COVID-19

Contact tracing apps highlight bigger challenges with tech, trust and power

By Chris Yiu (Executive Director for Technology and Public Policy, Tony Blair Institute) The pandemic has brought more technology into all of our lives, from family gatherings on Zoom through to doing the weekly shop online. It has also played an important role in the policy response, by arming policymakers and public health authorities with… Read more »

Social science provides an essential evidence base for the policy response to COVID-19

By the Decision Maker Panel (A partnership between the Bank of England, Stanford University and University of Nottingham) There is a widespread call for an evidence-based response to the pandemic. ‘The Science’, we are told, informs the government policy on the medical aspects of the problem. We might reasonably ask what evidence base can social… Read more »

Future-proofing fiscal stimulus for the post-COVID-19 world

By Tera Allas CBE FAcSS (Director of Research and Economics, McKinsey United Kingdom and Ireland Office) Fresh strategic thinking could be key to ensuring that any post-COVID-19 fiscal stimulus fully supports the government’s aims for long-term, sustainable, equitable growth. COVID-19 has not changed the fundamental long-term priorities for the UK Countries around the world have… Read more »

Covid-19 and mental health: A window of opportunity for social science

By Professor Louise Arseneault FMedSci FAcSS (Professor of Developmental Psychology, King’s College London and Mental Health Leadership Fellow for the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council) The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a general sense of loss across borders: loss of lives, employment, relationships, homes, education, and opportunities. People’s care and concern for others have found… Read more »

Covid-19 and Social Security – where now and where next?

By Professor Jane Millar OBE (Professor of Social Policy in the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath) Many people have been unable to work, or have lost their jobs, in the Covid-19 lockdown. The social security system is there to help people in such circumstances, to maintain income and to prevent destitution.… Read more »

Politics after the pandemic

By Professor Anand Menon (Director, The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, Kings College London) Politics is back. From the exchanges at PMQs, to the bickering among Tory backbenchers, to Jeremy Corbyn claiming he was right all along, things seem to be returning to something approaching normal. Yet… Read more »

Universities and the recovery of local communities from the COVID-19 crisis: A role for the social sciences

By Professor John Goddard OBE FAcSS (Emeritus Professor of Regional Development Studies, University of Newcastle) and Des McNulty  (Assistant Vice Principal for Economic Development and Civic Engagement,  University of Glasgow, and Vice Chair of the Glasgow Commission for Economic Growth) While universities face major challenges to their funding and business models as a result of… Read more »

Pandemic acceleration

By Professor Andrew Tatem FAcSS (Professor of Spatial Demography and Epidemiology, University of Southampton and Director of WorldPop and Flowminder) COVID-19 is breaking records for its speed of global domination – what are the changes in global connectivity behind this and how can we measure them? It took thousands of years for humans to reach… Read more »

We need an evidence-based recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

By Professor Steve Martin (Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Wales Centre for Public Policy, Cardiff University) It’s June 2016 and the UK Justice Secretary is telling a Sky News Q&A on Brexit ‘People in this country have had enough of experts’.  Fast forward four years and it all feels very different. Now… Read more »

Business as usual? Race, white privilege and COVID-19

By Professor Kalwant Bhopal (Professor of Education and Social Justice and Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Education, University of Birmingham) Recent figures released from the ONS suggest that the number of COVID-19 deaths amongst members of the BME community is much higher compared to those from white and other backgrounds. A… Read more »

Social solidarity and social cohesion: The headline story of COVID-19

By Professor Stephen Reicher (Professor of Psychology in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of St. Andrews) Over recent weeks, social science has been in the media to an extent that I have never seen before. Discussions of social cohesion and social solidarity, of trust and of relations to authority have become… Read more »

Re-imagining science advice in a post-COVID-19 future

By Dr Chris Tyler (Director of Research and Policy, UCL, STEaPP) and Dr Adam Cooper (Lecturer in Social Science and Public Policy, UCL, STEaPP) Science advisory structures have been shaped by events. In the UK, the modern science advisory system was heavily influenced by the experience of dealing with the BSE crisis, with minor but… Read more »

COVID-19 in care homes: What happened and how should we go forward?

By Professor Mary Daly FAcSS FBA ( Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Oxford)   What happened? While we are still gathering the evidence on the particular vulnerability of care homes to the pandemic, the statistics to date are arresting and disturbing. As of  May 19 2020, there had been nearly 15,000 COVID-19 attributed… Read more »

Responding to COVID-19: Social capital and the social sector in the 21st century

By Andy Haldane FAcSS (Chief Economist and Executive Director, Monetary Analysis and Statistics, Bank of England) “There’s no such thing as society”.  So said Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987, in a famous interview for Women’s Own magazine.  She went on, “people must look after themselves first” and then, and only then, their neighbours.… Read more »

The COVID-19 crisis and educational inequality

By Professor Anna Vignoles (Professor of Education, University of Cambridge) and Professor Simon Burgess (Professor of Economics, University of Bristol) Younger generations will pay a heavy price for our response to this virus. First, their educational opportunities and attainment are being affected by lockdown, variable home-learning facilities, and changing assessment methods. Second, leaving school in… Read more »

Managing the impacts of COVID-19: The role of behavioural and social sciences

By Professor Susan Michie FAcSS FMedSci (Director of UCL Centre for Behaviour Change) and Michael Sanders (Reader in Public Policy at KCL Policy Institute and Chief Executive, What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care) The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged much of the world, leading to quarantines, lockdowns, and the unprecedentedly vast state intervention in the… Read more »

Economics and epidemiology in the time of COVID-19

By Jonathan Portes (Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Kings College University London) “Assume a can-opener”.  The old joke about the economist on a desert island (look it up!) sums up one view of economists, and by extension other social scientists – their theories may be interesting, but they aren’t of much use in a… Read more »

Bringing together the social science response to COVID-19

By Professor Bobby Duffy (Chair, Campaign for Social Science) and Dr Rita Gardner CBE FAcSS (Chief Executive, Academy of Social Sciences) The Campaign for Social Science has a core mission to demonstrate the vital role that social sciences play in improving decision-making, societies and lives. It’s a mission we passionately believe in, and a role… Read more »

Social sciences and social imagination

By Professor Geoff Mulgan CBE (Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation, UCL) Crises – whether wars or pandemics – can sometimes, though not always, fuel social imagination.  New arrangements have to be created at breakneck speed and old norms have to be discarded.  The deeper the crisis the more likely it is… Read more »