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5 ways we engage with policymakers

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5 ways we engage with policymakers

Our researchers are providing the in-depth knowledge policymakers need to tackle some of the most significant challenges facing our society.

Protecting water security

Water security is among the most pressing issues facing mankind. Eighty per cent of the world’s population live in areas where water security is threatened, and more than half a billion people live on river deltas.

Even moderate amounts of sea-level rise as currently predicted could displace between three and 13 million people in Bangladesh alone.

Newcastle University experts are leading two global research hubs that will bring together 94 organisations from 25 countries, including governments, international agencies, partners and non-governmental organisations, to address these issues.

The Living Deltas and Water Security and the Sustainable Development hubs have been set up with £37m of funding from UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund.

A child drinking water from a tap.

Meeting sustainability goals

Whether it’s combating air pollution in Delhi or promoting healthy ageing, Newcastle University works across borders and disciplines on research that could help realise the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The University’s Global Challenges Academy, for example, fosters research partnerships, sharing ideas, best practice and projects with our partners.

The University is a member of the UN Academic Impact Initiative. We also engage with the International Council for Science, which enables us to connect our research to the UN’s work on sustainable development, and our biodiversity research is informing the Convention on Biological Diversity.

We also host an annual Global Challenges Summit, which last year attracted speakers including the Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, and the founder of Beauty of Rwanda, Salha Kaitesi.

A congested traffic jam.

Understanding Universal Credit

Research commissioned by Gateshead Council, in partnership with Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, concluded that Universal Credit was bad for health and wellbeing.

The study, led by Dr Mandy Cheetham at Teesside University in collaboration with Dr Suzanne Moffatt from the Institute of Health & Society at Newcastle University, found that people moving onto Universal Credit, especially those with disabilities, health problems and complicated lives, experienced an average delay of seven-and-a-half weeks before receiving their first payment.

The researchers, who interviewed both claimants and staff supporting people with their claims, concluded that deductions for advanced payments and rent arrears were leaving people without enough money to buy food or pay bills. Staff described worsening mental health among their clients and a huge strain placed on voluntary and community and health services as a result of Universal Credit.

A person doing calculations in front of a laptop.

Identifying unapproved drugs

Millions of unapproved antibiotics are being sold in India, according to a recent report. It highlights serious hurdles for controlling antimicrobial resistance in India, which has one of the highest antibiotics consumption rates in the world.

The researchers from Newcastle University and Queen Mary University of London found that many of the unapproved drugs were manufactured by multinational companies.

Co-author Professor Allyson Pollock, Director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle, said: “Limiting antimicrobial resistance is a strategic goal of the World Health Organization and countries worldwide.

"Governments and regulators must take all necessary steps to prevent the production and sale of illegal and unapproved medicines and scrutinise the actions of multinational companies.”

A number of different coloured tablets.

Helping women into farming

A recent report led by Professor Sally Shortall on the role of women in farming in Scotland was launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who called for women’s contribution to the agricultural economy to be recognised.

The First Minister established a taskforce to implement the findings of the research and Sally is a member.

Sally holds the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy and is a key member of staff at Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy.

The centre specialises in interdisciplinary social science and applied policy research and works towards achieving sustainable development in rural areas.

A female farmer in front of cows in a barn.