Reckoning with Transvaginal Mesh: Clinical Labour and Affect Economies

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A blogpost by Ariel Ducey, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary

This blog post is based on a talk at the SKAPE seminar on 25 April 2018

For a number of years, I have been collaborating with colleagues in surgery, health services research, and bioethics in studying how and why a community of surgeons changes their practice and the consequences of how and why they change their practice.  It could be argued that any study of contemporary surgery could or should play a part in guiding policy, but in our work such an argument feels especially pressing – we have focused on pelvic floor surgery, the area of medical practice responsible for the highly controversial adoption of transvaginally-implanted synthetic mesh for the treatment of some kinds of prolapse and urinary incontinence in women.


The Holy Grails of good governance: Why we need naïve policymaking ideals in cynical times

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A blogpost by John Boswell, University of Southampton

This blog post is based on a talk at the SKAPE seminar on 11 April 2018


Among other atrocities, the last year or so has seen leading Brexiteers weasel out of their side-of-the-bus commitment to redirect £350 million per week to the NHS on leaving the EU; Jeremy Hunt assert his own academic credentials over two of the tallest titans of contemporary British science in disputes over healthcare quality under his stewardship; and Theresa May put pressure on NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens for having the temerity to challenge the sunny notion of a windfall (read, a cut in real terms) for health spending. In such times, it is surely difficult to feel optimistic about democratic governance in British health policy or anywhere else. Indeed, it is hard not be cynical.


Neuroscience and Public Policy: Understanding, Questioning, Deliberating

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A blogpost by Martyn Pickersgill, University of Edinburgh – @PickersgillM

Research on the brain is increasingly drawn upon in policy-making and family services, with consequences for parenting advice and parenting practices. Especially in the early years of children’s lives, infant brains are said to grow rapidly, and this notion has informed policies around parenting and services for parents. Policy and services relating to older adults as well have come to link increasingly with neuroscientific notion and findings. (more…)

The use of evaluation in six Norwegian directories

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Øyunn Syrstad Høydal, PhD candidate, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HIOA)

This blog post informs a talk at the SKAPE seminar on 13 December 2017

10 years ago, I started work in the communication department of a Norwegian directorate. My background was from the private sector and one of the first things that caught my attention was all the fuss about evaluations. Evaluations were presented by the leadership as some kind of new magic medicine: providing knowledge, educating the organization and its partners, changing policies and making the world a better place. All this got me interested in the phenomenon of evaluation.

At present, I am doing a PhD project in the field of evaluation research at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied . Allthough evaluation is considered an important source of knowledge in the Norwegian political administrative system, hardly any research is done on the public use of evaluations and the consequences of an increase in evaluation activity (more…)

Everyday stories of impact: interpreting knowledge exchange in the contemporary university

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Dr Peter MatthewsSenior Lecturer, University of Stirling

This blog post is based on a talk at the SKAPE seminar on 8 November 2017

Questions bout sexual and gender identity are in the news at the moment. The NHS in England has announced that patients will be routinely asked their sexual identity so services can be better tailored. The Office of National Statistics has caused a storm of controversy over proposals to change the way the census asks about gender and sex in 2021 to make it more trans-inclusive. (more…)

The expertise of experts-by-experience – Struggles over experience-based knowledge in Finnish participatory arrangements

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Taina Meriluoto, University of Jyväskylä, Finland,

This blog post is based on a talk at the SKAPE lunchtime seminar on July 5th 2017.

In early 2010’s, I was employed in a Finnish Civil Society Organisation working within the social welfare sector. I was in charge of a project whose objective was to ‘bring the organisation back to its roots’ – to remind a deeply professionalized organisation about the value of volunteers and members, and more profoundly, introduce ‘a participatory approach’ in the organisation’s core activities. (more…)

Why journalists should engage with their readers: a view from Slovakia

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A blogpost by Simon Smith, Charles University*

What happens when journalists join in the discussion in the often-frightening comments section below their articles? That’s one of the questions I sought to answer in my book, Discussing the News: the uneasy alliance of participatory journalists and the critical public, published earlier this year as part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge & Policy that SKAPE edits.

In traditional newspaper culture, journalists do not often engage with their readers. So, as a researcher I jumped at the chance of witnessing an attempt to foster a more conversational relationship between journalists and the public at the newly-founded Slovak daily, Denník N


Sex, drugs and activism: making HIV treatment as prevention available in the UK

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Dr Ingrid Young, CSO-Chancellor’s Fellow, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh

This article was originally published on Sociology Lens on 12 April 2017

On 10 April 2017, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) – the use of HIV treatment in people who are HIV-negative to prevent HIV – would soon be available on the NHS. This is a landmark decision for the use of HIV treatment as prevention in the UK, making Scotland the first – and currently only – country to provide PrEP through the NHS.


Between excellence and relevance: academic research, policy and the making of research impact

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In recent years, research impact has emerged to become a part of the everyday life of UK academics. The underlying logic of the impact agenda, as reflected in policy documents, is that excellent research would lead to societal benefits (see for example RCUK). But how do these policy expectations fit with the realities of knowledge exchange and impact work? This question is at the heart of my upcoming SKAPE presentation, in which I will offer some early findings emerging from my PhD project, which studies academics involved in knowledge exchange organisations.


Targets for climate change policy: a special case?

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Authors: Prof. Steve Yearley and Dr. Eugénia Rodrigues

A recent report by the CCC (the Committee on Climate Change) made its low-key way to Parliament (‘The compatibility of UK onshore petroleum with meeting the UK’s carbon budgets’). In it a key message: shale gas exploitation, commonly known as ‘fracking’, if it is carried out on a significant scale, will be incompatible with the UK’s climate change targets. To be clear, this means for instance that both the UK carbon budgets, and the 2050 commitment to reducing emissions by at least 80% would be compromised. (more…)

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