The Importance of the Social Sciences for the Industrial Strategy

12 June 2019

“The social sciences have a vital role to play in delivering the Industrial Strategy and helping the UK economy grow.  They have already helped shape the strategy itself, and they can help us better understand the social conditions and behavioural changes needed to foster growth in the future, raise productivity, and deliver new technologies to market in a way that is beneficial to all. This report provides clear examples of how they have already done so,” says Dr Ashley Thomas Lenihan, senior policy adviser, Academy of Social Sciences.

The latest report from the Campaign for Social Science is titled ‘The Importance of the Social Sciences for the Industrial Strategy.’ It first sets out how social science influenced the Industrial Strategy White Paper, which draws heavily on social science research to support and develop its approach to driving innovation, raising productivity, and increasing growth.

The report then presents compelling case studies that demonstrate the many ways that social scientists have contributed to issues and areas of vital concern to the Industrial Strategy. The Campaign for Social Science gathered these cases with the help of its member Learned Societies and Fellows. They show how social scientists have contributed to improvements in the foundations of productivity and to tackling the Grand Challenges, not only their descriptive and diagnostic research, but also through cutting-edge social science-led interventions that have helped drive change.  Many of these case studies also show social science researchers in universities working hand in hand with their local regions or businesses, underlining the importance of both social science and universities as drivers of local growth and dissemination of changing practices.

With this report, the Academy of Social Science and its Campaign hopes to shed light on the importance of social science within the Industrial Strategy. We also believe that both long-term and short-term investment is needed in social science-led research to better implement the goals of the Industrial Strategy White Paper.