A new charity, building on the work of the Alcohol Education and Research Council (AERC), was launched last month. Professor Virginia Berridge guided the audience through a history of research into the use of alcohol and Professor Martin Hagger discussed his team’s (Alcohol Research UK funded) investigation into people’s attitudes, beliefs and responses to the possible introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol. The findings from the latter can be downloaded here and make for interesting reading.
Professor Robin Davidson then outlined the plans for the new charity, including the Flagship Grants Programme. Small grants (up to £5,000) are available to fund modest research projects, pilot research studies or demonstration projects. All should have a strong evaluation component. Projects which increase the capacity of individuals and organisations to deal with alcohol issues may also be funded. The following criteria are applied to all applications: Will the project make a difference to the alcohol evidence base or to the capacity of individuals or organisations? Are the aims well defined and achievable? Is there a sound evaluation component to check whether those aims have been achieved? This is a rolling programme with no application deadline.
At the launch an afternoon balloon debate, chaired by Rosie Boycott (a self declared ‘recovering alcoholic’), explored how best to reduce alcohol related harm in society. Participants included Professor Sir Ian Gilmore (Alcohol Research UK Trustee, Alcohol Health Alliance UK Chair and Consultant Physician, Royal Liverpool University Hospitals), Professor Malcolm Law (Professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry) and Campbell Evans (Director of Government & Consumer Affairs, Scotch Whisky Association). The debate is on utube here and is well worth a watch.