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Research Policy and Support

A ripple on the surface of water
Water ripple over colours.

Next Generation Impact

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Maximising impact: Engaging the Public with Research

Companies, the government and individuals – a University has various stakeholders that engage with and benefit from research. In this session we will contemplate the future of engagement with research in a post-Covid world.


Catherine Richardson, Professor Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent and Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries (ICCI)

Professor Catherine Richardson researches the history of the Creative Industries – the beginnings of commercial theatre, and the development of dress and textile, furniture and furnishing design and making techniques in the early modern period. In this work, she is interested in who had access to such skills and knowledge, and what opportunities their creative practice gave them for social mobility.
She is currently working on a major new AHRC project ‘The Cultural Lives of the Middling Sort, writing and material culture 1560-1660’ that aims to transform our sense of the way reading and writing fitted into the everyday cultural lives of a very important but under-researched group in early modern England – the middling sort – the literate urban households whose members often wrote for a living. It has a significant public engagement dimension, working with partners including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Weald and Downland Living Museum, and Folger Shakespeare Library.

Alex Stevens, Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Kent

Professor Alex Stevens has worked on issues of drugs, crime and public health in the voluntary sector, as an academic researcher and as an adviser to the UK government. He has published extensively on these issues, with a focus on the drug-crime link, risk behaviours by young people, on the use of evidence in policy, and on quasi-compulsory drug treatment. Professor Stevens’ interest in drugs and crime dates back to his time working with UK charity Prisoners Abroad, which provides advice and information to British prisoners held in foreign prisons, and as European project manager and coordinator of the European Network of Drug and HIV/AIDS Services in Prison for Cranstoun Drugs Services.

He is currently trustee of Harm Reduction International and a member of the scientific committee of Drug Science.

Mark Connelly, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kent and Director of Gateways to the First World War

Professor Mark Connelly has broad interests in modern military history and warfare, culture and society. He is particularly interested in the commemoration of the two world wars with a specialism in the work of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission. He is also interested in popular perceptions of war and the armed forces in Britain and the Commonwealth from the mid-19th century.

Mark leads the Gateways to the First World War centre, an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project encouraging public engagement with the First World War centenary. Having reached the end of the formal centenary cycle, he is now leading projects focused on the war’s aftermath, particularly the desire of veterans and bereaved to visit the battlefields, memorials and cemeteries. Much of this work is carried out in collaboration with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the In Flanders Fields and Passchendaele Memorial museums in Belgium.