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UK Corruption Research: Analysing the gaps

Written by Jameela Raymond on Sunday, 21 September 2014

Despite everyone’s best efforts and intentions, no one person, organisation or sector can effectively fight corruption alone. Last week, Transparency International UK’s Anti-Corruption Research Network (ACRN) brought together representatives and interested individuals from a variety of groups.

Designed as a forum to discuss how different aspects of research can support varying efforts to understand detect and deter corruption crimes, the symposium heard from a number of anti-corruption experts and highlighted opportunities for inter-sector collaboration.

Dr Olli Hellmann from Sussex University’s Centre for the Study of Corruption and organiser of the Political Studies Association (PSA) launched a specialist group on Corruption and Political Misconduct (CPM) which he proposed as a potential channel for communication between academics, policy makers and law enforcers. In his keynote speech, the National Crime Agency’s Nigel Kirby outlined what anti-corruption research needs to look like if it is to have an impact at the hands-on level.

Essex University’s Professor Paul Whiteley, Oxford University’s Dr Liz Dávid-Barrett and Sussex University’s Professor Dan Hough gave an overview of research into UK corruption, raising pertinent questions around the purpose of publicly funded academic research if it is not intended to have any public-facing impact.

A discussion on police corruption was led by HM Inspectorate of the Constabulary’s Peter Spindler, the Open University’s Dr Louise Westmarland, TI-UK’s Emma Kerr, and Professor Gloria Laycock OBE, founder of the Home Office Police Research Group, who suggested that if research was to have impact, it should offer focused and realistic solutions rather than re-defining and re-analysing enduring problems. The discussion on tackling the proceeds of corruption, with input from Professor Martin Gill, Dr Bill Peace, Antonio Suarez-Martinez from Edwards Wildman and the Metropolitan Police’s DCI Jon Benton, recognised that whilst hard facts and figures would be invaluable in understanding the size of the challenge, there are plenty of gaps in research that need to be addressed.


Opportunities for research students

Anticipating these conclusions and seizing the opportunity to act as an intermediary between academia and practitioners, TI-UK has compiled and launched its Research Topics List. In an attempt to allow academic research to be purposeful and of value to law enforcement the list has been created for Masters and PhD research students who hope to investigate issues that are under-examined. The list may also be of use to individuals or organisations already doing research on those issues who wish to make contact with TI-UK in order to discuss potential for collaboration. The list of potential topics is not exhaustive, but we believe that it nonetheless provides a good starting point for research in this field.

So, if you’re a Masters or PhD student with an interest in corruption, transparency and accountability, take a look at the Research Topics List. With it, we hope to create a synergy between sectors which will not only lead to a better understanding of the complex issues around corruption, but also strengthen our shared fight against it.


Read 3887 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Jameela Raymond

Jameela is Transparency International UK's Senior Policy Officer. You can follow her on Twitter @jameelaraymond

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