Eastern Arc hosts a range of online debates, discussions and information events to help colleagues across the consortium to understand and engage with the issues that will affect them, their research and their innovation.
These complement our position papers, which set out where we stand in relation to current issues in the wider research and innovation environment.
Where possible, we make the recordings and slides from these events available afterwards. Click on the links below to catch up with our past events, as well as finding out about those on the horizon.
Eastern Arc will be hosting a virtual workshop with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as part of the process of refreshing the DWP’s Areas of Research Interest (ARIs), which will be published later in 2021. We are inviting academics and researchers to discuss their research in areas that may be of interest or relevance to the Department.
Particular topics the DWP wishes to explore include (but are not limited to) work, pensions, progression in work, barriers to work, disadvantaged groups, financial insecurity over the life-course, the changing labour market, geography, health and care, what works in terms of suitable social welfare provision and employment support post-EU exit and for the recovery from the pandemic.
Format of the event
The event will take the form of two half-day online workshops on 28 and 29 June 2021. Each day will open with an introduction to the DWP ARIs, and then a series of short (15 minute) research presentations given by academics and researchers from the three EARC universities. These will be followed by Q&As, before breaking out into parallel sessions when participants can discuss the research in more depth with individual speakers.
Submitting a paper
If you would like to speak at the event, please submit the following to Phil Ward by 31 May 2021.
- Your name
- Your institutional affiliation
- A brief outline of your research (500 words max)
After the deadline, a small panel (including the DWP) will decide on the most appropriate and relevant research that should be included, and the speakers will be notified. The event itself will be open to all, and all are encouraged to take part, both to hear about the research that is on-going across EARC, and also to talk informally to colleagues at the DWP.
One of the benefits of Eastern Arc is the opportunity, when possible, for staff and students at all three universities to access training and events across the consortium. One such example is our annual institutional visits from the UK Research Office in Brussels.
We are delighted to open up the forthcoming visit to the University of Essex to colleagues from all three universities. We intend to open up the subsequent visits to UEA and Kent, and will work to ensure that they complement and fit with the each other and thereby cover more ground in more detail.
For the first event at Essex, the focus will be on the EU’s new research and innovation programme, Horizon 2021. Offering €95.5bn and running until 2027, it is the most ambitious yet. The two-day event will introduce delegates to the programme, and look in particular at the first two ‘clusters’ (Health, and Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society), as well as the opportunity for social sciences and humanities (SSH) funding.
The draft programme is available here: Essex UKRO Annual Visit 2021 (Word). To register, go to these links:
If you have any questions about the events, contact Beate Knight, Research Development Manager EU/International at Essex.
As part of the EARC Culture, Connection and Creativity theme, the Kent Embodied Research Collective (KERC) is hosting a virtual “speed dating” event between 16:00-18:00 on 27 May to bring colleagues together to explore the potential for embodied practices and research methods. Embodied research takes many forms across the disciplines, and cross-disciplinary dialogue can lead to exciting and valuable new collaborations, which KERC and the Eastern ARC aim to foster.At the event, participants will have a chance to talk individually in breakout rooms. Each conversation, which will last no more than five minutes, will be an opportunity to exchange details of your interests and project plans, and all participants will be able to meet all others in the rotation. Following the event, mutual ‘likes’ will be collated by the host and participants will be contacted with their potential matches.The event is free and open to all. However, a maximum of 14 participants can take part, and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To register, click here. If you want more information, contact Dr Freya Vass (University of Kent).
A week-long series of short online events exploring the post-Trump, post-Brexit, post-Covid world
Following the end of the Trump presidency, the UK’s departure from the European Union, and the year-long Covid pandemic, we are only starting to come to terms with a society, an economy and a global community that has changed forever.
This year’s EARC Conference will look at different facets of this. Taking the form of a week-long series of 2 hour on-line sessions, delegates will hear from a range of speakers and provocateurs (details to be confirmed), triggering discussion and debate, before breaking into parallel sessions to explore questions and ideas within each area.
The push to decolonise the curriculum has been gathering momentum for a decade, but has been given increased urgency in the last year with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and a wider awareness of ingrained and embedded inequalities, particularly within institutions.
But how does this work in practice? What can be done, and how difficult will it be to reset long-held Euro-centric assumptions?
This event was an opportunity to discuss these issues. To do so, our Director Phil Ward was joined by six colleagues from across the Eastern Arc universities: three members of staff and three students.
Together they have advocated for change within their institutions, and have worked to address entrenched notions of privilege and identity.
They discussed the barriers they have faced, the successes they have achieved, and the challenges (and opportunities) that lie ahead. A recording of the discussion is available here.
The speakers are:
- Barbara Adewumi (Kent): Barbara joined Kent in 2017 as a Sociology lecturer. She currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Student Success to develop and conduct research on BME academic progression, engagement and belonging to help close the white-BME awarding gap. She leads the Diversity Mark Project at Kent. She is joined by the Diversity Mark intern for the project, Patrice Mighton.
- Hannah Gibson (Essex): Hannah is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Essex who works primarily on African languages. She has an interest in language and identity, as well as the relationship between linguistics and social justice. With her is Samira Diebire who worked with fellow students at Essex to organise a webinar series looking at specific issues of decolonising the curriculum, but also in how the university is governed.
