Making the case for the social sciences

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Issues such as redundancies, parenting and poverty often hit the headlines - but the crucial research behind the stories rarely gets the same attention. Without the work of social scientists policymakers would not have the necessary research evidence to back up new policies. At a Whitehall event on Wednesday 10 February 2010 the Academy of Social Sciences (ACSS) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will launch a report 'Making the case for the social sciences' which gives examples of social science in action.

The first of a series of reports, the ACSS has collected a number of stories which demonstrates how evidence-based research can be translated into policies that will improve everyone's wellbeing. The impact of social science research is wide reaching - from crime prevention, education and re-employment to healthy diets and the wellbeing of children.

As a contributor to the report Prof Ann Buchanan will present her research on the value of fathers and grandparents in helping children avoid social exclusion in later life. The impact of Prof Buchanan's research can be seen in both Government and opposition policy on the importance of grandparents. The report illustrates both the breadth of social science research and its contribution to improving life and wellbeing in the UK and beyond.

During the event a panel of MPs from across the party spectrum, including David Willets MP, Dr Tony Wright MP and Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope will discuss the challenges facing the future of social science research. The panel chaired by Prof Cary Cooper will argue their case for the role of social science in bridging the evidence gaps in public policy and deliberate on its responsibility in the big questions facing society such as climate change and the economy.

Interviews are available with:

  • Prof Cary Cooper CBE AcSS, Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Prof Ann Buchanan AcSS "The importance of good parenting".

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. Launch of a report: Making the Case for the Social Sciences, by the Academy of Social Sciences, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council, which will be held at Sixty One Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET at lunchtime on Wednesday 10 February 2010, 13.00 - 14.30.
  2. Making the Case for the Social Sciences, the first in a series of publications, looks after wellbeing, providing examples of 'social science in action' in the UK.
  3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
  4. The Academy of Social Sciences is the voice of the social sciences in the UK for the public benefit. The social sciences encompass all aspects of what it is to be socially human, ranging from the understanding of individual brain functions through to the issues of living together in communities and finally large scale social movements which affect the whole of society. There are currently 34 learned society members of the Academy and over 600 individual Academicians, as well as a number of Affiliate members.