Social sciences responding to COVID-19


We launched the Campaign for Social Science COVID-19 hub in May 2020 to highlight the vital contribution of the social sciences to the pandemic response.  It was clear that social science insight was going to be centrally important both during and long after the immediate response.

We are now engaged in a second phase of our project, showcasing some of the best social science thinking on how we can most successfully come out of the emergency phase of the pandemic.

The platform brings together a range of resources created by Academy Fellows and other distinguished social scientists, and provides easy access to portals and hubs developed by universities, thinktanks, learned societies and other research institutions.

This is a dynamic project that will continue to evolve over time, and we’d really like to hear your thoughts and ideas on content.

Torsten Bell FAcSS | The COVID certainty: more savings for the rich, more debt for the poor
Torsten is the Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation. In this piece he describes some of the economic impacts of the pandemic and the challenges we will face in the future as a result.  The piece demonstrates the impact on shopping patterns, household income levels, and work patterns. It also demonstrates that the pandemic has caused an acceleration of the increasing gap between rich and poor in the UK.

Professor Sonia Livingstone OBE et al | Children’s rights in a digital world: Can COVID-19 move governments from evidence to action
Professor Sonia Livingstone OBE FBA FBPS FAcSS FRSA is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In this piece Sonia and her co-authors examine the significant impact of the pandemic on children’s digital lives and how governments can develop and implement policies to protect their rights.

Professor John Drury et al | Understanding and supporting the role of mutual aid groups in the COVID-19 pandemic
Professor John Drury is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Sussex. In this article John and his co-authors, highlight the findings of their research exploring the role and importance of mutual aid groups during the pandemic. As continued public health disease outbreaks continue to be needed, they argue that these groups will continue to be a useful part of the civil society landscape in the foreseeable future.

Professor Jonathan Portes FAcSS | Coming out of COVID: Building back better economics
Professor Jonathan Portes is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Kings College University London. In this piece he critiques the impact pre-COVID economic policy measures had on the UK’s ability to effectively mitigate the social, health and economic effects of the pandemic. He goes on to explore and analyse what a genuinely transformative economic agenda for the post-COVID-19 era might entail. 

Professor Kavita Vedhara FAcSS et alMind your language: Language and outcomes in the COVID-19 pandemic, and lessons for the future
Professor Kavita Vedhara FAcSS is Professor of Health Psychology  at the University of Nottingham. In this piece, she and her co-authors explore the questions: Why does language matter and why is it so important in medicine and healthcare? How has language and messaging influenced pandemic outcomes in the UK?

Professor Linda Hantrais FAcSS | Social policy perspectives on COVID-19
Professor Linda Hantrais FAcSS is Emeritus Professor in European Social Policy within the  Department of Politics and International Studies at Loughborough University. She is also Visiting Professor at the LSE International Inequalities Institute. In this article, Linda explores how the pandemic heightened the need for robust social policy analysis conducted globally at the interface between the social, human and life sciences, and technology.

Professor Martyn Pickersgill FAcSS | COVID-19 shows how governments need to work more closely with experts in the social aspects of biomedicine
Professor Martyn Pickersgill FAcSS is Personal Chair of the Sociology of Science and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. In this piece he argues that although central to managing the pandemic, physical and biomedical scientists alone are not best placed to fully comprehend the extent and nature of the disruptions COVID-19 has had on society. He calls for greater representation of social scientists in government policymaking circles tasked with responding to the crisis.

Professor David Simon FAcSS | Cities Coping with COVID-19
Professor David Simon FAcSS is Professor of Development Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. In this article he explores how diverse cities in different contexts are experiencing and responding to the pandemic, the similarities and differences, reflecting the interrelationships between national epidemiologies and policies on the one hand, and local urban characteristics and priorities on the other.

Professor Yipeng Liu FAcSS | Energising resilience, accelerating agility, and leveraging collaborative partnerships for recovery
Professor Yipeng Liu is Professor of  Management and Organisation Studies, and Founding Director of the Research Centre for China Management and Global Business at Henley Business School, University of Reading. One year on from the global pandemic, Yipeng explores lessons learned from the rapid recovery strategies adopted by countries in the East, such as China, Singapore and South Korea. He argues that resilience, agility and collaborative partnership were key to their success, which are three essential concepts underpinned by social sciences.

Read all the commentary pieces in this series

The perspectives expressed in these articles represent the independent views of the authors, and as such they do not represent the views of the Academy or its Campaign for Social Science.

