Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Columbia - end of war?

This week a historic peace deal was signed in Columbia . But what does it mean ? Find out more about the war in our research briefing.

Columbian government website- has news in Spanish.
United Nations has established a peace mission in Columbia. The official website has news and reports.

News coverage and reaction.
Guardian newspaper
The Conversation has some discussion form academics.
Foreign policy

Think tank analysis and background on the conflict.
Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)  has a Columbia Peace process blog which is monitoring the situation

UNRIC background information.
Insight on conflict has good background history
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch has analysis of the agreement.
Conciliation resources has a report on innovations in the peace process.
Council on Foreign Relations.
Brookings Institution
National Security Archive George Washington University has a project to declassify secret US policy towards Columbia. Its website provides free access to many papers.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Childhood obesity strategy - why do we need it?

Last week the UK government published a national childhood obesity strategy. Read the full text to see how it describes the problem and how it intends to support health eating.

Other UK government plans can be found online via the UK gov website.

Is childhood obesity a problem in the Uk?
Get data from The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) which measures the height and weight of children in reception class (aged 4 to 5 years) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) to assess overweight and obesity levels in children within primary schools.The website includes a definition of obesity and how it is measured.
the latest report found that

This was lower than in 2013/14 (22.5%) and 2006/07 (22.9%)" (p.6)
It is also possible to look at local authority profiles for overweight and underweight children using NCMP data . 
There is also an interesting mapping of numbers of fast food outlets and levels of obesity by region.
Sugar levy
One of the proposals is the 'sugar tax' see our earlier posting of links from March 2016
IEA also issued an update this week to its briefing

Professional bodies research on obesity plan

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health held a summit in 2015 which covered concerns and a plan for action . Download the full results from their website alongside other resources on this topic.
BMA was disappointed by the 2016 plan
BDA also disappointed.
Uk Health Forum response.
Obesity Alliance says that it lets down future generations.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

24 Hour Tube - what will be the impact? Here is some academic research

As the 25 hour tube starts on parts of the London Underground network this week. Here are some sources of research on its possible impact.

The Transport for London website has the map of coverage and details of the service.
In 2014 it published a report by Volterra on the possible impact on the night time economy of London.
This recorded  'gross impact of 1,965 permanent jobs'  and 'Standard business case shows that for each £1
spent on delivering the Night Tube, benefits will be £2.70.'
A recent report by the Night Time Industry Association called Forward Into The Night identified that the night time economy in town centres and cities provides an increase in employment by 10-16%.

 In a more recent paper London First recorded impact on the economy of London. It estimated using EY figures' an extra £2 billion a year of Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2029'.

CACI data looked at who will use the tube in more detail in its paper Mind the Gap it stated that the Transport for London report 'fails to acknowledge that the majority of night-time economy workersearn below the minimum wage

Concerns have also been raised about policing by a London Assembly Committee
A FOI request shows impact assessments done by the Metropolitan police service
London Councils response
Association of Letting Agents say it could raise rents in outer London

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

London Olympics - what was its legacy?

An interesting paper by Paul Dolan et al
The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness- was published recently by the LSE It examined whether hosting the Olympic games could make local citizens happier. It found that while there was a positive effect on Londoners during the games. This did not last longer than a year.

But what other impacts did the 2012 Olympics have? Here are some recommended starting points for research.
The government certainly had ambitious aims set out in this Olympic legacy document but were they delivered?
In 2015 a writer on the Guardian blog referred to the 'idle boasts' made of a great legacy.
UK government documents present some positive and negative events. For links to them see the UK government website.

Sports participation.
In 2013 the Uk government published an analysis of impact on motivation  and participation. Data is broken down by region, socio-economic grouping and sport. It found substantial rises in both interest and involvement in sport
however In 2015 the Guardian referred to increasing participation in some Olympic sports such as cycling but others such as swimming showing declining levels.

For latest data/ research see Sport England's annual Active people survey on frequency of participation, types of sport and participation by age, gender

 East London redevelopment.
One aim of the Olympics was to kickstart the regeneration of the area.
In the 2012 residents survey conducted by the Government headline findings from a survey of the 6 Olympic host boroughs (Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham
Forest) conducted from  February and April 2012. 62% were supportive of hosting the games. 85% intended to follow the games in some way. 48% felt it would lead to a long term regeneration of the area.
Follow discussion on the building projects and controversy in Inside Housing magazine.
Newham Council website has some legacy assessment documents and general housing policies 
However, in 2016 despite house price rises recorded by CBRE
 The Mayor recently attacked the failure to offer affordable housing in the Olympic area.
Concerns and questions were also raised at the Rising with the East Conference recently hosted by the Centre for Cities.
Critics such as Paul Watt have referred to a gentrification of the area with the exclusion of local poorer residents (subscription required )
London Housing Commission also found significant problems with the supply of affordable housing in London.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Stern review of REF funding - academic research resources.

Last week the Stern review was published
The independent review of university research funding by Lord Nicholas Stern. examined how university research funding 'can be allocated more efficiently so that universities can focus on carrying out world-leading research.' The website from the government includes the full text of the document and related consultation documents and evidence.

Times Higher coverage

Comment from the Russell Group

MillionPlus Group 

Universities UK

HEFCE Response 

Nature - Magazine

UCU - union. 

Royal Historical Society Collating views on Twitter 

WonkHe blog 

Conversation blog 

More Twitter coverage