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The Unit’s forward-thinking, interdisciplinary approach is producing research that is having far-reaching, positive impacts that extend beyond academia at a regional, national and global level. From reimagining STEM outreach and improving academic attainment in local schools, to driving changes UN global policy and quantifying the projected changes of climate change, Northumbria’s research is helping equip us with the tools needed to address the challenges of tomorrow.  

The following Impact Case Studies are being submitted as part of REF 2021 and more information will be available about these shortly: 

  • Transforming international efforts to end female genital mutilation/cutting. Find out more
  • Enhancing policies at the UN and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to improve volunteer support mechanisms and protections
  • Empowering local communities to reduce health vulnerabilities after disaster through a people-centred approach to health in disaster risk reduction
  • Improving social justice for asylum seekers in North East of England. Find out more
  • Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure in the UK: A self-assessment tool putting the natural environment at the heart of strategic and local planning policy in the built environment
  • Mitigating the risk of geohazards to life and critical infrastructure

These Impact Case Studies form part of a bigger picture of far-reaching impact in the Unit. Some highlights of this can be seen below.

To read all impact case studies in full, please click here.

International Impact

Research in the Unit has made strong positive contributions to international policymaking, particularly influencing UN and other decision-making bodies approaches to addressing inequalities in the Global South. 

Our research has helped identify hotspots for female genital mutilation/cutting which has allowed more strategic allocation of resources and interventions. This has helped prevent harm to women and girls in Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal.  

The Disaster and Development Network has identified strategies for risk reduction of infectious diseases focusing on the capabilities and vulnerabilities of affected communities. This community-driven approach is now integral to the health policies such as the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster risk reduction and has helped guide the WHO framework for health emergency and disaster risk management.  

Impact in the UK 

Led by Professor Alister Scott, researchers found a significant nature-deficit in the design and delivery of planning policy. In response to this, they developed tool to more effectively incorporate green infrastructure and spaces into city planning. This has been identified as a key resource for use by local authorities.  

Research on borders, and specifically the embedding of immigration checks in everyday life and public institutions, resulted in the creation and leadership of regional civil society forums that improved housing, healthcare access and educational opportunities for asylum seekers in North East England. Find out more

Public Engagement with Research  

Researchers in the Unit are actively involved with engaging the wider public in the importance and relevancy of their work. Staff have delivered creative and hands-on sessions in schools and communities and regularly promote their work in the national and international media.  

The Northumbria University Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (NUSTEM) Initiative aims to reimagine STEM outreach to address the gap in academic attainment for certain groups of school-aged children. As part of this researchers have co-created and co-delivered workshops with primary school specialists such as Imagining the Sun, The Palaeontologist, The Environmental Modeller and The Environmental Planner

Staff in the Unit also co-led the Northumbria University Women in Science and Engineering and organised several short courses and workshops

Geography and Environmental Studies in the media 

Climate change: Study underpins key idea in Antarctic ice loss

Giant canyons discovered in Antarctica

Antarctic: 'No role' for climate in Halley iceberg splitting

Is ‘build build build’ really the best way forward for England’s planning system?

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