Research news review

Sussex geneticist elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Alan Lehmann

Alan Lehmann, Sussex's newest Fellow of the Royal Society

Alan Lehmann has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), the country's top scientific honour. Alan has been at Sussex since 1971, first as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Biochemistry Department, and then from 1973-2001 as a senior scientist and professor of molecular genetics at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cell Mutation Unit.

In 2001, he co-founded the Genome Damage and Stability Centre at the University, one of the UK's foremost centres for cancer research. Throughout his career, he has investigated the ways in which our cells are able to repair damage inflicted on the DNA molecules that make up our genes.

Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science opens

Dr Anil Seth and Professor Hugo Critchley, pictured with Theresa Sackler

Dr Anil Seth and Professor Hugo Critchley, pictured with Theresa Sackler, co-founder of the Sackler Foundation.

A new research centre that will tackle mysteries of the conscious mind and help us to better understand déjà vu, synaesthesia, amnesia, depression and schizophrenia opened at Sussex in April 2010.

Researchers from neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and psychiatry will be brought together in the Sackler Centre, where they will study the conscious state, using a unique combination of theory, clinical investigations and hard science. The Centre is the result of a substantial grant by the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, which funds pioneering research into the brain. To find out more about the Centre's research refer to Mind and brain.

£1.1-million grant to investigate British living standards

Andrew Newell and Ian Gazeley

Andrew Newell (left) and Ian Gazeley

Research by two Sussex academics will use a unique record of British domestic life to chart how ordinary Britons moved from poverty to prosperity during the 20th century.

Since January 2010, historian Dr Ian Gazeley and economist Andrew Newell have been analysing data from government surveys of household accounts for the project - The Living Standards of Working Households in Britain, 1904-1960. It is hoped that the work, funded by a £1.1-million grant from the Economic and Social Research Council will help developing countries to tackle poverty issues as their own economies grow, as well as providing a web-based 'one-stop shop' for research into British living standards research.

Key findings published in major study of migration

Sussex researchers in Burkina
Faso, studying the effects of

Sussex researchers in Burkina Faso, studying the effects of migration.

Barriers to migration should be reduced to enable migrants to play a positive role in both industrialised and developing countries, according to a new report from the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty at Sussex.

The economic value of migration to poor countries is already well established, with migrant workers sending over $300 billion to developing countries, around four times global aid flows. Yet according to the findings report, policy on migration in developing countries remains fragmentary, and there is still a lack of consensus on what pro-poor migration policies should look like in poor countries.

Key findings include:

  • Poor people are more likely to travel and work within or between poor countries, yet they are often ignored in international debates about migration.
  • Migration, particularly among the young, often stimulates investment in education, either in the country of origin or destination.
  • Where poor people have a greater choice in terms of migration destinations, the net effect on inequality is more likely to be positive.
  • Skilled migration is largely a symptom, not a cause of underdevelopment.
  • Policies that support migrant communities can contribute to the development of their countries of origin. Migrants do not need to return to be effective and sustainable.