Volunteers needed to help shape world-changing research

Male researcher using pipette in lab

The Social Perceptions Observatory will support research that brings benefit to communities in Portsmouth and Hampshire.

  • 24 September 2021
  • 3 min read

Would you like to help combat climate change, find solutions to major issues affecting society or contribute to life-changing medical breakthroughs?

The University of Portsmouth is looking for volunteers from Portsmouth and the surrounding area to take part in surveys and research projects as part of its Social Perceptions Observatory (SPO).

The SPO will collate and develop pools of volunteers that will be available to University academics and researchers looking for participants for their projects. This work will help shape a local research agenda and support research that brings benefit to communities in Portsmouth and Hampshire.

Potential participants will provide basic personal information, indicate their availability for involvement with different types of research and include additional (voluntary) information on their lifestyle and general circumstances. This information will form the basis for aiding selection of relevant participants for each survey.

Taking part in the observatory gives people the chance to answer key research questions that could impact on how policies – such as those concerned with the environment, social issues and economic change – are developed and implemented.

Dr Robert Inkpen, Reader in Physical Geography and co-principal investigator of the SPO

Dr Robert Inkpen, Reader in Physical Geography and co-principal investigator of the SPO, said: “Taking part in the observatory gives people the chance to answer key research questions that could impact on how policies – such as those concerned with the environment, social issues and economic change – are developed and implemented.

“Too often, major policies are developed without first asking for the opinions and insights of the members of society who are most likely to be affected by it. By doing this, we believe that more effective decisions can be taken.

“For that reason, we're keen for the pool of volunteers in the observatory to come from across society, and we would actively encourage all parts of the community to register and volunteer for the observatory.”

Dr Alessandra Fasulo, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and co-principal investigator of the SPO, said: “We hope that the SPO will be an important resource to enable more efficient data collection, completion of pilot studies and boost grant applications. In addition, we hope that the SPO can act as a hub for groups of researchers with shared interests and methods from across the University, promoting collaboration and co-operation across Schools and Faculties.”

Dr Brian Baily, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Geography and co-principal investigator of the SPO, said: “As a Portsmouth local, I think this is a great opportunity for the local population to engage with the university and its research and to give their opinion on lots of varied projects and issues.”

Interested participants can sign up on the SPO webpage.

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