Opinion Former Article

ESRC: Making the case for the social sciences

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 Professor 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 Professor 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 Professor 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.

For interviews with speakers in advance of the conference or a copy of the report please contact:

ESRC Press Office:

Danielle Moore (Tel: 01793 413122, email: danielle.moore@esrc.ac.uk)

Jeanine Woolley (Tel: 01793 413119, email: jeanine.woolley@esrc.ac.uk)

(Out of office hours number, Tel: 07554333336)

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