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Development and persistence of human capability and resilience in their social and geographical context

Welcome to the web pages for this ESRC funded research network. From here you can find out about the projects within the network, the people involved and the results from our studies.

An introduction to the network

The aim of the network is to contribute to policy by improving the scientific understanding of the socio-economic, biological and psychological circumstances that contribute to human capability and resilience over the life course.

There are six component projects, all focused on human resilience and capability, but each with a different approach and field of study. The projects share a common definition of, and perspective on resilience. We define resilience as showing positive adjustment despite being exposed to adversity. Positive adjustment may involve a variety of capabilities, for example, cognitive, behavioural, health-related, motivations and temperamental. For the purposes of these projects 'adversity' can be due to psychological, biological, social and economic influences.

A policy-based model provided the intellectual framework within which all projects are located and by which they are all integrally linked -- we have adapted Whitehead’s “Rainbow” model. It has always been too complex a model to be tested in a single project, its questions are better addressed through a network.

The scientific objectives of the network are as follows:

  • How are human capability and resilience developed and fostered by relationships within families and households? (Projects 1 and 2)
  • What are the contributions of neighbourhood and locality characteristics and participation in the community? (Projects 1, 2 , 3 and 5)
  • How are capability and resilience influenced by education, training and relationships at work? (Projects 3, 5 and 6)
  • How do earlier life relationships and experiences contribute to resilience in the face of illness, ageing and social adversity at later phases of the life course? (Projects 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • How can public services contribute to maintaining and increasing human capability and resilience? (Especially projects 2, 5 and 6)
  • Why arrange these projects in a network? The research network offers us various advantages in working together and co-ordinating our research. These include
  • Common concepts, orientation and methods
  • Information exchange
  • Sharing of expertise
  • Planning project dissemination
  • Co-ordination between projects and users

The network is able to support two vital components at a level which individual projects cannot sustain; training and user-engagement. By holding training workshops and using a 'skill-exchange' between the projects, the network will contribute to capacity for high quality social research with Britain. By having a network-level focus on user-engagement and dissemination, we hope to have a much greater impact with our results. The network will produce and offer non-specialist briefing papers and access to workshops for users for example.

The network is co-ordinated by Professor Mel Bartley from the Department of Epidemiology at UCL.







This page last modified 30 November, 2007 by Administrator

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