Economy and business

Torsten Bell FAcSS (Resolution Foundation) | The UK labour market after coronavirus
Professor Kiran Fernandes FAcSS (Durham University) | COVID-19 Supply Chain Risk Management- North of England
Professor Francis Green and Dr Alessandro Rosiello  (University of Edinburgh) | The Impact of the Coronavirus on UK Businesses
Andy Haldane FAcSS (Bank of England) | Reweaving the social fabric after the crisis
Paul Johnson FAcSS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) | We may be in this together, but that doesn’t mean we are in this equally
Professor Karen Rowlingson FAcSS (University of Birmingham) | Poverty, household debt and COVID-19
Professor Mariana Mazzucato FAcSS (University College London) | How to develop a Covid-19 vaccine for all
Professor Costas Milas (University of Liverpool) | How to avoid a coronavirus debt crisis? Issue a new type of government bonds linked to GDP
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli FAcSS (Glasgow University) | Research will be vital to Britain’s recovery
Professor Henry Overman FAcSS (London School of Economics) |  How the UK government should respond to the unequal local economic impacts of COVID-19
Dr Christopher Rauh (University of Cambridge) | COVID-19 and the Effect on Workers
Dr Jesse Matheson (University of Sheffield) | The geography of post Covid-19 shutdown recovery risk in UK economic activity. implications for recovery inequality and targeted stimulus

Behavioural Science and Psychology (inclusive of well-being)
Justice, Welfare and Equality

Professor Clare Bambra FAcSS (Newcastle University) | The COVID-19 pandemic and health inequalities
Adelina Comas Herrera (London School of Economics) et al. | Mortality associated with COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes: early international evidence
Professor Sir Malcolm Evans (University of Bristol) | Protecting the incarcerated during the pandemic 
Amy Claire (ISER, University of Essex) | Housing, health and inequality
Dr Tom Simcock (Edge Hill University) | What is the likely impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK private renting sector?
Professor Christopher Chapman (University of Glasgow) et al.| Early insights into the COVID-19 response
Tom Ford and Richard Garside (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies)| Coronavirus in prisons in Europe 
Dr Ruth Patrick (University of York) et al. | COVID-19 and families on a low income: poverty in the pandemic
Professor Andrew Steptoe FAcSS (University College London) et al. | ELSA Covid-19 study (The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing)
Professor Nicole Westmarland (Durham University)  et al.| The lockdown is a dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse 

Government and civil society

Professor Virginia Berridge FAcSS (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) | History Does Have Something to Say
Dr Jon Burchell (University of Sheffield) | How to understand, scale and maximise the effectiveness of volunteer responses to COVID-19
Dr Damien Bol and Dr Marco Giani
(King’s College London) | The Effect of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Political Support: Some Good News for Democracy?
Dr Alistair Clark (Newcastle University) | Effect on elections (behaviour and registration) and postponed elections
Professor Jane Duckett FAcSS (University of Glasgow) et al. | Understanding Chinese government containment measures and their societal impacts
Luciano Floridi FAcSS (University of Oxford) et al. | Ethical Guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 Digital Tracking and Tracing Systems
Dr Victoria Goodyear (University of Birmingham) | Social Media and Physical Activity Education for Young People during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr Thomas Hale (University of Oxford) et al. | Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker
Professor John Mohan FAcSS (University of Birmingham) | Border Crossings: charity and voluntarism in Britain’s mixed economy of health care since 1948
Tony Travers (London School of Economics) | Persuading fearful Britons to venture out again is the government’s next challenge
James Wilsdon FAcSS (University of Sheffield) | Coronavirus shines spotlight on science advice system in UK


Professor Laura Bear (London School of Economics) et. al|  ‘A Good Death’ During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the UK
Professor Emilia del Bono (ISER, University of Essex) et al. | Education: children, parents and schools
Professor Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (University of Oxford) et al. | The UK COVID-19 news and information project
Professor Jonathan Reinarz (University of Birmingham) et al. | Hospital visiting in epidemics: an old debate reopened
Andrew Tatem FAcSS (University of Southampton) | Effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions to contain COVID-19 in China


Bath University – Institute for Policy Research | COVID-19 response
A collection of resources across multiple social sciences disciplines by University of Bath covering research, analysis and programmes in response to COVID-19.

Birmingham University (Campaign supporter) | COVID-19 research – a social sciences perspective
A collection of commentary, news and multimedia highlighting how the university’s researchers are responding to the economic and social challenges of the pandemic.

Bristol University | Latest coronavirus news
News and comment on interdisciplinary projects at the university focusing on health research and assessment of the current, medium and long term impacts of public health policy interventions on society and the economy.

Cambridge University | COVID-19 topics research
A cross-disciplinary portal covering the social sciences which brings together the university’s response to COVID-19.

City University London (Campaign supporter) | Supporting the fight against COVID-19
A hub featuring social science-focused media comment from City’s experts and academics covering economy, law, psychology, journalism, ethics, finance, politics and globalisation as well as highlights on the university’s role in the community and its support for the NHS.

Durham University (Campaign supporter) | Latest research
A hub of news and comment on the university’s latest research including investigation and analysis of COVID-19 led by social scientists. Areas of work include social behaviour, wellbeing, domestic abuse, energy and climate change, finance, business and employment relations.

Edinburgh University (Campaign supporter) | COVID-19 response
An overview of how the university’s community of researchers and experts are responding the pandemic, including insight and analysis from leading social scientists.

Essex University (Campaign supporter) | Essex examines COVID-19 to fight the pandemic
These pages showcase Essex’s multi-disciplinary response to the COVID-19 pandemic – from the societal implications of using technology to track the virus, to the impact of lockdown on mental and physical health inequalities, and from job losses to home schooling. The university is also running a COVID-19 event series with a social science perspective.

Exeter University (Campaign supporter) | Pandemipolitics – polemics on pandemics
Founded and adminstered by Dr Brieg Powel and Professor John Heathershaw, the Pandemipolitics blog series sets out to explore key questions that COVID-19 and other pandemics have presented to global politics past, present and future.

Glasgow University – Policy Scotland (Campaign supporter) | COVID-19 project
The COVID-19 project focuses on the social and economic impacts of the pandemic on individuals, communities, families and children across cities and regions. It features blogs, news, publications and events led by academics, practitioners and policymakers collaborating to inform the development of public policy to tackle the crisis.

Glasgow Caledonian University (Campaign supporter) | Researchers response to COVID-19
Framed around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the comprehensive writings and research illustrate Glasgow Caledonian University research community’s contributions to addressing the pandemic and policy responses to it.

Imperial College London | Response to COVID-19
An extensive multi-disciplinary series of evidence based-comment and analysis, news of latest research and reports on COVID-19 and its impacts and implications for public health, society and economy. It showcases insights from the life sciences, medicine, public health, and modelling and social behaviour experts.

Institute for Development Studies | Responding to COVID-19 – the social dynamics
The hub offers a global overview of the impacts and issues arising from the pandemic. It brings together critical evidence and analysis by IDS researchers working to understand and shape responses to COVID-19 now and into the future. It features video, podcast, scholarly opinion pieces and publications.

Institute for Social and Economic Research (Essex University) (Campaign supporter) | COVID-19 research from ISER
ISER is working on new projects exploring different facets of the coronavirus pandemic. The wide range of work includes tools for researchers, COVID specific data and research from a range of topic experts.

Kings College University of London – Policy Institute (Campaign supporter) | Coronavirus analysis series
Coronavirus-related analysis, news, research and multimedia exploring life under lockdown and the UK’s response to the pandemic.

Liverpool University | Coronavirus (COVID-19) research and response
The hub brings together research and analysis led by 150 Liverpool researchers to combat the global pandemic. It features social science projects focusing on the impact of social distancing and lockdown on mental health and wellbeing, older people, older people with dementia and un-paid carers.

London School of Economics (Campaign supporter) | COVID-19 resource centre
LSE’s School of Public Policy’s hub brings together research and expert views to guide and support policy responses to Covid-19. Resources are included from a wide range of disciplines within the social sciences.

Manchester University (Campaign supporter) | Coronavirus response hub
A cross-disciplinary portal including social sciences showcasing how researchers, teachers, students and professional services staff are combining their knowledge to contribute to the local, national and international response to the disease.

Newcastle University (Campaign supporter) | Research to help fight COVID-19
A multi-disciplinary hub, including the social sciences, that features research, news and information on partnerships and projects driving the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nottingham University | Coronavirus crisis response
A multi-disciplinary hub including the social sciences which showcases vital research and experts leading the universities COVID-19 response. It features a series of blogs and articles reflecting on the challenges we will need to tackle in a post-COVID-19 world.

Oxford University (Campaign supporter) | Social sciences on COVID-19
Latest research and evidence-based opinion pieces addressing the societal and economic challenges of the pandemic from across Social Sciences Division at Oxford. The University is also running a series of COVID-19 conversations with its researchers and experts that have been broadcast and made available as recordings on its website.

Queen’s University Belfast | COVID-19 analysis and commentary
Queens’ academics provide research-led commentary on topics related to COVID-19 with contributions covering law, psychology and wellbeing, economics, data-mapping, international politics and environment.

