|Formation||1965 (as the SSRC)|
|Type||Research Council within UKRI|
|Purpose||Funding of social and economic research in the UK|
North Star Avenue,
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), formerly the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). UKRI is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) funded by the UK government. ESRC provides funding and support for research and training in the social sciences. It is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues.
The ESRC was founded in 1965 as the Social Science Research Council (SSRC - not to be confused with the Social Science Research Council in the United States). The establishment of a state funding body for the social sciences in the United Kingdom, had been under discussion since the Second World War;however, it was not until the 1964 election of Prime Minister Harold Wilson that the political climate for the creation of the SSRC became sufficiently favourable.
The first chief executive of the SSRC was Michael Young (later Baron Young of Dartington). Subsequent holders of the post have included Michael Posner, later Secretary General of the European Science Foundation. The current Chief Executive of the ESRC is Jennifer Rubin who took over from Professor Jane Elliott in October 2017.
Following the election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 general election, the Government expressed reservations about the value of research in the social sciences, and the extent to which it should be publicly funded. In 1981, the Education Secretary Sir Keith Joseph asked Lord Rothschild to lead a review into the future of the SSRC.
It was ultimately decided (due in no small part to the efforts of Michael Posner, chief executive of the SSRC at the time) that the Council should remain, but that its remit should be expanded beyond the social sciences, to include more 'empirical' research and research of 'more public concern'. To reflect this, in 1983 the SSRC was renamed the Economic and Social Research Council.
The ESRC's mission, according to its website, is to:
The ESRC is based at Polaris House in Swindon, which is also the location of the head offices of several other councils of UK Research and Innovation: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, Innovate UK, MRC, NERC and STFC, as well as the UK Space Agency. At any one time ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.[ citation needed ]
The ESRC funded two projects at the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership: from 2009 to 2012, the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, and from 2013 to 2015 the Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833 project (co-funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council). This work has been used to build the publicly available Legacies of British Slave-ownership database.
The Nuffield Foundation is a charitable trust established in 1943 by William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motors Ltd. It aims to improve social well-being by funding research and innovation projects in education and social policy, and building research capacity in science and social science. Its current chief executive is Tim Gardam.
The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) and its predecessor the Science Research Council (SRC) were the UK agencies in charge of publicly funded scientific and engineering research activities, including astronomy, biotechnology and biological sciences, space research and particle physics, between 1965 and 1994.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is responsible for co-coordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom. It is part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI), which came into operation 1 April 2018, and brings together the UK's seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. UK Research and Innovation is answerable to, although politically independent from, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, is a non-departmental public body (NDPB), and is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience. It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK.
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is a US-based, independent, international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing research in the social sciences and related disciplines. Established in Manhattan in 1923, it today maintains a headquarters in Brooklyn Heights with a staff of approximately 70, and small regional offices in other parts of the world.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a British Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences, mainly to universities in the United Kingdom. EPSRC research areas include mathematics, physics, chemistry, artificial intelligence and computer science, but exclude particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy. Since 2018 it has been part of UK Research and Innovation, which is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), established in April 2005 as successor to the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), is a British research council supporting research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities.
Research Councils UK, sometimes known as RCUK, was a non-departmental public body which coordinated science policy in the United Kingdom from 2002 to 2018. It was an umbrella organisation that coordinated the seven separate research councils that were responsible for funding and coordinating academic research for the arts, humanities, science and engineering. In 2018 Research Councils transitioned into UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The UK Data Archive is a national centre of expertise in data archiving in the United Kingdom (UK). It houses the largest collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities in the UK. It is certified under the Data Seal of Approval as a trusted digital repository. It is also certified under the international ISO 27001 standard for information security. Located in Colchester, the UK Data Archive is a specialist department of the University of Essex, co-located with the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER). It is primarily funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the University of Essex.
Ben Page is a market researcher, who is chief executive officer of Ipsos MORI. He has worked there since 1987, having graduated from St. John's College, Oxford the previous year.
The UK Data Service is the largest digital repository for quantitative and qualitative social science and humanities research data in the UK. This national data service integrates and builds on investments the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has made in UK research infrastructure for over 50 years, including the UK Data Archive, Economic and Social Data Service, the Secure Data Service, Census Programme and Survey Question Bank.
Barbara Jane Elliott is a British sociologist and academic. She is Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter. From October 2014 to September 2017 she was chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council. Her research uses longitudinal, qualitative and quantitative methodologies to explore issues of gender and employment.
The Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery, formerly the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership, is a research centre of University College, London which focuses on revealing the impact of British slavery and, in particular, the implications of the Slave Compensation Act 1837. The Centre's work is freely available online to the public through the Legacies of British Slavery database.
Melinda Mills, is a Canadian and Dutch demographer and sociologist. She is currently the Nuffield Professor of Sociology at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Mills’ research spans a range of interdisciplinary topics at the intersection of demography, sociology, molecular genetics and statistics. Her substantive research specializes in fertility and human reproductive behaviour, assortative mating, labour market, life course and inequality.
The UK in a Changing Europe initiative is intended to improve access to research on the relationship between the UK and the European Union (EU). It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and is based at King's College London.
Julia Mary Black is the Strategic Director of Innovation and a Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) She was the interim Director of the LSE, a post she held from September 2016 until September 2017, at which time Minouche Shafik took over the Directorship. She is the President-elect of the British Academy, the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences, and will become the Academy's second female President in July 2021 for a four-year term.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom that directs research and innovation funding, funded through the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Jane Cecelia Falkingham is a Professor of Demography and International Social Policy at the University of Southampton. She is also Dean of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Southampton, and Director of the ESRC Centre for Population Change. In 2018 she was elected President of the European Association of Population Studies (EAPS). She was President of the British Society for Population Studies between 2015 and 2017.
The Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) is an independent policy research institution based in Cardiff, Wales.
Jennifer Rubin is a policy analyst and professor of public policy at King's College London. She is also the Executive Chair at the ESRC and the Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at UK Research and Innovation. She sits on the board of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research.