£600k for new ‘biosocial archive’ and grassroots security networks projects
6 June 2013
Two academics have been awarded Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grants totalling £600k for new projects that aim to transform social sciences research.
Professor George Davey Smith from the University’s School of Social and Community Medicine has been awarded £250k for a project that will use advances in epigenomic profiling technology to create a new ‘biosocial archive’ from UK birth cohort and international population-based study samples and data.
The archive will measure the molecular signatures that decorate the genome and which serve as long-term indicators of exposures that have occurred at particular stages of life. Recording these epigenetic markers will enable researchers to reliably assess how environmental influences at different periods of life, from prenatally through to adulthood, relate to social, health and developmental outcomes at later ages.
Dr Eric Herring, Assistant Director of the Global Insecurities Centre in the University’s School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies has been awarded £250k for an 18-month project that will explore how nonviolent grassroots networks can transform insecurity.
The project will explore how three existing networks — neighbourhood watch to prevent suicide bomb attacks in Somalia; projects to record every casualty of armed conflict in many countries in the global South; and projects to stop the street harassment of women in the global North and South — relate to the state, global governance and all actors that use and threaten violence. It will also explore these ideas in relation to grassroots security actors which are seeking to network with each other across issue areas.
In addition, Bristol will receive a further £50K (for each of the awards) to spend on fostering future transformative research in the social sciences.