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Essex academics contributing to COVID-19 recovery

  • Date

    Wed 1 Jul 20

Houses of Parliament

Essex academics are contributing to the UK’s recovery from COVID-19 by holding the Government to account over its handling of the crisis and identifying what needs to be done next.

In March the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) – the body which helps make sure politicians’ decisions are based on sound academic research - asked for scientific help in assessing the impact of the pandemic.

It set up a database of experts willing to help and sent out a survey asking them to identify their key concerns over the next three, six and nine months. Over 1,000 experts in fields ranging from employment and the economy, through public health, to education, responded. 

Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne, Head of POST, said: “Our job is to bridge the gap between research and policy. COVID-19 is impacting every aspect of our life, and experts from a wide range of fields will be needed to steer a recovery.

“With this survey we are giving an opportunity to the research community to voice their concerns for the near future and the longer term. This can help Parliament decide what areas of policy should be scrutinised and when.”

Abigail Fairhall, Programme Manager in the Research and Enterprise Office at the University of Essex, said: “The rapid response from our experts for requests from both Parliament and the Government has been overwhelming. This unprecedented situation, which affects everyone in many different ways, has led to an urgent need for academic expertise to support the Government in making important policy decisions, informed by rigorous research and evidence. More than fifty academics have responded to these calls.”

Essex academics who have contributed so far, include Professor Pete Fussey, from the Department of Sociology, who has advised on the use of contact tracing apps, our Green Exercise Team, which highlighted the potential for an increase in the number of people with mental health problems following lockdown and Professor Rekha Rao-Nicholson and Dr Thanos Verousis from Essex Business School, who have provided insights into the problems facing business.