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Our COVID research presented to Government departments

Covid crop

Researchers from the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, have been part of a four session ’take-over’ of the Government’s own internal COVID 19 Recovery Seminar Series.

MiSoC is one of the ESRC’s longest running investments looking at how people’s lives are changing using longitudinal data and innovative methods, for over 30 years. The team of multi-disciplinary expert researchers are from across the University of Essex, with collaborators at the Universities of Bristol, Warwick, Bologna and Sydney, working on cutting-edge research which is policy-relevant. Their new studies looking at the impact of COVID 19 are very relevant to all of the government departments looking at recovery plans post-pandemic.

Eight of MiSoC’s world-leading academics presented key findings from our recent research on the impact of COVID 19 on people’s lives, at online lunchtime seminars attended by 80 to 130 government department researchers, including those at Department for Health and Social Care, Department of Work and Pensions, HM Treasury and the Department for Levelling-up, Communities and Housing. Professor Birgitta Rabe from ISER and Dr Ben Etheridge from Department of Economics presented on the mental health impacts, Professor Sonia Bhalotra from Warwick and Professor Susan Harkness from Bristol presented on the financial impact on women and the shadow pandemic of domestic abuse. Professor Renee Luthra from Department of Sociology presented on increases in racial harassment and Dr Magda Borkowska from ISER presented on community cohesion. Dr Angus Holford from ISER and Dr Amy Clair presented on ethnic differences in health behaviours and the implications of poor housing on health of ethnic minorities.

The seminar series was organised by HM Government’s Open Innovation Team, who are working in partnership with the University of Essex to bring academic research evidence into government.

MiSoC Director, Professor Emilia Del Bono said: “The MiSoC takeover of the COVID Recovery Seminar Series was such an excellent opportunity for us to put our most policy-relevant research to the heart of government thinking and to large audiences each time. The series was carefully curated to appeal across departments and to cover as much as possible of our recent research on the inequalities of the impact of COVID across the population. The presentations focussed on the policy implications of our research evidence and the questions from the audience were exceptionally engaged and pertinent. This has been a really important channel for us to put evidence in front of government.”

Dr Magda Borkowska said: “This experience really made me think about the practical implications of our research and the support from the Open Innovation Team was great at helping to narrow down the focus of the presentations.”

Professor Renee Luthra said; “It was a great experience, a big audience and really thoughtful questions.”

Read more about some of MiSoC’s COVID research here