Addressing the educational underachievement of children in care

Karen Winter: It is well known that across the UK and elsewhere children in care have poor educational outcomes in comparison with the child population as a whole. The figures for Northern Ireland indicate that children in care here have the lowest attainment scores in Maths and English. This seminar will present the findings of a … Read more

Supported and Substitute Decision Making under Mental Capacity Legislation: a review of the international evidence

Gavin Davidson: The Mental Capacity (Health, Welfare and Finance) Bill for Northern Ireland is currently being drafted. The proposed law is a potentially progressive approach to providing a comprehensive legal framework for substitute decision making for people whose decision making is impaired. An important aspect of the law, policy and practice in this area is ensuring … Read more

The life-course, age and intergenerational relations

Lynn Johnston: Our planet’s changing age demographic has sparked economic debates relating to intergenerational equity and exchanges. This seminar focusses on the social aspects of intergenerational relationships and will present findings from a neighbourhood case study. At the local level, issues which impact on intergenerational relationships are presented around three themes: social exclusion, age discrimination and … Read more

Young people’s attitudes to peace walls in Belfast

Madeleine Leonard: The purpose of this presentation is to present young people’s attitudes to peace-walls in Belfast and whether they feel peace-walls should be temporary or permanent structures. The presentation will underline how important it is for policy-makers to consult with young people on their attitudes to these walls as a prelude to finding ways to … Read more

Defining the breadline. Is there a Northern Ireland consensus?

Mike Tomlinson: Measures of poverty typically combine low income with indicators of deprivation – items and activities that people lack because they cannot afford them. Which deprivation indicators are the important ones for defining poverty is a matter of debate. The seminar will present findings from a population-wide survey of Northern Ireland asking people’s opinion … Read more

What counts as ‘evidence’? The complexities of providing evidence to inform public policy

Sally Shortall discusses why evidence-based policy implicitly assumes a linear relationship between research evidence and policy formation. The reality is much more complex. There are power struggles between different groups presenting different interpretations of the world, political ideology is a key driver of policy making, resources are finite, and policies must be palatable with the … Read more

Assessing the risks of economic inequality; the impact on societal wellbeing and economic development

Dr Nat O’Connor (Ulster) Economic inequality is rising in the developed world and influential research has found major risks to economic growth and population health; including OECD reports, IMF working papers, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and the UK’s ‘Marmot Review’. Nobel economist Robert Shiller has called it “The most important problem that we are … Read more

Child Welfare Inequalities

Dr Lisa Bunting, Dr Gavin Davidson and Claire McCartan (QUB) Child welfare systems in the UK are under profound stress because of growing demand and the current squeeze of austerity; they are expensive but provide a crucial investment in our children’s future; and protecting children’s safety and development is a core function of the state. … Read more

TRANSMANGO EU research project: a case study of scenario methodologies applied to food system planning

Dr Brídín Carroll (University College Dublin) This presentation reports on a current EU research project, TRANSMANGO, which focuses on the vulnerability and resilience of European food systems in the context of socioeconomic, behavioural, technological, institutional and agro-ecological change. TRANSMANGO addresses the effects of global drivers of change (climate, economic concentration and market structure, financial power, … Read more

Nexus project: a case study of scenario planning methodology applied to food system planning

Dr Wayne Foord (QUB) This presentation provides an introduction to scenario planning, its increasing application to food system planning, and reports on the QUB Nexus project. There is growing evidence that future food security, globally and regionally, is at risk due to climate change, environmental degradation and resource scarcity, including fossil energy scarcity. Scenario planning … Read more