The Edinburgh Futures Institute has announced that five projects that will receive funding to pioneer new interdisciplinary research.
The projects that will receive up to £5,000 explore a wide range of issues, such as how data can help tackle inequality, the use of blockchain technology to help people in Africa and whether the science of compassion can enhance individual and organisational performance.
More than 20 projects from across the University entered into the EFI’s inaugural Research Awards, and the judging panel found the calibre of entries to be very high.
The five winners are:
Benjamin Bach – Can data visualizations engage a wider audience in data-driven policy and decision-making about inequality? Benjamin’s project involves a collaboration between schools across the University and outside organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to uncover how data visualisations can practically help a wide range of policy makers to tackle inequality.
Deborah Scott – Can we develop narratives to guide Scotland’s scientific research, technical innovation, commercial development, and public policy relating to near- Earth orbit and outer space? Deborah’s project involves engaging with space scientists and engineers, social scientists of outer space, science fiction authors, and illustrators and challenges them to imagine together possible futures of Edinburgh and outer space.
Kate Symons – How can blockchain technology restore trust in sustainable development, aid and humanitarianism? Kate’s work is a collaboration between the Centre for African Studies, Design Informatics, Geosciences, and Social Anthropology to prototype new forms of blockchain technology to help people in Africa.
Richard Harrison – How does the science of compassion advance individual and organizational performance? Richard’s project involves an international scholarly team focused on the psychobiology, psychology and sociology of compassion to investigate how it can improve productivity, resilience and innovation amongst workers and their organisations.
Jean-Benoît Falisse – How can community-level actors use ‘data abundance’ to improve basic social services in fragile and low-income settings? Jean-Benoît‘s work involves mapping out how communities and individuals, particularly in fragile contexts, can take advantage of the new possibilities that data provide for improving their outcomes.
‘Diversity and scope’
Professor Francis Greene, chair of the judging panel, said “We were very pleased by the number, diversity and scope of the submissions we received for the Research Awards. This reflects the very real talents of the research community at Edinburgh, their commitment to actively engaging with social transformation, and their links with others in the wider academic community.”
Funding of up to £5,000 will be made to staff from across the University to support research which identifies new interdisciplinary questions that can be taken forward as part of the Institute’s vision.
The Edinburgh Futures Institute will pioneer new interdisciplinary research with the potential of transforming people’s lives, weaving data science through the arts, humanities and social sciences to address major challenges in the economy, education and society.