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Research by geographers at the University of Gloucestershire on vulnerable populations has focused on precarious workers, rural communities, those in supported housing, and young people at risk of offending. This research has informed debates and decision-making within key governmental departments and agencies, and has also informed the practice of public protection professionals.



Governments increasingly face considerable budgetary pressure whilst also being expected to support (often growing) vulnerable populations.

Research conducted by geographers has increased the knowledge base on these vulnerable populations, to improve and inform policy, practice, and intervention.



The research, conducted by the University of Gloucestershire’s Interdisciplinary Social Vulnerabilities Research Group (SVRG) since 2007, has looked at precarious workers and labour exploitation and is helping to inform critiques of the UK policy approach to protecting workers from harm.

Research has also been conducted in the UK and abroad on understanding the challenges facing young people and the organisations that work for them. This has involved, as one example, evaluating local youth projects that worked with young people at risk of offending.



The research contributed to the evidence base on vulnerable populations, which has initiated and informed policy discussions and educated the next generation of public protection officials.

The researchers have been invited to directly engage with national decision makers to provide evidence and recommendations. This has included giving evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry for Communities and Local Government and Work and Pensions based on their work on supported housing.

The research on the global food industry has produced a state-of-the art review that has been taken up by the European Commission and Defra.


More information 

Institution: University of Gloucestershire

Researchers: Professor Kenny Lynch, Dr Sam Scott

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How to cite

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) The state and the vulnerable: using social research to facilitate more effective policy intervention and support for ‘at risk’ groups. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>