Minister invited to hear views

1 June 2015

Liam Byrne MP, left, at a Campaign event

The Campaign is continuing its work to tell policy-makers about the importance of social science. It has invited the new Conservative Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP, to a meeting to talk about social science and government.

His predecessors in office, Greg Clark MP and David Willetts, have attended Campaign meetings or events, as has his Labour opposite, Liam Byrne MP (on the left of the photo, at a Campaign event).

The Campaign has also continued to give its views during official consultations. It responded to a request for opinion from the Nurse review into how research councils can support research in the most effective ways.

The Campaign’s submission, by its Head of Policy, David Walker, said that the science budget should be ringfenced and increased in real terms by 10 per cent over the life of the 2015-20 parliament.

It argued against concentrating funding of research too far, saying this risked diminishing institutional variety and losing the niche strengths of universities which were lower in some rankings.

It called for the role of research councils to continue, saying “successive examinations of the structure and function of the ESRC have concluded it is both necessary and effective.

“In recent years the ESRC has been an impressive leader in interdisciplinary projects. No evidence has been adduced to show that the original arguments for creating a research council for social science work have lost any of their strength in the passage of a half century.”

The consultation is one of a dozen the Campaign and its parent organisation, the Academy of Social Sciences, have written.