Students Staff

02 December 2013

Essex academics awarded emergency funding for Syria research

Colchester Campus

Professor Thomas Scotto

Professor Thomas Scotto.

Political scientists from the Essex are among the first to receive urgent funds from a new scheme to enable them to carry out immediate research about public reactions to the military and humanitarian situation in Syria.

Professors Thomas Scotto and Paul Whiteley, from the Department of Government, are heading up a research team that is receiving emergency funding from a pilot scheme launched by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), on behalf of Research Councils UK (RCUK). The Urgency Grants Mechanism has been set up to enable researchers to respond to urgent or unforeseen events where there is a strong case for immediate research.

The Essex based team will use the funding to research further into the nature and consequences of the public’s reaction to the current, volatile situation in Syria. They will question citizens in the UK, the US and France.

Professor Scotto said: “This is a unique opportunity for us. To be awarded the funds that will enable us to react immediately to such a critical situation whilst it’s still unfolding is pretty unprecedented. We will be asking the relevant questions at the relevant time, the answers to which will provide a bank of knowledge that we will then share at a worldwide level.”

The project team, which also includes Dr Jason Reifler from the University of Exeter and Professor Harold Clarke from the University of Texas in Dallas, will be asking questions including how members of the public weigh the costs and benefits of different courses of actions proposed by leaders, to what extent public reactions are affected by attitudes towards their politicians and the effects of existing beliefs about the morality of war and the necessity of humanitarian relief.

Initial results are expected early in the new year.


Notes to Editors

For further information and to speak to Professors Scotto and Whiteley, please contact Catherine McDonald, Faculty Communications Officer for Social Sciences at the University of Essex: or 07515 116547

The Economic and Social Research Council(ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million.

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