Shaping a better society

Addressing the complex global challenges of our time, our unique interdisciplinary research is delivering positive change in Derby and Derbyshire, nationally and internationally.

What we do

We bring together researchers from across the disciplines of Law, Sociology, International Studies, Criminology and Policing in collaborations that are designed to have real-world progressive impact. We inform policy making, shape best practice and lead intellectual debates to help build a better society.

Our reputation for robust and high-quality applied social research means we regularly undertake projects funded by UK and international research councils and commissioned by international organisations, government departments, local authorities, police and criminal justice agencies and charities.

The work is broad in scale, scope and influence, spanning global policies to frontline community services. We have contributed to everything from a UN protocol on police interviewing to anti-slavery initiatives in Derby, from strategies to tackle homelessness to new routes into policing for students from non-traditional backgrounds. Our research is leading the way in methodological innovation and rigour while stimulating academic debates.

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What we're working on

The emphasis of our research throughout is on vital themes which are the bedrock of a better society.

Social policy, politics and society

We look at social justice, social mobility, community cohesion and the way in which inequality is leading to social change. We investigate wide-ranging subjects such as care policies, children and war, combating extremism and radicalisation, international diplomacy and intra-state conflict. Our research includes:

Crime, policy and society

We explore critical issues including politics and crime, fear of crime, desistance from crime, the rehabilitation of offenders, psychopathy, youth justice, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour, and support for recovery from problem gambling, alcohol and drug use. Our research includes a major study looking at how economic and social policies impact on crime, focusing on the Thatcher and Major governments from 1979 to 1997, and a study funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council on how research into 1980s crime trends could predict how policy affects future offending rates.

Policing and criminal justice

Our research has a particular focus on the education and training of police officers in the UK and worldwide as well as ethical codes in policing, human rights, police governance, investigative interviewing and forensic psychology.

International justice and legal ethics

We lead debates on transitional justice, international criminal law and environmental justice, shining a light on international commerce and its regulation, exploring law and technology, and challenging ideas about legal ethics in reproductive medicine.

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Work with us

Alongside our commissioned projects and services, we have a strong track record in delivering bespoke research training to suit the needs of different organisations. Our expertise in critical thinking, evaluation and analysis is captured in our MRes Social Sciences and Humanities programme as well as the specialist PhD supervision we can offer to ambitious researchers.

Could you benefit from our research? Whether you’re an organisation seeking tailor-made research projects and high-quality research training or whether you’re a prospective PhD student, contact us to discuss your ideas. Email Professor Hakeem Yusuf (Law) at h.yusuf@derby.ac.uk or Professor David Best (Criminology) at d.best@derby.ac.uk

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MRes Social Sciences and Humanities

This research training and development programme is ideal preparation for PhD study or a professional career in social research.

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Our Better Society researchers

The academics in our Better Society team carry out unique interdisciplinary research. The have a range of expertise and industry experience.

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Research degrees

Your postgraduate research experience at the University of Derby is designed to help you build fundamental research skills, whether you are a motivated recent graduate or an experienced academic.

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