Making the Report

Working group 2 june 3The Business of People report was the result of six months’ work by a team of leading social scientists and Campaign staff.  The core working group met on five occasions to discuss the report and held two seminars at which experts led the discussions. See videos about the report.

2 April 2014

The Report is announced at a reception at the Reform Club in London, an event sponsored by SAGE. Campaign Chair Professor James Wilsdon tells an audience of policymakers, funders and senior academics:  “This will be a landmark report which spells out how important social science is to Britain’s future. Just as the natural sciences and engineering will have a chorus of voices speaking up on their behalf in 2015, the Campaign wants to ensure that the case for the social sciences is being made more loudly, and with better quality evidence, than ever before.” Read a report on this

2 June 2014

The first meeting of the working group is held, at the Royal Statistical Society in London. It decides the scope of the report.  Among the points made were that the report should focus on how, by working in an interdisciplinary way, social scientists can tackle the major problems facing our society. Read a report on this

26 June

The second meeting of the group, at the Nuffield Foundation, hears from leading social scientists, including Dan Corry, a former head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, and Sir John Hills FAcSS, Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics.  They speak about the role social scientists have in helping us understand issues such as improving productivity and ensuring a fair distribution of wealth.  They explore examples where social science has made an impact on policy, such as the creation of the welfare state, comprehensive education, the minimum wage, gay rights and the smoking ban.  The group decides the report should also tackle areas such as demographic change and migration. The Campaign releases a video from this meeting. Read a report on this

23 September

The third meeting of the group hears from leading social scientists, and reviews progress on the report.  The group says it is keen to adopt a tone of pride in the intellectual robustness, quality and utility of social science.  “We will not get the full benefit from investment  in science and technology without the under-standing of human behaviour that can only come from social science inquiry,” the meeting hears. The group decides that the report should make clear the need to monitor the size and scope of social science in UK universities over time, and press for the easing of migration controls that disproportionately affect it.  The meeting also discusses the role of social science in government, including the need to improve civil servants’ methodological and statistical skills and to reinstate the role of Government Chief Social Science Advisor. Read a report on this

8 October

A seminar is held in partnership with the Campaign for Science and Engineering to look at the links between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects and social science. The seminar includes presentations by Professor Bernard Silverman FAcSS, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office, and Dr Sarah Main, the Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering. Participants underline the need for all science disciplines, including the social sciences, to work together effectively, as challenges in the world rarely fit within disciplinary boundaries. Read a report on this

29 October

The working group meets to suggest some last changes to the latest draft of the report from its main author, David Walker.

19 November

The last meeting of the working group hears feedback from the report’s review group, chaired by former ESRC Chief Executive, Professor Paul Boyle FAcSS, and suggests final amendments to the text. It discusses how to make the report as widely known as possible after its release. Read a report on this

24 February 2015

The report is launched by Greg Clark MP,  the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, at an event in Westminster.