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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Politics academic awarded £1.2m Future Leader fellowship

Published: 26 September 2019
Dr Matt Ryan
Dr Matt Ryan

The United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) has selected Dr Matt Ryan to received Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF): one of only 78 awarded across the UK.

The scheme supports talented researchers to ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class.

Dr Ryan’s research will fuse politics with machine learning to address polarisation and disengagement with politics.

Combining data from traditional surveys, crowdsourcing, and social media, he’ll create an early-warning system to tell governments and citizens what people are talking about and what issues to consult on before it is too late.

Dr Ryan said: “Democracy is in trouble. Most people agree that democracy is a good thing, but there are issues with how it works in practice including declining trust in government and political parties, distorted digital communications, and rising polarisation and extremism in politics.

“Brexit is a symptom of this – the discourse it’s created is much more polarised than before. There are many other examples in everyday life – issues such as climate change or intergenerational fairness create polarisation.”

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