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Policy change demonstrates real-world impact of Brunel University London

Brunel University London has found great success in guiding government policy in the UK and internationally – something that has been recognised in its REF2014 success.

Painstaking research into specialist courts for families with drug or alcohol-addicted parents, led by Professor Judith Harwin in the Department of Social Work, has helped established a new model country-wide.

Following the team’s positive appraisal of the new Family Drug and Alcohol Court model, the London boroughs of Southwark and Hammersmith and Fulham adopted the approach. Such is the success of the new courts, the programme is now being rolled out across the UK.

A new initiative which aims to establish as set of global standards to end bullying, discrimination and abuse of athletes has continued significant research carried out by Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE, a Brunel Research Fellow and professor of youth sport.

Recognised for her work in the REF2014, Prof Brackenridge has launched the latest Safe Sport International initiative with the world’s leading children’s organisation UNICEF. The movement has attracted interest across the globe and plans to launch officially at the end of next year.

Brunel’s Professor Julian Petley, from the university’s College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences, has seen his work become the cornerstone of recommendations made by the much-publicised Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press.

A founder member of victims group Hacked Off, Prof Petley has extensively studied media regulation in the UK, and provided oral evidence to the first part of the inquiry. While remaining co-chair of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, he is central to the debate about how best to implement new proposals.

The adoption of a new approach to the way in which chemicals are produced globally by the International Conference on Chemicals Management is the result of Brunel-led research into dangerous chemicals found in more than 800 commercial and industrial products.

Professors Susan Jobling and Andreas Kortenkamp of the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies have been responsible for the studies, which have gone on to underpin decision-making in the European Union, USA and United Nations. The pair continue to raise global awareness of the issue, with organisations signing up to the principle of ensuring that by 2020 the way in which chemicals are produced takes their research into account.

Professor Geoff Rodgers, who led the REF submission for Brunel, said: “Ensuring that the research carried out at Brunel has a real-world impact is central to the university’s policy.  Our academics have had huge success in establishing new ways of thinking through their work, and I’m delighted this has been recognised in this year’s REF.”

The REF, which assesses the quality of research at universities across the country, showed that the volume of world-leading and internationally excellent research being carried out at Brunel University London has increased by more than half in the past six years

It placed 61% of Brunel’s submitted work in the top two categories, compared to just 43% in its precursor, 2008’s Research Assessment Exercise.

The university was particularly strong in demonstrating the real-world impact of research, brought into the assessment for the first time, with two-thirds of its 78 submissions classified as world-leading or internationally excellent.

For examples of the impact case studies described, please follow the links below: