New appointments boost the Campaign for Social Science

12 November 2015


As it prepares to mark its fifth birthday at the start of 2016, the Campaign for Social Science has today announced the appointment of eight new Board members, drawn from academics and practitioners across the social sciences.

The new members include Sharon Witherspoon MBE, until recently Director of the Nuffield Foundation; and Desiree Lopez, CEO of TNS BMRB, one of the UK’s leading social research companies.

Announcing the appointments, Professor James Wilsdon, Chair of the Campaign, said:

“These are turbulent times for UK social science, with a spending review imminent and significant reforms being proposed to the architecture for higher education and research funding. Across Whitehall, further cuts to departmental budgets are likely to have knock-on effects for social research and the evidence base for public policy.

“So the Campaign for Social Science has never been more important – as a community, we need to speak with a clear, distinctive and evidence-informed voice. I’m delighted to welcome our new Board members, who will extend our reach, and enable us to be more representative of the rich diversity of UK social science and social scientists. Whatever the challenges of the current climate, the Campaign has a compelling story to tell about the contribution of social science to the UK’s economy, society, democracy and sustainability.”

New Board members include early career researchers and practitioners Dr Olivia Stevenson, Acting Head of Public Policy at UCL; and Dr Milly Zimeta, a journalist and writer. Our activities in Scotland will be strengthened by the appointment of Nick Bibby, Communications Officer at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre on Constitutional Change.

Other new members include Professor Colin Copus FAcSS, an expert in local government; Professor Jon Glasby FAcSS, an expert in health and social care; and Professor Andrew Russell a leading psephologist and analyst of voter behaviour.

These new Board members will help the Campaign to deliver its strategic plan for 2015-2018, which is organised under three broad headings: advocacy – targeted interventions on key policy agendas; coalition-building – growing the supporter base for UK social science; and engagement – with decision-makers, the media and wider publics.

The Campaign’s policy work is currently focused in three areas:

The future of social science funding through the spending review, Nurse review and beyond (building on our 2015 report The Business of People);
• A new project, chaired by UCL’s Professor Susan Michie FAcSS on the contribution of social science to healthcare and the NHS, which will result in a report on       The Health of People in mid-2016; and
Social science expertise and evidence in Parliament: a new strand of work led by Board member Dr Claire Donovan of Brunel University.


1. The new Board Member biographies are as follows:

Nick Bibby: Communications Officer, Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh. He is a former freelance journalist and has written for the Scotsman, Herald, Independent, Telegraph and others, and has published three books.

Professor Colin Copus FAcSS: Professor of Local Politics and Director of the Local Governance Research Unit in the Department of Politics and Public Policy, De Montfort University. He has served as a councillor on a London Borough council, a county and a district council and three parish councils.

Professor Jon Glasby FAcSS: Professor of Health and Social Care and Head of School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham. Jon is a qualified social worker and is currently a Non-Executive Director (NED) of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

Desiree Lopez: CEO of TNS BMRB. Desiree is also a senior lecturer at the University of London, teaching various post-graduate courses on qualitative methods in policy development and assessment.

Professor Andrew Russell: Professor of Politics, University of Manchester. Andrew has published widely on many aspects of political parties, elections and campaigning and electoral engagement.

Dr Olivia Stevenson: A geographer by background, Olivia joined UCL as Public Policy Impact Facilitator with the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research). In 2015, she was appointed as (Acting) Head of Public Policy.

Sharon Witherspoon MBE: Based at the Nuffield Foundation for 19 years, first leading its programmes of social research and social policy, and then for three years as Director. Sharon also led the Q-Step programme to improve quantitative research skills for social science undergraduates. She was awarded an MBE for services to social science in 2008, received the British Academy President’s Medal in 2011, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College London in 2015.

Dr Milly Zimeta is a freelance journalist and writer, with a background in PPE, who previously worked as a lecturer at Roehampton.

2. A full list of members of the Board is available here.