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Co-op Teams

Co-operative Teams


The Co-op Teams are short meetings designed for researchers to gain knowledge on the work of senior non-academic guests and stimulate them to discuss key societal questions and challenges of our time that might be outside their specialised field.  

It involves PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and external guest from industry, government and other sectors exploring ways in which social sciences can help to create social impact and social benefit.  

The idea is to have an informal discussion and to keep the groups small in order to have a chance to explore the selected topics more thoroughly. This can also be used as an opportunity for students to talk to a non-academic audience about their research and make connections that will help their work in the future 

During Michaelmas term 2018, we hosted two co-op teams where PhD students and postdocs from Cambridge Social Sciences explored ‘Regional Identity’ with the MEP of East of England and ‘How Social scientist can help with UK food security, legislation and ethics’ with the FSA. 

Co-op Teams meeting with Alex MayerMember of European Parliament, East of England 


MEP Alex Mayer, Dr Konstantina Stamati and PhD candidates Simon LarmourBen Laws, Hannah Marshall, Matthew Muscat, and Hannah Forde  

The discussion revolved around the identity of the region East of England, its differences with other regions of the UK, its economic strengths, the specific place of Cambridge within the region, and the impact of Brexit on regions in the UK. The second topic of discussion was the systemic problems of communication between experts and politicians and the role of academia to make reports accessible to politicians both in the way they are written and in the way they are made available, for instance on the Internet. 


Co-op Teams meeting with Vanna Aldin (Food Standards Agency and Policy Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy): Food Safety Culture 


Vanna Aldin (Head of Analytics and Chief Economist at the FSA)Dr Konstantina Stamati and Dr Josephine Chambers and PhD candidates Lena Hafner, Tatiana Pignon and Liz Killen 

During this the students explored topics from food regulations in the UK, impact of Brexit on food security, collaborations between the FSA and local authorities, the use of new technologies to improve a changing sector, the growing awareness of food hygiene standards, information campaigns regarding food-born diseases, and the case for more international approaches to food security. How Social Sciences engage with Policy was also raised, and the general agreement was that there is a need to think more on the long-term, and to collaborate to address challenges of tomorrow.