Committees, colleges and panels

The ESRC Council comprises a structure of committees that work alongside a Peer Review College and grant assessment groups and panels.

We have recently undertaken a review of our current structure of committees to ensure that we are well placed to deliver the commitments outlined in our Strategic Plan 2015. In the next few months we will introduce a revised and simplified governance structure, which will consist of two committees (plus an Audit Committee). These will be a renewed and modified Research Committee, and a Capability Committee. The committees will work closely together to deliver the highly integrated and interdisciplinary challenges that we anticipate will be the focus of our investment in the coming years.

The new committees will enable us to deliver:

  • Enhanced horizon scanning to identify our focused priorities and opportunities for innovation – within social science and boundaries of other science areas
  • More integrated thinking and advice about priorities, across all areas of activity
  • Better use of evidence in decision making
  • Improved administrative efficiency

We are inviting applications from suitably experienced persons to be members of our renewed and modified Research Committee and Capability Committee.


Our current committees lead key aspects of our corporate strategy and oversee the development of our research and training investments. They work together to deliver our corporate objectives with an emphasis on delivering excellent social science with scientific, societal and economic impacts.

Three policy committees, each chaired by an ESRC Council member, represent the main sections of our research and training portfolio.

  • Methods and Infrastructure Committee
    Oversees our investments in data services, surveys and research methods development, and sets policy for the management of research data and the information environment.
  • Research Committee Oversees and sets policy for our research funding and investments, both managed and responsive.
  • Training and Skills Committee
    Provides strategic direction to our efforts to improve the quality of research training for social science researchers in the UK.

These three policy committees work alongside:

  • Audit Committee
    Provides advice on the overall effectiveness of our management procedures and internal control systems.
  • Evaluation Committee
    Provides advice on the quality and impact of our investments and corporate strategy.

Peer Review College

Our Peer Review College members provide expert quality reviews of proposals within their areas of expertise. These reviews inform our decision-making processes.


Our Grants Delivery Group makes scientific recommendations for funding awards across responsive mode schemes (excluding annual schemes) on behalf of the policy committees. These funding decisions are informed by the recommendations of the Grant Assessment Panels (GAPs).

There are three GAPs organised around clusters of disciplines comprising 45 to 50 members in total. The role of the GAPs is to appraise applications submitted under the responsive mode schemes and classify them by grade according to procedures and criteria approved and overseen by the relevant committee.

Recommendations on annual responsive mode schemes are made by commissioning panels under delegated authority from the relevant committee. Recommendations are made direct to the executive in the case of fast-track schemes.

Information for council, committee and panel members