The Campaign for Social Science aims to raise the profile of social science in the public, media and Parliament.
We seek to:
• inform and influence public policy with social science evidence
• be regularly in the news and in the media with comment on social science issues
• speak with authority on the state of social science
• promote the benefits of investment in social science education and research
1. The appointment of a Chief Social Science Adviser to UK government ministers
The Government scrapped the post of Chief Social Science Advisor in 2010, dividing the work between two officials, who have other roles. At present there is no senior social scientific advisor to the government. Without this role, no government can be fully informed about the best policies to reduce crime, ensure social mobility and cohesion, run our cities, protect our countryside, get people to take climate change seriously, and much more.
The Campaign has given evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, and the Committee has issued two reports calling for, among other things, the restoration of the post.
Government should bring back post
Campaign welcomes national advisor post
We urge more Whitehall departments to appoint candidates from social science backgrounds as their chief scientific advisers and correspondingly encourage more social science researchers and practitioners to put themselves forward for appointment.
2. International students should be kept out of targets to cut migration
Half of all international students in the UK are taking courses in the social sciences, which is a higher proportion than for any other disciplinary grouping. Non-UK students in the social sciences at UK universities number over 150,000; most leave after their studies but retain personal and professional connections, which are of sustained value to the UK. The government should keep international students from any targets to reduce net migration and reintroduce the option for non-EU graduates to stay in the UK to work for two years.
3. Social science education must increasingly equip the next generation of researchers with quantitative techniques
A condition of the successful exploitation of data is the expansion of quantitative and methodological capacity among social scientists. Better training for social science undergraduates is advancing with the £15.5 million Quantitative Methods Programme, supported by the Nuffield Foundation, the ESRC and the university funding councils. We are committed to ensuring that a social science degree becomes, even more than today, a passport to data understanding and exploitation. Building on Q-Step, social science education must increasingly equip the next generation of researchers with quantitative techniques, the capacity to acquire and analyse new forms of data, and the disposition to work collaboratively with other scientists.
4. The protection of longitudinal and key data sets deemed to be at risk
The Campaign urges the Government to continue support, both revenue and capital, for the internationally acclaimed birth cohort and longitudinal studies carried out in Britain. This includes the national Census, which is invaluable for social scientists, as its data allow us to follow people throughout their lives and so allow us to see how society is changing. The data are important for central and local government to plan for school places, the health service and services for the elderly, among many other important decisions.
5. Funding for science and social science should be protected and extended
The Campaign believes that funding for social science and science should be maintained. In our Business of People report, we called for the 2015 Government spending review to ringfence the budget for science and innovation and pledge real terms growth of at least 10 per cent over the lifetime of the next Parliament.
For a full set of our policies, see our Business of People report.