The MRS President's Medal is awarded annually to an organisation or individual that has made an extraordinary contribution to research, but does not have the institutional framework to be recognised by the standard MRS Awards programme.

This year’s finalists are:

Colombe Ladreit, Bocconi University for her study on ‘Austerity and young people’s political attitudes in the UK’

This study uses longitudinal data from the University of Essex’s ‘Understanding Society’ research programme to identify the impact of the 2012 British austerity policies on political enfranchisement in the UK.

The findings indicate the welfare cuts had a negative impact on the political efficacy of young people, as they were more inclined to believe that public officials did not care about them and that they had no say in the actions of the government. Additionally, their satisfaction with politics, as determined by their perceived level of political influence, also decreased. Overall, the results suggest that the implementation of austerity measures increased the likelihood of political disenfranchisement among young people in Britain.

The Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) (Heriot-Watt University) and GISS (Bremen) for collaborating to address street homelessness on an intellectual, international and city level

I-SPHERE and GISS (Bremen), have produced an evaluation of the Institute of Global Homelessness ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative which works with vanguard cities across the globe to set targets and support them in their efforts to tackle street homelessness. The aim of the evaluation was to monitor progress and draw out the core components of successful interventions that may be transferable to other cities/contexts.

The project used mixed qualitative and quantitative methods to create globally comparable homelessness point-in-time counts and parallel data on street homelessness levels and profiles. In total, 82 senior stakeholders and 128 frontline workers participated in the Wave 1 fieldwork across the cities, and 69 senior stakeholders and 90 frontline workers in Wave 2.

This is the first global collaboration to gather rigorously comparative qualitative homelessness data, providing crucial evidence to local and national governments and demonstrated that comparisons spanning diverse contexts in the Global North and Global South are methodologically possible and invaluable. Recommendations have influenced new homelessness projects in Uruguay and inspired Greater Manchester to pivot services.

University of Essex, iCARP and the National Institute for Health and Care Research for their ‘Angling for Good’ project

Previous research has shown that angling can help reduce the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This study using qualitative research and psychological methodologies were designed to see how the power of fishing can be used to improve the lives of military veterans with PTSD and gather more evidence to inform NHS policy around prescribing outdoor activities to support mental health.

The results of the study have been significant.

  • Scientific analysis has shown the psychological wellbeing of participants has improved and the veterans themselves have reported a dramatic reduction in their symptoms which has set them on the road to recovery.
  • The success of the programme has been recognised by the NHS, the armed forces and charities, including Veterans First, Combat Stress and the Invicta Foundation, who continue to refer clients for help.

University of Oxford for their study on understanding indicators of proneness to extreme violence amongst online users

This research develops a novel method of assessing the risk that online users will engage in acts of violent extremism based on linguistic markers detectable in terrorist manifestos.  It involved comparative NLP analysis across 15 manifestos from violent to moderate political stances.

The work confirmed the identification of linguistic markers for groups prone to acts of violent extremism. The assessment framework may prove useful to police and security professionals in helping assess the risk that online users will engage in offline violence.   

The winner will be revealed at the MRS Awards in London on 4 December. 

Get the latest MRS news

Our newsletters cover the latest MRS events, policy updates and research news.