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Bedfordshire recognised in UK’s best breakthroughs list

Alexi Project

Thu 6th December, 2018

Pioneering research into child sexual exploitation from the University of Bedfordshire has today been named as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its significant impact on people’s lives.

Research carried out by its International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking, is honoured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list of the last century for its ground-breaking work to alter perceptions of young people who experience sexual exploitation, so they are seen as victims of child abuse who require a safeguarding response, rather than ‘difficult’ young people ‘placing themselves at risk’.

Working in partnership with funders, practitioners, policy makers and young people themselves, the research has contributed to changes to Government guidance around responding to child sexual exploitation and related forms of abuse.

Dr Helen Beckett, who leads the research for the University said: “Our approach is distinctive because we prioritise the voice of the child, and those who seek to support them, using applied and participatory methods of work to advance theory, policy and practice. This work has contributed to widespread changes in approaches to child sexual exploitation, positioning it firmly within strategies to safeguard children.”

The list of breakthroughs was compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, as part of the MadeAtUni campaign to change public perceptions of universities and bring to life the difference they make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

It follows independent research undertaken by Britain Thinks which found that the public has little understanding of the benefits of universities beyond undergraduate teaching. The findings show that research is one of the key triggers to change opinion about universities but for many people, it is an abstract concept.

The list demonstrates how UK universities are at the forefront of some of the world’s most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives, including the discovery of penicillin, work tackling plastic pollution, ultrasound scans to check the health of unborn babies and the establishment of the Living Wage.

Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for the university to be featured in the UK’s Best Breakthrough list. We’re extremely proud of the work of our academics and difference they are making to people, lives and communities.

“The MadeAtUni campaign is an incredibly important initiative for Bedfordshire as it allows students, alumni, the local community and the wider population to understand the work that we do and the impact it has.”

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics.

“The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list is a testament to the difference that universities make to people’s lives and we want everyone to join us in celebrating the work they do.”

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list: 100+ Ways Universities Have Improved Everyday Life was put together in partnership with universities across the UK.

You can find out more about the UK’s Best Breakthroughs and the MadeAtUni campaign here:

About the Britain Thinks research

Britain Thinks polled 2,063 UK adults online between 30 May and 31 May 2018. Data was weighted to be representative of all UK adults.

Bedfordshire University

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