Queen Mary University of London (Campaign supporter) | Global Politics Unbound – COVID-19 blogs
A compilation of blogs and articles by researchers at the School of Politics and International Relations which analyse the global dimensions and geopolitical challenges presented by the pandemic.

School of Oriental and African Studies | SOAS expertise and analysis on COVID-19
A hub featuring latest Covid-19 expertise, analysis, interviews and comment pieces on economic, political, cultural, security and religious challenges globally in light of the pandemic

Sheffield University (Campaign supporter) | Disability and COVID-19: the global impacts
Sheffield University’s Institute for the Study of the Human brings together evidence-based expertise on the impact of the pandemic on the lives of disabled people and their families in their communities from around the world.

Stirling University (Campaign supporter) | Public Policy Blog – COVID-19
As part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic the university is running a series of short pre-recorded lectures covering a range of topics relating to the pandemic and its impacts. The first lecture on food security delivered by Professor Rachel Norman can be viewed on the blog.

Southampton University (Campaign supporter) | Combating COVID-19
A hub collating latest research and blogs on COVID-19 and it’s impacts and implications for health systems, regions, mental health and the environment. A flagship study modelling non-pharmaceutical early interventions is led by social science experts in geography and environmental sciences.

Sussex University (Campaign supporter) | The pandemic and sustainability
The Sussex Sustainability Research Programme Forum aims to contribute to the analysis of the impact of the pandemic on sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The platform hosts resources and blogs and provides policy recommendations on how to respond.

Swansea University (Campaign supporter)| Research surrounding COVID-19
A multi-disciplinary research hub including the social sciences, with particular focus on exploring the various immediate and long term psychological and social impacts of the pandemic.

University College London (Campaign supporter) | Expert comment and advice from UCL academics
UCL academics have mobilised to provide critical comment and advice and are urgently researching new ways of tackling COVID-19. This portal brings together voices across a range of disciplines, including the social sciences.

UCL Institute of Education | COVID-19 Research Hub
A digital platform bringing together IOE’s research on the impacts of the pandemic on education, technology and social sciences. The hub also features latest news and blogs, as well as advice and resources for the public.

Warwick University | Knowledge Centre
Curated by Warwick’s media team the Knowledge Centre is a digital hub hosting a wide selection of blogs and articles by PhD students, academics and researchers. Featured content on COVID-19 covers education, politics, law, business and economy, mental health and well being.

York University | Coronavirus response
Presenting an overview of the university’s response to COVID-19, the hub features news of funded social science research that analyses the pandemic’s impacts on low income families, and law and public compliance during lockdown.

Thinktanks and research institutions

Centre for Cities | Coronavirus
Research, case studies, data, comment pieces and podcasts exploring the impact of COVID-19 crisis on the economies of British cities and large towns.

Chatham House (Royal Institute for International Affairs) | Coronavirus response
Expert comment, news and research events with a global focus which analyse and discuss the geopolitical, social, public health and economic dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CLOSER | COVID-19 Longitudinal Research Hub
The platform captures the response by social and biomedical longitudinal studies to the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to serve as a ‘one stop shop’ resource for researchers, parliamentarians and policymakers, now and into the future. It showcases surveys, data releases, emerging findings, news, blogs and more.

ESRC | Rapid response call for novel coronavirus research
ESRC  is inviting social scientists to apply for funding to develop research projects which contribute to understanding, diagnosis, prevention and management of COVID-19. This includes behaviours that contribute to its spread or that can help containment.

ESRC STEPS CENTRE | COVID-19: Resources and research on epidemics and pandemics
A compilation of blogs, journal articles, podcasts. books, working papers and reports exploring how people prepare for, mitigate and manage widespread outbreaks of disease.

Institute for Fiscal Studies | Coronavirus hub
Leading independent research and expert commentary aimed to inform public debate on economics. Wide range of Covid-19 impacts examined such as outcomes for the labour market, for fiscal policy, and for inequality, among many others.

International Institute for Environment and Development | The Impact of COVID-19 on sustainable development
IIED’s coronavirus platform hosts a broad archive of globally-focused blogs and articles discussing the immediate steps and long term actions for a sustainable recovery that benefits everyone without negatively impacting the environment.

Economics Observatory (NIESR) | Questions and answers about the coronavirus and the UK economy
A collective initiative by the economic research community to answer questions from policymakers and the public about the economics of the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. The articles provide insight and analysis on income protection, education and young people, social inequality, labour markets and the division of labour under lockdown, and more.

