Campaign welcomes new Shadow Science and Universities Ministers

2 October 2015

The Campaign for Social Science welcomes the opportunity of dialogue with Labour’s new shadow science and universities team – and to remind them of the centrality of social science in any credible strategy for innovation and growth.

For Labour, Yvonne Fovargue, MP for Makerfield, assumes the science brief while Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South since 1997, takes on universities.

Stephen Anderson, executive director of the Academy of Social Sciences, said there was wide consensus that all plausible definitions of ‘science’ have to include the disciplined study of economy and society – as set out by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and ministers in the coalition and Cameron governments.

‘Left or right, leaders understand the necessity of deploying knowledge derived from social science, whether we are addressing climate change, promoting economic growth or increasing social mobility.

‘We look forward to talking to Labour’s new shadows about the spending review, the science budget and the future of the dual support system for university research. We had fruitful conversations with Liam Byrne, the former science and universities spokesperson and are sure his successors will benefit from access to our network of academic and practitioner social researchers.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton for the first time since assuming his new role, Marsden, a former Open University tutor, warned against the teaching excellence framework becoming a “back door” to removing the cap on tuition fees, or creating “apartheid” between research and teaching-focused universities. He also said he was in “listening mode” on the development of his higher education strategy.