of just 49 experts selected from across academia and industry to join the College headed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The College of Experts aims to increase the department’s access to scientific networks and broaden its evidence base, identify key areas of research interest for the department, and bolster the provision of scientific advice.

Dr Mills, whose research focuses on the geographies of youth citizenship, informal education, and volunteering, will participate in number of working groups, including those with a focus on civil society, the digital sector, and gambling.

Her research on the National Citizen Service (NCS) – the UK Government’s flagship youth programme – informed policy change and resulted in multiple positive outcomes, including tackling the hidden costs of NCS for low-income families.

By joining the College, Dr Mills’ advice and expertise can continue shaping future government decisions. For example, drawing on her current collaborative research on children and young people’s experiences of gambling-style systems.

Of the appointment, Dr Mills said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to the College of Experts.

“It was great to hear from the Chief Scientific Advisor Team and Sir Patrick Vallance at the induction event about their vision for the College of Experts and the role of academic research and evidence for DCMS and the UK Government.

“I’m looking forward to the working groups that will be focusing on priority areas for DCMS and I hope to achieve some really exciting collaborations with other academics on the College and DCMS staff that improve children and young people’s lives.”

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings commented: “I am delighted that Sarah has been appointed to the College of Experts. I know very well the important and impactful role academics play in supporting and advising government.

"Sarah’s work will be directly supporting developments to help children and young people and is a great example of how our outstanding research is helping to build vibrant and inclusive communities.”

For more on Dr Mills' research, read her Research and Impact profile here