This section provides detail of  OxPolicy’s main research projects, past and present. Whilst our blog aims to take a holistic view of UK policy, our flagship projects focus on analyzing a smaller subset of issues that affect our society.


NEW: Preventing Sexual Assault at Universities

 The goal of this project is to identify effective policies that combat sexual assault at universities. Statistics released by the UK government have found that 1 in 5 women experience sexual violence of some kind during their lifetime. Such issues are often reported on, and incidents of sexual violence at universities have been broadcasted across international news. Rarely are solutions or effective programs preventing sexual misconduct discussed, however, and that is precisely what this research project will explore.

Research Coordinator:Haley Lemieux

Diversity in UK State Education

 This project will explore the diversity of UK state education and whether young people are positively exposed to diverse figures, characters and role models, such as women, BME, LGBTQ and disabled individuals and their intersections. The UK is rapidly becoming more diverse, and it has been shown to be very important that children find leaders and inspirational people to whom they can relate. This implies the necessity that the curriculum constantly adapts to suit the needs of young people in the UK. It is also beneficial that students of majority groups who regularly see themselves represented in mainstream media are exposed to a diverse range of lived experiences to foster tolerance and understanding. We will begin with an investigation of the curriculum and widely used teaching resources to assess the true extent of diversity in present teaching methods. We will evaluate the effects that more diverse teaching methods have on children, where they may be improved and what these improvements could be in order to ensure that all children are being exposed to people they can relate to in their daily lives at school.

Research Coordinator:Rebecca Redding

Menstrual Education

 This project explores the broad issues surrounding the stigmatization of menstruation, as well as the implications that these stigmas have upon both the well-being of people who experience menstruation and the policy decisions that impact them within the United Kingdom. It will specifically pin-point policies that actively and tacitly marginalize menstruating people, and will ultimately aim to propose alternatives that would reduce current inequities.

Research Coordinator: Cassandra Cardiff ([email protected])

Dynamics of Legal Pluralism in the UK

  This research project will explore the dynamics of legal pluralism in the United Kingdom. Legal pluralism refers to the coexistence of multiple legal systems within a given community or socio-political space. While legal pluralism is prevalent in the literature on developing countries, research on parallel legal structures within the developed world remains limited, even though plural legal systems have become ubiquitous across the world. Our research project will attempt to fill this gap in the literature. We will aim to shed light on the legal structures that characterize Britain’s diverse legal landscape in the face of distinct religious and cultural norms that give rise to myriad dispute resolution fora. We will address questions such as the following (this is open to the researchers’ suggestions): How do people evaluate the different legal structures available and decide between them? What is the impact of these legal orders on vulnerable groups (e.g. women, children and the elderly)? The first step would be a literature review, followed by archival research to review past court cases that have taken place at the intersection between common law and informal law, and guidelines given to judges and lawyers concerning legal structures within minorities. This could be complemented with further research to collect primary data. Once the research project has established its focus, we will aim to conduct interviews with representatives of the relevant dispute resolution services or, if access can be negotiated, confidential and anonymous interviews with individuals who have resolved civil matters within these institutions. In addition, interviews with human rights organizations (e.g. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch) based in London could serve as a valuable source of information.

Research Coordinator: Joana Clemens ([email protected]) and Chen Chen ([email protected])

Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

The fossil fuel divestment campaign has generated a new wave of enthusiasm among students and activists alike. This project will explore the role that the divestment campaign as a strategy of social movement plays in the wider climate change movement. Potential research questions such as: how to explain the rise of divestment campaign as a major strategy in the movement? how do different actors (universities, other organisations, fossil fuel corporations) interact in the process? What is its impact on different actors and how effective it is in combating climate change? This project would ultimately aim to produce recommendations such as how to improve different divestment campaigns’ chance of success and how can the divestment campaign push further (apart from pressuring for divestment) and potentially align with other strands of activism to create a even large change. The research would consist of some element of primary research, especially interviewing activists and organisations involved.

Research Coordinator: Johnny Chen ([email protected])

Early-years Childcare Reform

 This project will address a relatively neglected aspect of work-family balance research. We will be determining to what extent public childcare [nurseries] opening hours match standard working hours of employed parents, and deriving policy implications from our results. The format will be a case study, most likely of Oxfordshire, in the UK.

The question of whether public childcare is actually available when it is needed has received comparatively little attention both in politics and academia. This is a surprising oversight, given the commitments made by successive British governments to improve work-family balance measures, as well as the EU Barcelona targets. These call for levels of female labour force participation and public childcare attendance that have not been realized, and from which Britain in particular is relatively far away.

In their recent election campaign, the Conservative party outbid the Labour parties’ campaign promise of 20 free hours of childcare per week, with a promise of 30 hours of free childcare per week. These demand-side childcare subsidies are helpful for those for whom affordability is the main issue, but what about those parents for whom time is the core issue? What are their options for public childcare in Oxfordshire?

Depending on the results of our research, we may be in the position to identify either an under-provision of childcare, or the importance of more time-flexible instruments, such as child-minders. The results will bring us one step closer to understanding how work-family balance in Britain might best be achieved.

Research Coordinator: Rosa von Gleichen ([email protected])

Health Inequalities in England

  This research project will explore issues around health inequalities in England. A so-called ‘social gradient’ in health exists in this country – even with free healthcare – which means socially deprived people are more likely to experience premature death. For example, London shows a huge disparity in male life expectancy – 71 years in Tottenham Green ward (Haringey) on one hand and 88 years in Queen’s Gate on the other (WHO). Health inequalities stem from diverse factors such as income, education, geography and gender, and could be reduced by the right mix of public policies. This project will focus on the relationship between economic inequalities and health inequities. It will first examine the way in which economic inequalities lead to systematic differences in health outcomes and how significant the impact is. It will then review how the government has been coping with the issue and suggest ways to improve the current policies. All researchers are, however, most welcome to suggest alternative research ideas and directions. Possible research methods include investigating health policy papers and existing literature on health inequities and economic inequalities, interviewing health workers, patients, researchers specialising in public health and relevant NGOs, and collecting descriptive statistics describing health disparities. As health is directly related to our well-being, it is expected that researchers can incorporate their first- hand experiences into the research to make fecund and rewarding outcomes.

Research Coordinator: Yeonjoo La ([email protected])

Increasing Accessibility to Oxbridge - Collaborative Paper with Wilberforce Cambridge

 This is part of a new collaboration policy paper with Cambridge University’s think-tank, Wilberforce, an opportunity to contribute with valuable research to pressing issues at home, getting a publication to your name as well as writing with our fellow Cantabrigians.

We intend to tackle the issue of increasing accessibility to Oxbridge, as a reflection of the increasing urgency of income inequality and social stratification in the UK. These Research Coordinators (RCs) will be in charge of developing a research topics, research methodology and helping to manage their research team. Policy papers should be at least 4,000 words in length. Research topics that can be proposed can include but are not limited to: the impact of accessibility on income inequality, the root causes of limited accessibility, the effectiveness of existing programmes as well as other specific areas of reform/research.

We have now recruited our research coordinators, and are looking for those interested in joining the research team as Research Members. Your main responsibility will be to aid the coordinators in researching and creating the paper. Applications for this role are open until the 1st December.

Research coordinators: Kristine Gorgen, Agnes Ebenberger, and George Gillet


To view past projects and the full collection of OxPolicy publications, please visit our Reports page.