Social sciences responding to COVID-19


This hub showcases some leading examples of research, think-pieces and policy analysis across the full spectrum of the social sciences which contribute to understanding and tackling the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on society and economy.

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 evolve over time. We’ll be growing and updating the content of the hub over the coming weeks and months.

Andy Haldane FAcSS | Responding to COVID-19: Social capital and the social sector in the 21st century
Andy Haldane FacSS is Chief Economist at the Bank of England. In his piece Andy argues that times of crisis highlight the importance of social capital – relationships and networks that glue societies together. We should now also give social capital and the social sector the recognition and the supporting infrastructure they need to successfully tackle the current pandemic and future challenges.

Professor Anna Vignoles and Professor Simon BurgessThe COVID-19 crisis and educational inequality
Anna Vignoles is a Professor of Education at University of Cambridge and Simon Burgess is Professor of Economics at University of Bristol. Their piece highlights the ways in which the current pandemic will further entrench inter- and intra-generational inequalities in educational attainment in the UK, and looks at what we should think about when designing policy solutions that reduce these inequalities.

Professor Susan Michie and Michael Sanders | Managing the impact of COVID-19: The role of behavioural and social sciences
Susan Michie FAcSS, FMedSci is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London, and Michael Sanders is Reader in Public Policy at the King’s College’s Policy Institute and Chief Executive of the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care. Their piece highlights the key role that behavioural and social scientists play in pandemics, by both informing policy and helping to shape the way that policy is communicated.

Professor Jonathan Portes | Economics and epidemiology in the time of COVID-19
Jonathan is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at KCL. In this piece he argues for the inclusion of the full spectrum of social science knowledge and expertise in key advisory and consultative forums informing the government’s strategy, to ensure a balanced approach to managing and mitigating the pandemic’s impacts across society and economy.

Professor Geoff Mulgan CBE | Social Science and social imagination
Geoff is Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at UCL. In this piece he focuses on the urgent need to revitalise our ‘social imagination’ and rediscover our ability to think big and differently about the post-pandemic future.

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 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 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

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

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 Nicole Westmarland (Durham University)  et al.| The lockdown is a dangerous time for victims of domestic abuse 

Government and civil society

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 Thomas Hale (University of Oxford) et al. | Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker
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 (Campaign supporter) | 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.

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.

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.

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 | 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 (Campaign supporter) | 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.