RAND Europe Spotlight: 2020-2021

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Spotlight 2020-2021

Last year brought what often felt like an avalanche of challenges. The global COVID-19 pandemic caused devastating personal, social, and economic consequences; extreme weather events underscored the impact of climate change; acts of racial injustice laid bare tensions and inequalities; and political turbulence highlighted a growing polarisation and erosion of trust in civic institutions. Yet, to move forward and restore resilience, sustainability, and justice to our communities, we must put lessons learned into practice. Evidence and objective analysis are needed to find lasting, effective solutions to these wicked problems.

At RAND Europe, we want our research to be integral to forming workable solutions. This year’s Spotlight highlights selected projects that responded to challenges arising from COVID-19, including a macroeconomic model to analyse ‘vaccine nationalism’ impacts; rapid research on providing high-quality healthcare under COVID-19 constraints; and finding ways to tackle domestic violence, which increased during lockdowns.

We also responded to other policy challenges beyond the pandemic. This issue of Spotlight features, for example a machine-learning model to fight online disinformation; a framework to assess climate change challenges systematically; and an analysis of emerging cybercrime threats.

Our goal is to provide high-quality research and analysis that can improve people’s lives. In 2021, we have ambitious plans to broaden RAND Europe’s impact by exploring how philanthropic gifts could allow us to examine new and cross-cutting areas of policy importance. We are excited by the opportunities this will create to build on our existing issue-based work and deliver deeper insights for our stakeholders and wider society.

— Hans Pung

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References for Spotlight 2020-2021

The cost of COVID-19 vaccine nationalism

  • Syringes and COVID-19 vaccine ampoule lying on top of US dollars, photo by JYPIX/Adobe Stock

    COVID-19 and the cost of vaccine nationalism

    Without a vaccine, the worldwide economic impact of COVID-19 could be $3.4 trillion a year. But even when a vaccine is available, an unequal allocation of COVID-19 vaccines could cost the global economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP.

Domestic violence: What makes witnesses intervene?

Democracy depends on hearing all voters’ voices

  • Computer keyboard with VOTE keys

    The benefits and drawbacks of remote voting solutions

    RAND Europe and Open Evidence examined the extent to which remote voting solutions—particularly internet voting—are employed in the European member states. The research identified the costs, risks and challenges associated with seven remote voting options.

Weather warning: How climate change may impact defence and security

  • A Merlin helicopter comes in to drop off a Remover 3.1 mast during a snowy morning whilst on a helicopter flight trial at JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton, photo by 1st SAC David Turnbull/Royal Air Force Open Government License

    Implications of climate change for UK defence and security

    Looking to 2035, the Ministry of Defence could play a key role in developing robust policy and programming on climate change. Researchers identified six high-level recommendations to support the MOD in developing an approach to address climate-related issues.

Using big data to measure migration

  • Abstract globe with blue lights and networks, photo by imaginima/Getty Images

    Measuring migration using big data

    Social media data may help decisionmakers to 'nowcast' migration flows and stocks of migrants. A team of researchers attempted to develop a method of measuring real-time mobility and migration. The results of the study were promising.

Northern alliance: How Norway’s NATO allies see it

  • Norwegian Coast rangers sailing outside of Harstad during exercise Cold Response 2020, photo by Emil Wenaas Larsen / Forsvaret (Norwegian Armed Forces)

    Deterrence and defence in NATO's north

    Key NATO allies regard Norway as being able to ‘punch above its weight’ in the North Atlantic and High North regions, but Norway does face pressing political, strategic, and military challenges, as well as wider security threats to societal resilience.

Priced Out? Estimating the Cambridge affordability gap

THIS evidence can improve healthcare

  • Illustration of medical team and equipment

    The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute

    The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute is a ten-year effort to create a world-leading scientific asset for the NHS by strengthening the evidence-base for improving the quality and safety of healthcare. RAND Europe is a key partner, investigating what works in improving healthcare, what doesn’t, and why.

  • Examining the use of Paediatric Early Warning Systems in the UK

    A diverse range of paediatric early warning (PEW) systems are commonly used across the UK, particularly in acute settings. A review of their use uncovered a growing interest amongst some healthcare decisionmakers in the potential of using a standardised system.

  • abstract

    Reviewing the use and effectiveness of arts-based approaches for public engagement with research

    To raise awareness about a research topic, increase research impact, or help inform the research process and direction, taking an arts-based approach may help to engage the public.

  • Public health vector illustration, VectorMine/Adobe Stock

    What influences improvement processes in healthcare?

    Although many healthcare organisations are engaging in activities to improve the quality of healthcare, there are still considerable challenges in doing so. Additional research on quality improvement could help inform a better understanding of how improvements in patient care can be achieved and sustained.

Investigating the future of cybercrime

  • Skull hologram on modern computer background, cybercrime and hacking concept, photo by Igor/Adobe Stock

    Technology and the future of cybercrime

    To prepare for and mitigate the impact of emerging technologies on cybercrime, Estonia could consider broad anti-cybercrime capacity building; seek legal, regulatory and organisational agility; and invest in technological expertise, skills and research.

Targeting early inclusion

  • Little girl blows and brings out letters of words

    Early language intervention shows promise

    A randomised controlled trial into the effectiveness of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention found that it appeared to have a positive impact on children’s language skills and that training and support for staff also had a positive effect on children.

Making educated decisions

Using machine learning to fight online trolls

Crossing the line

  • A hospital damaged in an attack on a U.S. military air base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, December 11, 2019, photo by Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

    Examining violence against healthcare

    RAND Europe explored the nature of violence against healthcare, the impact of this violence, and corresponding interventions on a global scale – the first time an evidence review of this scale has been undertaken in this area.

EmBRACEing new healthcare directions

  • Healthcare icons and medical innovation concept

    Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (BRACE) Centre

    The Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (BRACE) Centre is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to conduct rapid evaluations of promising new services and innovations in healthcare.

  • The impact of vertical integration of health services

    In several locations across England and Wales, NHS organisations responsible for managing acute hospitals have also taken over the running of primary care medical practices. Vertical integration is a valuable option to consider when GP practices look likely to fail due to recruitment and financial difficulties, but it is not an option that should be imposed from the top down.

  • Four hands encircling image of a family, photo by Andrey Popov/Adobe Stock

    Evaluating collaborations between primary care general practices in the UK

    Primary care networks can help GPs run a wider range of services for their patients and make changes that are needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be important to have additional clarification and support around the role of primary care networks in the wider NHS in England.

On the horizon

  • Abstract image of business technology

    Centre Conducts Futures and Foresight Studies

    Through the Centre for Futures and Foresight Studies (CFFS), RAND Europe uses futures techniques from scenario planning to high-level gaming to horizon-scanning to provide clients with actionable insights across both near- and longer-term time horizons.

  • Social media network and remote work illustration, photo by peshkov/Adobe Stock

    Using social media data to ‘nowcast’ migration around the globe

    Because official statistics can be delayed or fail to correctly capture the full extent of migration, making informed policy decisions can be a challenge. Researchers are developing an approach to compute near real-time migration estimates for Europe and the United States using social media data.

  • A view of markets in Brixton as the spread of COVID-19 continues, London, March 31, 2020, photo by Henry Nicholls/Reuters

    Evaluation design for multiple long-term health conditions programme

    Complex evaluations at multiple levels are gathering evidence for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity on societal determinants of health such as housing, debt, racism and labour markets. The findings will inform policy to help those most at risk of developing long-term conditions.