The University of Southampton
Social 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 Social 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 recent 2014 Research Assessment Exercise. 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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Improving China's reproductive health and family planning

Improving China's reproductive health and family planning

Analysis by demographers and social statisticians at the University of Southampton is helping a United Nations’ Population Fund (UNFPA) programme to improve the reproductive health and family planning of millions of young people in China. They have been monitoring and evaluating the large-scale programmes that the UNFPA has run across eastern, central and western China over the last 13 years.

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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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Innovation and competition in the pharmaceutical industry
Innovation and competition in the pharmaceutical industry

Informing innovation in the pharmaceutical industry

Research into innovation and competition in the pharmaceutical industry by economists at Southampton is making an important contribution to the policy debate in Europe and the US. By examining the effects of mergers & acquisitions on innovation and the role of advertising as a barrier to the generic drugs, their work calls for better policies to sustain innovation in this thriving industry while ensuring that patients have access to high-quality, affordable medicines.

 

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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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Election polling
Informing understanding of election polling

Informing understanding of election polling

Researchers in Social Sciences at the University of Southampton have been at the forefront of the study of election polling worldwide, explaining recent misses of the polls in UK elections, informing the practices of survey organisations, and the reporting of polls in the media.

 

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Impact on workplace change

Managing and adapting to organisational change

Research by the University of Southampton’s Work Futures Research Centre has contributed significantly to the design of management change processes and policies across a range of organisations in the UK and internationally. The Centre’s research has informed a new training and qualifications framework and improved programme performance for healthcare workforces involved in digital innovation; led to new recommendations for sustainable workplace design to enhance employee wellbeing and productivity promoted by the British Council of Offices as part of their evidence base on office redesign; and influenced the development of organisational and professional guidelines for gender equality at work.

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Political disaffection

Responding to political disaffection and designing civic participation

Research by the University of Southampton’s Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance (C2G2) is helping governmental and non-governmental organisations in the UK and around the world understand how they can respond to disenchantment with politics in democracies.

C2G2 Director Professor Gerry Stoker has been leading the research that is developing guidelines into how organisations can better engage citizens and promote civic political participation.

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Changing people's behaviours

Shaping change in civic behaviour

Research by the University of Southampton’s Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation and Governance (C2G2) has influenced the UK government’s approach to the concept of the Big Society and has helped shape the debate on behaviour change and how it relates to public sector reform in the UK and other countries.

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Delivering high qulaity, affordable medicines
Delivering high quality, affordable medicines

Towards a healthy future

Research into innovation and competition in the pharmaceutical industry by economists at Southampton is making an important contribution to the policy debate in Europe and the US. Their work is examining the role of mergers, acquisitions, advertising and competition as barriers to innovation, and also calls for better policies to sustain this thriving industry and deliver high-quality, affordable medicines.

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