The launch of the campaign for social science

20 January 2011

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A campaign to fight for the future of social science in the UK is being launched today (20th January) at the House of Lords in the presence of David Willets, MP, who will respond to Campaign aims and initiatives.

The Campaign, which is being rolled out by the Academy of Social Sciences, aims to highlight the vital role that social science plays in modern society.

The Campaign for Social Science, as it is known, sets out to create a popular vision of social science and to raise its public profile in light of recent cuts that consign teaching funds to an untested market. With research budgets also set to reduce in real cash terms, social scientists seek to remedy an uncertain future.

The launch event will be followed by a series of regional events designed to engage the wider social science community with the Campaign’s aims.

Professor Cary Cooper, who chairs the Academy, will tell the gathering at the House of Lords that: “Social science is compelling, edgy and necessary. It is about being green or greedy, global or local, it is about circuses, suicide bombers, illicit drugs, punk, funk, farming or fashion. Social science is about us, all of us.”

Speakers will talk about the importance of social science in checking our commonsense beliefs about the ways we behave on our own, in families, political parties, peer groups or under pressure. They question how we are to overcome the challenges of climate change, terrorism or recession? Their answer is that without careful policy-making informed by social science, these difficult situations could quickly turn into waking nightmares.

Lord Giddens, formerly head of the London School of Economics, will emphasize this point and say that “It would be hard to over-estimate the importance of social science to policy making.”

Other speakers at the event will include Sir Howard Newby AcSS, President of the Academy, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, Sir Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Professor David Rhind AcSS, Chair of the Nuffield Foundation, and David Willetts MP, all of whom will lay out how they ways in which they use and value social science in their own lives and work.

More information about the Academy.