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IMPACT

Through our collaborative work with industry, healthcare organisations, and local government agencies we are maximising the social relevance and impact of our research. Our researchers actively promote their work to patients and the public, the press, and broadcasters and are involved with research-led events from business organisations and outreach with science museums and public engagement events.  

Impact on the economy   

The Unit’s industry focused research with the pharma and nutrition industries has provided wide-reaching impact such as providing the evidence for product claims, evidence-driven market research, and improvements in advice and guidance offered to consumers. Examples of projects can be seen below:  

  • A two-year partnership with Smyths Toys is designing and developing a buyer decision making support system using machine learning and social media trend analysis. The system will predict market interest in individual toys to identify items that will generate high sales.  
  • The PACT lab has been working with the Gemelli Hospital in Italy to improve cybersecurity advice and guidance  and with ThinkCyber to improve the behavioural effectiveness of cybersecurity awareness training. 
  • The Sleep Lab is working with the Mayborn group on two projects designed to create evidence-based toys and clothes for optimal sleep in toddlers.  
  • New health assessments and protocols have been delivered that (i) identified intellectual disabilities in over 7,500 otherwise unassessed prisoners, young offenders and victims of crime in the UK and Australia and (ii) reduced waiting times for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment in Scotland by 4.3 weeks. 

Impact on society 

The Unit is actively researching the challenges and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers have recently provided evidence to parliament on COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, new and ongoing work is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on those with dementia, eating disorders, and the impact the pandemic is having on our sleep.

Researchers are working with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and the European Commission on the growing problem of cybersecurity and its influence on International and UK policy. Northumbria was recently recognised for its excellence in cyber security research.

Covid-19 Myths, Conspiracies and Misinformation from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

The Centre for Digital Citizens 

The Unit is playing a key role in a new research centre which has been launched to address the challenges of digital citizenship. The Centre for Digital Citizens, led by Northumbria and Newcastle Universities will explore how digital technology can be harnessed for the benefit of public health and wellbeing, community engagement, citizen safety, and technology-enhanced lifelong learning. The centre brings together researchers from psychology, computer science, and design and business and forms a central part of the University’s multidisciplinary research theme ‘Human and Digital Design’.  

Public engagement  

The Unit has a strong focus on communicating its work to patients and the public to to advance health and wellbeing. Researchers have used various platforms to engage people such as online articles, social media, broadcasting, museum exhibitions and research-led events.  

Researchers have worked with the Centre for Life on their ‘Exploring the Brain’ project which tells the story of the brain and how it works and engages with visitors about how research examining the brain takes place.  

Launch of the Brain Zone exhibition at the Life Science Centre from Northumbria University on Vimeo.

The Department’s researchers regularly contribute articles to The Conversation, an independent source of news and view written by researchers directly to the wider public. Examples of recent articles can be seen below: 

People with eating disorders saw their symptoms worsen during the pandemic – new study

Coronavirus is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories – here’s why that’s a serious problem

To reduce stress and anxiety, write your happy thoughts down

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