Nuffield Foundation | Working to understand and address the social implications of COVID-19
A collaborative digital platform featuring latest research and projects led by social science scholars and experts on the far-reaching social impacts and implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Access latest news and information for grantholders and applicants and learn more about how Nuffield’s partner organisations – Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Ada Lovelace Institute and Nuffield Family Justice Observatory – are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Resolution Foundation | Coronavirus hub
A hub featuring expert comment, publications and events focusing on the economic consequences of the pandemic and its impacts on workers, particularly those from medium to low income groups.

UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence | Coronavirus, housing and home
A platform exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing in the UK. It features a wide range of mediums, including blog, briefing papers, and webinars and is aimed for researchers from across the housing system to help inform the responses of policymakers and practitioners.

Urban Big Data Centre |Urban Impacts of Covid-19
A programme of work collecting and using new forms of data that contribute to the analysis of the economic, social and environmental impacts of Covid-19 in cities.

Learned societies

British Educational Research Association (BERA) | COVID-19, education and educational research
BERA’s collection addresses the crisis as it affects education in all its diversity. The contributors summarise new research,  find new applications for existing scholarship, and share opinions, experiences and advice. This collection aims to help all stakeholders in education to navigate this new landscape.

British Society of Gerontology | Ageing issues WordPress Blog
Featuring comment and analysis on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on older people’s lives, welfare and civil rights in society.

British Psychological Society | Coronavirus resources
The BPS online hub brings into focus the society’s response to COVID-19. The Psychologist is a digital publication hosted on the platform which presents a wide range of psychological perspectives on the impact and implications of the coronavirus on society. Information, guidance and support for practitioners and the public is also available in the hub.

Royal Economic Society | COVID-19 hub
The hub brings together the society’s own activity on COVID-19. It features alerts on upcoming webinars and a broad video archive of past events. Links are provided to external resources at leading organisations such as the Bank of England, CBI and others.

Royal Geographical Society | Geography Directions
A collection of blogs and articles that broaden our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic from a diverse range of geographical perspectives. The posts discuss and analyse the present and future impacts of the pandemic for public health, society, environment and the economy.

Royal Town Planning Institute | Coronavirus hub
The hub hosts all RTPI information relating to COVID-19. It features firsthand experiences of planners, online events and learning, and the latest government updates in the UK and Ireland relevant to the sector.

What Works network

Education Endowment Foundation | Covid-19 resources
A set of resources designed to support schools and parents/carers in making the most of home learning. These include practical tools, evidence-based guidance and rapid evidence assessments on existing research on supporting remote learning and potential impact of schools closure on attainment gap.

College of Policing What Works Centre for Crime Reduction | COVID-19 hub
A hub supporting police forces across the country to respond to Covid-19 in a measured and consistent way. A range of resources include briefing packs explaining the new coronavirus (COVID-19) powers, specific guidance around new and changing crime and links to useful information from a variety of other policing sources.

Early Intervention Foundation | COVID-19 resources
Variety of resources (reports, webinars, blogs) on the impact of the Covid-19 and lockdown on local services for children and families, exploring immediate and long-term challenges and supporting recovery.

What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth | Economic recovery from Covid 19
Resources to help places make more informed decisions about policies to support economic recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic.

Centre for Ageing Better | Ageing Better’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Content related to the coronavirus pandemic and its implications for society and those in or approaching later life.

What Works Centre for Wellbeing | Covid-19, wellbeing and inequalities – crowdsourcing evidence
Resources including statistical analysis, qualitative insights and projections on the likely impacts on different groups exploring how the pandemic and responses to it have impacted all drivers of our wellbeing.

Centre for Homelessness Impact | Covid-19 Response
Resources to support communities to help people who are homeless or at risk to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What Works for Children’s Social Care | Covid-19 Resources
The resources on this page have been created by What Works for Children’s Social Care and other organisations to provide guidance, support and inspiration for those working in children’s social care.

Research databases

J. Nathan Matias (Cornell) and Alan Leavitt (Facebook Research) | COVID-19 Social Science Research Tracker
An international list tracking new research on COVID 19, including published findings, pre-prints, projects underway and at proposal stage.

Office for National Statistics | Latest indicators for the UK economy and society
Early experimental data on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and society. These faster indicators are created using rapid response surveys, novel data sources and experimental methods.

Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University| Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker
Tool tracking and comparing governments’ unfolding responses to COVID-19 across countries and across time and scoring the stringency of the measures taken.

Department of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University | Oxford Supertracker
A global directory of over 100 policy trackers and surveys related to COVID-19 designed to assist researchers and policy-makers in keeping track of a rapidly growing number of data sources.

UK Data Service | Covid 19 data that gives context to the pandemic
This table lists studies that are currently investigating the impact of COVID-19, the topics they cover and further information from the agencies running them.