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Researchers at Birmingham Law School have recently been awarded funding to launch three new projects.

Funding for a new research centre designed to explore how critical materials are extracted, used and reused in clean and digital technologies across the UK. Professor Robert Lee will lead a programme on regulatory frameworks for a circular economy.

The Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals is one of five new centres announced by the Government on 11 November 2020. Funded as part of a £22.5 million investment, it seeks to promote a circular economy in technology metals such as cobalt, rare earths and lithium materials widely used in green technologies including electric cars and wind turbines. Working with researchers at the British Geological Survey and the universities of Exeter, Leicester and Manchester, the Centre will help secure thee sustainable circulation of these critical materials within the UK economy.

Funded by the AHRC as part of UKRI’s Covid-19 Rapid Response scheme, the COVID Review Observatory is a resource that records, tracks, and assesses reviews of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from a human rights perspective. Where governments act with urgency, evaluative review is critical to ensure that the scrutiny-deficit of fast-tracking law-making can be addressed through retrospective review.

The COVID-19 Review Observatory will be based at Birmingham Law, led by Professor Fiona de Londras, and run by a team of four researchers: Daniella Lock (primary researcher), and researchers based in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Cardiff. It is funded by UKRI through the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Parts of the emergency legislation passed by the Government on 25 March 2020 is designed to allow local authorities to prioritise, and in some cases withdraw, elements of support for elderly and disabled people with social care needs.

Working in partnership with Central England Law Centre, Professor Jean McHale will examine the short- and longer-term impacts of Care Act 2014 easements on service-users’ fundamental rights, focusing on their application in four local authority areas in the Midlands­ - Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire – all home to diverse communities and each with locales of acute social deprivation. The project is funded by an ESRC Covid-19 Rapid Response grant.

Removing the rights from the vulnerable project website