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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Our Research Impact

The University of Southampton is one of the UK’s top research universities, ranking 11th for the volume of its high quality research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The REF rated 84 per cent of Southampton’s overall research activity as world-leading and internationally excellent.

In Economic, Social and Political Sciences, the high quality of our research outputs, the vitality of our research environment, and the impact of our work in helping to address the major challenges facing society was recognised in the 2014 REF. In particular, our Social Policy entry, encompassing Social Statistics and Demography, Gerontology, Sociology and Criminology, was ranked in the top 5 in the country for outputs and our research environment was rated 100% world leading.

Much of our research is carried out in our specialist research centres. Academics work across traditional boundaries, sharing expertise, to address some of society's most pressing issues. Below we feature examples of ways in which our research is changing the world for the better and impacting on the lives of people in the UK and around the globe.

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Ageing and its impact

Ageing intergenerational relations and the life course

Researchers at the University of Southampton are stimulating dialogue and generating impact by enhancing the cultural and policy understanding of the key issues of ageing, intergenerational relations and the life-course.

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Young pregnant girl
Research on young adolescent pregnancy and maternal health ‘count’ for teenagers around the world

From measurement to action on adolescent reproductive health

Our research on young adolescent pregnancy and maternal health has had a sustained influence on international policy, potentially improving the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide.

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Research from Social Sciences has been used to develop English Life tables by the Office for National Statistics
Research from Social Sciences has been used to develop English Life tables by the Office for National Statistics

How Long Do We Live? Developing the English Life Tables

Our research into estimating mortality has been used by the Office for National Statistics in developing the latest decennial life tables, the English Life Tables.

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Parliament building
Improving public confidence in political polling

Improving public confidence in political polling

Our research into methodologies for improving survey accuracy has changed rules and policy around political polling in the UK, following pollster’s collective failure to predict the outcome of the 2015 UK General Election.

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Helping to improve life for older people in Kenya
Helping to improve life for older people in Kenya

Improving the lives of older people in Kenya

Our research into ageing and the wellbeing of older people in Kenya has influenced social protection schemes within Kenya and across sub-Saharan Africa more widely.

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Improving working lives
Improving working lives

Improving working lives

Research by the University of Southampton’s Work Futures Research Centre has contributed significantly to policies aiming to enhance the quality of work and the opportunities available to people of all backgrounds, young and old. The Centre’s research has informed government and professional policies on young people and work, regional employability training programmes for young people, apprenticeship schemes for older workers, improved programme performance for healthcare workforces involved in digital innovation and employee-driven innovation in the Health Sector.

 

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Temporary migration
Temporary migration

Informing policymakers on benefits of temporary migration

Research by an economist at the University of Southampton  has demonstrated to policymakers the benefits of temporary migration through overseas savings and skill acquisition which contribute to the economic development of the home country. 

The World Bank, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have all used the research by Prof. Jackie Wahba to directly contribute to the design of international migration policy in labour sending countries.

 

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Polling station
Polling station

Informing understanding and the practice of election polling

Our research has made important contributions to understanding of the performance of election opinion polling in the UK and internationally, and has influenced polling methodology, reporting of polls in the media, and the regulation of political polling in the UK.

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Brining together citizens to learn about issues and develop solutions
Brining together citizens to learn about issues and develop solutions

Pioneering Citizens’ Assemblies as a New Way of Doing Democracy in Britain

Our research has helped to pilot the use of Citizens’ Assemblies – institutional innovations that bring together 30 to 150 randomly selected citizens as a cross-section of the population to learn about an issue, discuss its dimensions, and develop solutions.

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Occupation pensions in Germany
Occupation pensions in Germany have been strengthened with a view to reducing poverty in the country.

Public-private pension reform in Germany

Our research into European pension systems has driven public debate and influenced legislation in Germany, where occupation pensions have subsequently been strengthened with a view to reducing poverty in the country.

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Medication
The pharmaceutical and chemical industries are among the most research-intensive industries in the world.

Shaping European Commission merger policy to preserve innovation in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries

Our research has provided groundbreaking evidence that mergers may have a detrimental effect on merging companies’ incentives to innovate. The findings have informed and shaped the mergers enforcement policy of the European Commission.

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High street houses
The gap between areas of growth and areas of decline was growing

Shaping the national agenda on place and policy

Our research has made an influential contribution to the understanding of Britain’s political divides, shaping the national agenda on place and public policy.

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