- Claire Hynes (UEA): Claire is a Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at UEA. Her fiction and non-fiction writing explores black British identities, and she has previously worked as a news editor for The Voice newspaper, a writer for national newspapers and a BBC television producer. She is currently leading and implementing on decolonising the curriculum within her School, including the creation of a BIPOC student ambassador scheme. Aimee Ibarra Hempel is one of the ambassadors on the scheme.
Eastern Arc is committed to supporting businesses and the wider economy within our region, encouraging engagement with our universities, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge between our researchers and stakeholders in the region.
On 2 March Innovate UK East of England KTN is hosting an event that will enable small innovative businesses – or those who have an ambition to start one – to find out how Innovate UK, the Eastern Arc universities and other partners can support them in developing their ground-breaking ideas and accelerating their journey to market. The day includes a session from EIRA, our Research England-funded programme for developing links between our universities and regional businesses.
The event is free and open to all; to find out about the day and to register, click here.
On 23 February we hosted colleagues from the Ministry of Justice to talk about its areas of research interest (ARIs).
ARIs were developed in response to Professor Sir Paul Nurse’s review of research councils in 2014.
They are a way for government departments to set out the strategic research questions to which they need answers in the short to medium term.
In the past, departments either assumed that it was obvious what questions they were wrestling with or were worried that by setting out what they didn’t know then people would know they didn’t know it.
For the MOJ, the ARIs set out its evidence needs over the next 3 to 5 years, aligned with the department’s strategic objectives for the system. It will use these as a basis to engage with academics and research organisations from across the justice research landscape and the disciplinary spectrum.
Recording and slides
The recording and slides from the webinar are here:
The speakers were:
- Sarah Pike is a social researcher working in the Evidence and Partnerships Hub in MoJ. Her role is to help facilitate connections with the academic and external community through the ARI document. She has worked within a range of government social researcher roles, including at HMI Probation, HMPPS and the Home Office.
- Dr Ben Hepworth is a mathematician working in the same Hub. Ben leads on fostering collaborations with researchers to facilitate the exchange of evidence and expertise, previously working in a similar role in DWP. Prior to this he completed his PhD and taught at the University of Leeds.
- Professor Andromachi Tseloni is Professor of Quantitative Criminology at Nottingham Trent University. She is the Academic Lead for the Data First Programme within the Hub. She has expertise in victimisation theory, applied social statistics and econometrics. Her work revolves around five broad themes: criminal victimisation inequalities, the crime drop, crime perceptions’ social capital and cross-national comparisons.
It’s widely recognised that ‘mental health research is underfunded relative to the burden of disease’ (Woelbert, Kirtley, Balmer, Dix 2019). According to the MQ Funding Landscape Analysis 2014-17, around £125m of research funding is spent annually on mental health conditions.
On 16 February we hosted an online discussion around these issues with colleagues from MQ, MRC and NIHR. The recording for the event is available here (mp4), and slides for each of the talks are available below.
- Research Funding for Mental Health, and the Work of MQ (pdf)
- Lea Milligan, CEO of MQ
- MRC Mental Health Research (ppt)
- Karen Brakspear, Head of Programme – Mental Health
- NIHR Mental Health Research (ppt)
- Kathryn Abel, NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Mental Health
- Research Funding for Mental Health, and the Work of MQ (pdf)
Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding has allowed our research to have an impact beyond academia, and beyond the UK.
It has enabled us to think globally, and to work for the benefit of the global community, particularly in overcoming deep-seated socio-economic problems and developmental challenges.
However, will a shift in government policy lead to these achievements being undermined or reversed?
On 3 December 2020 Eastern Arc hosted a webinar to explore the future of ODA funding following the government’s spending review and R&D Roadmap.
Recording and slides from the event
A recording of the event is available here (Zoom).
Slides from the event are available below:
- Introduction (Google Slides)
- Phil Ward, Director, Eastern Arc
- UUKi’s report on the impact of ODA funding (ppt)
- Dajana Dzanovic, Head of Strategic Partnerships, UUKi
- ODA Funding in UKRI (ppt)
- Jacqui Williams,Head of Partnerships and Programmes, International, UKRI
- Wellcome’s report on the UK’s role in global research (ppt)
- Simon Hall, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Wellcome Trust
- Introduction (Google Slides)
In June 2020 Public Health England finalised a list of identified research gaps and priorities around healthy ageing.
These were identified through stakeholder surveys and discussions earlier this year. The list will be used to inform the development of PHE’s healthy ageing programme, as well as prioritising the work of PHE’s Older Adults team in supporting researchers in preparing bids and disseminating findings.
This webinar was an opportunity to look in more detail at these priorities, the thinking behind them and how they will be used in the future.
Bernie Hannigan, PHE’s Director of Research Translation and Innovation, introduced the work of PHE, and was joined by Helen Brock, Programme Manager for Adults and Older Adults in PHE’s Life Course Team, who explained the gap analysis and the function of the research priorities.
- Phil Ward: Introduction and Links for Further Information (ppt)
- Bernie Hannigan: The Research Role of Public Health England (ppt)
- Helen Brock: PHE Healthy Ageing Research Gap Analysis (ppt)